The Invisible Life of Addie Larue is a pretty solid book.
I’ve oscillated a lot with my opinion on it since finishing. I’ll settle with it’s not “as good” as everybody says, but it’s not a “bad” read, either.
I should open by saying that I like the writing style of V.E. Schwab. This was my first attempt at a Schwab novel. While it may not have me running out to get another one immediately, I’m certainly open to reading more of her work. I think, of all things, my one critique of it would be it felt very comma heavy. If not for the addition of the audiobook, it may have ended up distracting me throughout.
On the note of the audiobook — it was amazing. The narrator, Julia Whelan, did an incredible job. I actually started reading this book with just the text, struggled to get into it a little bit, and then did an immersion read with the audiobook and ended up enjoying it much more.
But again: I had to start it twice.
Had I not known it was a slow-paced book that didn’t see much action, I might have put it down. I do try and go in blind to my books, but the little that I knew about the premise — a girl selling her soul to the darkness and then being forgotten by the world — sounded like it could have some pulse-pounding moments.
This was certainly a very character-driven story. I love that, but I will say I agree with some of the critiques I’ve seen about Addie’s personality. While trying to keep this spoiler-free, I will say that, for someone who lives as long as she does, it does seem like she didn’t have that much actual development. The development we see of her in the book would have been fine if her lifespan was just the book. However, with the hundreds of years under her belt, she felt a bit angsty. Teen-like. Not in her three hundreds.
There’s a bit of a love triangle in here that, I don’t know, I didn’t much care for. I related a lot to one of the men caught up in it, Henry, a lot, though. He was my favorite character in this book, for sure. I can’t say too much about him without some spoilers, but I felt understood by him.
The strong characterization in this book, overall, really rounds it out for me. As the story unfolded, I found myself growing more attached as we went along, for the most part.
In agreement with other critiques, I do think it started to drag a bit toward the end.
There were moments in the last third that I felt a bit like, “We still have this much left?”
Part of that could have been outside factors in my life influencing my ability to be able to sit down and read it all. I had a few minutes here and there where I’d squeeze it in, especially because of the short chapters.
Which, I like but I don’t like.
I don’t know, sometimes an abundance of short chapters like this feels a bit jarring. It’s nice to have them every once in a while, but I also like the ability to really sink into the story. It isn’t as though that never happened in here, it’s just that sometimes it made it harder to connect.
This is one of those books that you read multiple times and pick up something new every time. Sometimes I like that — really, that can be said for many books — but sometimes it feels like a task to go back through it again.
I haven’t decided how I feel about that on this one.
I do think this is worth a read, at least once, despite any of this review potentially making it sound different. It was worth going through it just to see what all the hype was about, even if I didn’t necessarily feel the complete and full hype myself.
Overall, I think I’d give this a 3.75/5. Was definitely worth it for the experience this one time, but it’s not a book that blew me out of the water.