It's a bit cheeky to call The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue Faust for romantic bisexual goths, but it's not wrong ... Addie and Henry are both bi in a way that feels refreshingly casual for fiction, and other queer characters surround them. Each relationship is unique and beautifully painted ... But I think the most unique and interesting thing about Addie LaRue is its relationship to art. In a very clever touch, the different sections of the book are broken up with works of art and the sort of descriptive text that would accompany them if they were being sold at an auction ... I loved that as Addie LaRue unfurls its final pages, we discover that we've been a part of her story all along without even knowing it.
I don’t want to say this book exemplifies a writer at the top of her game, because anyone who’s read Schwab’s other books knows, she just hits peak after peak. It feels unfair to relegate any of her other masterpieces as a part of an ascent, and I so look forward to her future work already. But Addie does feel like a career triumph. Like an author stretching out, exhaling, expanding, taking the scope to tell a different sort of story. You don’t need to have read Schwab’s other books to enjoy Addie—it’s a great introduction to her work—but the many fans who go into this book with expectations will find them thoroughly met and more. Her propulsive, lyric prose is here, her morally complex, entrancing characters, her unique shape of magic, all wrought within this entirely fresh premise that will no doubt become a long-lasting favorite ... weaves wonderings of art, of influence, of storytelling and legacy and the question of what we are to each other, all within a deliciously haunting queer fairytale ... defies genre, blending romance and history, fantasy and monstrosity, cresting through peaks of time, centered on a young (and also, technically very old) woman with both less and more agency than anyone alive ... romantic, ambitious, and defiantly, deliberately hopeful. Epic and intimate at once, it asks what art is. What it can be, what it saves, what it distorts, what it inspires, and what it can’t capture ... V.E. Schwab is simply one of the most skilled writers working in her genre. This is a clever premise, executed brilliantly. The feat of this book is frankly awe-inspiring. She renders our world so clearly we recognize it, and then fills in the corners, the cracks, so that it feels as if the very air around us brims with her own specific magic, and we might just see it if we know where to look. I am a lifelong New Yorker, and the way she writes my city makes me see it in an entirely new, wondrous light. That’s what she does—she shows us our world, tells us there’s curses and magic written within its very making, that there’s meaning to our myths and our gods, and I believe her ... This book feels timeless.
... it’s rare to encounter a character as stunningly, fiercely written as Addie as she grows and changes over a span of 300 years. She is a high wire act of a character in a high wire act of a story, neither of which—despite the devil’s best efforts—I am likely to forget ... I am pleased to say that much of what has made Schwab’s previous work so successful can also be found in The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue ... the scope of Addie is unlike anything Schwab has written before—epic yet intimate, sweeping but not sprawling ... Because Addie covers so much ground, it can be disappointing when stories are hinted at but never manifest ... But though Addie’s world may be vast, it is depicted with careful attention to detail, like the changes in her vocabulary that subtly signal time’s passage ... has a lot to say about how connection and love are always possible even in the face of isolation, how we inevitably leave our mark in the world and on the people who cross our paths, even in the unlikeliest or most fleeting of circumstances. It is easy to feel that in the absence of traditional, tangible moments of connection, no such connection could exist, no mark can be made. And yet, as an acquaintance advises Addie, 'there are many ways to matter.' If Addie shows anything, it’s that the impact of our actions and interactions can be vaster and longer-lasting than we can predict. Much like the seven freckles that sprinkle Addie’s face, we create our own constellations, and as we live through these darkened days, I feel brighter for having added Addie to mine.