The invisible life of Addie Larue follows the story of it’s eponymous main character. Raised in 18th century France, Addie makes a faustian bargain and is cursed with both immortality and an inability to make a lasting impression. This mainly shows itself in the fact that nobody remembers her, as long as she is interacting with someone all is normal, if they turn away for too long however they will not remember her at all.
Let me start by saying that I wanted to love this book, the premise is really interesting and by a quarter of the way in I thought this may be a new favourite. The way Schwab sets Addie up at the beginning makes her both interesting and likeable. We have two different times in which we follow Addie, ostensibly the past and the present. This allows us to see her in the present day even as we are still unravelling her backstory, and man is there a lot to unravel. Addie is an intriguing character, I felt like as we grew to know her and understand her more I really did learn to love her. She is characterised particularly well and I feel that her curse is incredibly well realised, more well realised than nearly any other curse I have read.
Now to be honest, this is a book about Addie Larue, and her character is almost the entirety of what kept me reading this book. She hooked me early on and that was really enough for me to plough through this story pretty fast.
Unfortunately, this book never quite reached the high expectations that the beginning had created for it. The middle part does start to meander, as other characters become bigger parts of the story the pacing struggles to accommodate them. Even when we are with Addie, her flashback chapters slow down and don’t really focus where I would have liked them too. They are heavily skewed to the earlier section of her life which definitely means we get some very barebones looks at her later life. Even with the pacing slowed right down it was still interesting enough however.
The other characters that are introduced later on, create issues other than just the pacing. Being real, I just didn’t care much for them. They felt predictable and a little bland. The big reveal for one of these characters in the middle of the book was super obvious as well, which in itself is not a problem, except that it felt like I was meant to be surprised. Thankfully towards the end we get a lot more focus on Addie and I think Schwab sticks the landing pretty well.
One other thing that annoyed me was how the magic worked in this world. There is one particular issue with how it was implemented. For most people I don’t think it will be a problem, but being generous I would call this a plot convenience, being mean it’s a plot hole. Now I know we are talking devils and curses, this is a soft magic system and we don’t need rigorous rules however I wouldn’t mind a little consistency.
Considering all the negatives I have just expounded upon, you may be surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. Addie as a character is just wonderful, and to be honest I could read her story in far greater detail. Unfortunately this is not the case for some of the other characters, where I could have dealt with a lot less detail.
Overall an interesting premise with decent execution and a main character I loved.