I pre-ordered this book, and I received it pretty close to the release date. And then it sat on my shelf because I wanted it to be amazing and was worries it wouldn’t be. I shouldn’t have been so concerned, it was an incredible book, and if it wasn’t enough to knock Vicious from its spot as favourite-book, neither has anything else I’ve read in the last several years, so the fact that this is also written by VE Schwab shouldn’t matter.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue contains so many things Iove—determined main characters, devil’s bargains, a fascinating world and well-integrated magic system. I really enjoyed the way the magic/mythology angle of the book was introduced and lingered on in the same way as New York, Paris, and Addie’s hometown. It truly brings a story to life when the fictional elements are described with the same romanticism and detail as the real-world elements.
I loved the way Addie was uncompromisingly herself, and her ambition was never villainised, and either was Henry’s lack thereof. I think VE Schwab convincingly wrote a sympathetic portrait for what it’s like to try and discover who you are, in a world full of people who have already decided for you. It’s a book about not just the weight of other people’s opinions and expectations, but the lifelong journey of discovery that is existing in the world. There’s also a lot of commentary on desire, love and control; while I didn’t personally connect as much to these subplots, they were impeccably written, and added a lot of tension and drama to the plot.
There are some incredible lines in The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, far too many to categorise here, but I loved the moments where the writing would slip into profound poetic prose. I also just loved the exploration of a world where no one could remember or truly know you, and how lonely and freeing that sort of existence would become. I can’t discuss the romance or plot too much without spoiling major aspects of the book, but The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is definitely an amazing read for anyone who enjoys urban fantasy/magic realism, romance or stories that explore in-depth the ways humans interact.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is too much itself to truly read like another book, but the sprawling romance and fascinating magic reminded me of Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus several times. I was also reminded of Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House (another highly anticipated book I put off because of how much I enjoyed the author’s previous work); while the books have a similar urban fantasy feel, the romance angle is much more prominent in The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. In fact, Ninth House isn’t really a romance at all, there are just hints at the possibility. Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series and Rob Thurman’s Trickster books also have similar themes, explored in an equally entertaining (if less poetic) way.