Top critical review
Reviewed in the United States on October 19, 2020
Have you ever gone to a tourist trap, thinking “I’m finally going to see this place”, only to get there a find out that there’s really nothing to see? You get there, you look over a guardrail at the place you thought you’d be able to explore and experience, only to find that you can only look at it from a distance, and then there’s nothing else to do but get back in your car and go home.
That is the emotional equivalent of reading The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue.
I am so very disappointed in this book. I was so stoked about the premise, and I thought it’d be dark and gritty and cool and we’d get a complex plot with a sprinkle of a love story.
But, instead, it was a 300 year slog through the endless emotional cycle of regret and loneliness of a 300 year old girl, her emotionally manipulative demon lover, and her clinically depressed, unbearably boring boyfriend. I could not get through it fast enough.
This entire book feels like a missed opportunity. Instead of going from beginning to end, letting time and consequence shape this character, we skate over the tiny detail of our Addie’s immortality by jumping back and forth along the timeline. And I know Victoria Schwab loooves jumping timelines. It’s her jam, and that’s fine, when it’s done well and with purpose. In this book, they’re literally spoilers, even going as far as using the phrase, “Later, she will learn...” Oh, good, then there’s no point in telling this story? Great. Glad I’m here. The timeline jumps not only ruin any tension in the story due to their poor timing, they serve as a mere acknowledgement of the passing of time, and gives us a rushed, topical rundown of the historical events the character has lived through that, while they shape the entire foundation of the world Addie lives in, don’t seem to affect her at all.
The other problem is Addie. She is a miserable, honestly pretty whiny, weirdly stubborn character from start to finish, and the author really grinds that misery in at every opportunity. It’s hard to follow her around and not be bored with her, “I’m lonely and sad all the time, but I’m also pointlessly stubborn about staying that way” narrative.
I could go on, but I’ll just say, I’m disappointed and I wanted it to be better.