An enchanting fantasy that takes a fresh look at a venerable notion -- for what would you give your immortal soul? And what price would you pay to obtain it?
Adelaine LaRue is faced with both those questions when, at 23, she flees her village home in 1714 France to escape a marriage and a confined future she cannot accept. After trying every conceivable argument and charm, she steps over the one boundary her aging mentor has set: Never pray to the gods that answer after dark.
The bargain, eventually, is struck. Adelaine -- now Addie -- will be free forever. The price, which she is yet to fully understand, is that she will vanish from the memory of anyone who sees her the moment she is out of their sight. For 300 years, she lives on the edges of normal life, constantly struggling for its bare necessities but unable to die, touching bases from time to time with the seductive, malevolent, controlling manifestation of chaos she had called from darkness all those years ago. And then a young man in a New York City bookshop says three words that will change everything: "I remember you."
Moving easily through Addie's long journey through time, readers will see her grow and change from a naive village girl to a woman who must create not only her own life but her own moral code as she dances to the tune she herself helped compose. And when she is pulled into the world of Henry, who offers her the chance at a kind of normality, that code is challenged and Addie must make a decision that leads to the ultimate confrontation with the creature who owns her soul.
Peopled with beautifully-developed characters and sparkling with fresh ideas, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a dark seduction which, once read, will never be forgotten.
I picked this up after hearing about it from friends and thought it sounded SF-nal enough that I'd like it. I liked the premise and I liked the main plot points. But this was really slow reading. I tend to like a lot of action, lots of tension, and this isn't it. Addie's stories are all small stories; there's no suspense, no great events or grand adventures, and when things get dire Luc is only too willing to bail her out. Which brings me to how I didn't fully believe the later relationship between Addie and Luc, although that was what made the ending possible. I have to admit I really liked the ending - I was wondering how Schwab was going to write her way out of it and this was excellent. Very atmospheric writing though, all the characters are believable, loved the relationships between Henry, Bea, and Robbie.
This is a thought-provoking page turner that I found especially poignant during covid when so many people are dealing with lonliness and isolation. Addie sells her soul to the devil to win her freedom from an arranged marriage in the 1700s. However, she does not pay close attention to her words and her "freedom" and "not belonging to anyone" render her unable to make a lasting mark on any people or objects around her. After 300 years of being invisible she has now crossed paths with a guy who can remember her. We watch their relationship develop while learning her history in alternating chapters. I will be thinking about this story for a long time.
Damn it if I didn't cry reading this one. One of my favorites of the year so far.