Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

A library copy of Addie LaRue is being pulled out of a bookshelf, alongside a candle.


Look what I finally got from the library!

I was a little afraid to start Addie LaRue to be honest; it’s been hyped up so much that I was afraid to be disappointed.

However, I really enjoyed reading this book. Schwab’s writing is more poetic and lyrical than in other books I’ve read by her, and it sucked me into the story.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue follows, you guessed it, Addie LaRue. In France in 1714, Addie dreams of escaping her small village, but most of all, she’s desperate to avoid getting married. So she makes a deal with the devil. But the deal goes wrong, and not only is Addie now forgettable, she’s also immortal until she decides to give up her soul. 

While I’m not usually a huge fan of non-linear stories, including Vicious by Schwab herself, I think it actually worked well in this book. We jump back and forth between present time (2014 in this case) and Addie’s past escapades. Overall, this book is a slow-moving character study of Addie, and I enjoyed learning about her unique life. I appreciated the emphasis on art, and loved the overall atmosphere of the story.

There were a couple of things that kept this from being a 5 star read for me, however. While I like slow-moving, character-driven stories, I just couldn’t get over the fact that this book is devoid of basically any plot for the first ¾. And this book is a whopping 442 pages long. Instead, we spend most of the time following Addie as she suffers on the streets of different cities, and focusing on all the different lovers she takes up. 

There’s one sparse chapter about her being part of a war, which I feel like could’ve been a much more interesting part of Addie’s life, not to mention a much more interesting plot, yet we never see how it impacted her. Despite this being a highly character-driven story, I feel like Addie’s character never actually changes or evolves. And I guess that could be the point, couldn’t it? But not changing in 300 years?

It was also a little strange that Addie is alive for 300 years yet never makes it past Europe and the US. That, and the romance part of this book was subpar for me; the romantic interest was just not an interesting character to me. It didn’t help that the grandiose ending felt a little melodramatic.

Keep in mind that I can’t turn off the critical reader part of my brain. I guess getting your MFA and editing novels will do that to you! So even though there were parts of this book that I think could’ve been done differently, I still enjoyed the overall writing and the reading experience, and I think it’s worth a read.

VERDICT: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

Review: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

I adored the first couple of chapters. The way Schwab sets up this alternate reality world, and sucks you in by flashing forward, is brilliant. 

Here’s a synopsis: Victor and Eli start out as college roommates. As seniors, Eli comes up with an idea of working on EO’s for his thesis. EO stands for ExtraOrdinary, a kind of fabled superhero that might or might not exist. This leads both Victor and Eli down very dark, disturbing, dare I say “vicious” and “villainous” paths.

On Goodreads, the world is described as “a gritty comic-book-style world,” which is completely accurate. Schwab’s worldbuilding is one of her strengths; even Lockland University is very grounded, and feels very concrete and interesting. 

I really enjoyed Victor’s love for blackout poetry. It just made him that much more interesting, especially since he always used his parents’ books. And my favorite characters are, of course, Sydney and Mitch. 

The book isn’t linear; it jumps back in forth in time, from 10 years ago to Victor and Eli in college to ten years in the future, after Victor breaks out of jail. In the beginning, this time jump felt clunky, and I was annoyed with it because it was a bit of a chore. However, it did start to flow better and work better about halfway through the book.

My biggest issue with the book was Eli’s character. Victor’s downwards descent was believable, from the many hints we get in the beginning that he has a darkness lurking in him. But Eli’s is a little too sudden, and we don’t really get a build up to him becoming a mass-murderer. I think his faith and “chosen by God” storyline was a little too…on the nose? It was a little too something. I feel like I wanted more depth to him.

There also is definitely a heavy trigger warning attached to this book, for suicide, death, violence…I almost stopped reading it near the beginning because, for a while, the whole book focuses heavily on near-death experiences, and it was a little too heavy, even for me, who enjoys dark storylines. But this is a book about villains, after all, or “anti-heroes.” 

Overall, the writing, worldbuilding, and the frame of the beginning and ending of the book were well done, and I enjoyed the story as a whole. I think the sequel has a lot of potential.

VERDICT: 4 stars 


Barnes and Noble Book Haul


Alexis: Book haul! 

Barnes and Noble is having a buy one get one paperback half off. 

I’ve been meaning to read Florida for a while now, but my professor recommend it so I finally picked it up! 

I’m looking forward to reading Vicious, as it’ll be my first VE Schwab read.

Have you read either of these?