... beautiful ... It is to the author’s credit that Addie does reflect on whether or not she truly loves Henry, or if she is just giddy about the fact that he remembers her. But even with these doubts and the darkness constantly lingering at the edges of their story, their love stands true. Both of them must ask themselves how far they would go for the other. What do we sacrifice for the ones we love? What shapes our identity? How do we want to be remembered? Addie LaRue asks these questions in a poignant way, revealing depths to the characters that make them feel real and true to life ... The way Addie’s story unfolds through memory is beautifully executed, much like everything else in the book. And the funny thing about memory is that sometimes you read a book and forget all about it. Sometimes you read a book and it sticks to your insides, rattles around in your brain and won’t let you forget it. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a book that you’ll remember long after the story is over. It is a magical journey to the deepest and darkest places in the heart and it was definitely one of my favorite books of the year ... a gorgeous, haunting tale that is bittersweet and evocative. The lyrical prose paints lush and vivid pictures of life and the way time wreaks havoc on it. It asks deep questions about the nature of humanity, memory, and identity. In a world where standalone fantasy novels are rare creatures, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is one of the best standalone fantasy novels that I’ve had the pleasure of reading in recent years. It also stands as Schwab’s best work in her career so far, which is saying a lot coming from me who deeply loves the Shades of Magic series. V.E. Schwab is one of the best fantasy authors of our generation, and this novel only reinforces that fact.
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.