Published: October 6, 2020
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 489 (Hardcover)
My Rating: 5.0/5.0
A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.
France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.
Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.
But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.
The hype was actually justified here. V.E. Schwab’s writing has been a little hit and miss in terms of enjoyment for me – a couple books were fine, one was awesome, and this one is pretty awesome as well! I totally loved the idea of this woman who made a terrible bargain with the devil, where she lives forever but is always forgotten by those around her as soon as she’s out of sight. Out of sight, out of mind I guess. It’s sort of a love story, but it’s more of a tragedy with so many ups and downs.
Adeline LaRue is from a small village in France, living in the early 1700s. She wants nothing more than freedom to live her life as she wishes, but her parents force her to marry because she can’t just be a single lady in the 1700s. Rather than succumb to the prison of running a household and bearing children, she runs away from the ceremony and desperately calls out to any god that will listen. Unfortunately, the sun has just passed under the horizon when she makes this deal and only devils make deals in the darkness. He grants her wish of freedom, giving her infinite years but the caveat (unknown to her at the time) is that no one remembers her. Her parents fear the strange woman that walks into their home, her childhood friends don’t know her, and there is no longer a place for her at home. She can’t even say her own name. She sets off, living one day at a time, picking up lovers for a night, stealing food to live, for centuries. Until present day (or close enough to), where she’s living in New York City, crashing in people’s apartments when they’re not home. Then she meets a guy running a bookshop, and he remembers her. And thus begins the love story.
Honestly, this was a beautiful book that tugged the heartstrings for so many reasons. The thought of being unattached, may sound nice until you really are unattached. Addie LaRue doesn’t have a support group, no friends, can’t hold a job, can’t even find a place to call home. She has literally nothing except the clothes on her back and the wooden ring she can’t seem to get rid of. It gave me such a sense of sadness and I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak. I couldn’t help but await the next horrible thing to happen, but then there were these moments of fantastic happiness once she met Henry. Addie had such fortitude, such determination to make the most of this life she begged for and I just loved it! Then add in this love/hate thing she has going on with the devil, who she calls Luc (Luke?) and it becomes another level of richly amazing.
This was truly a standout book of the year and much deserving of the hype. As always, I was skeptical of all the positive buzz prior to it’s release but I loved it just as much as everyone else it seems. This isn’t about a girl that falls in love with the devil, it’s about a girl who is determined, brave, and interesting beyond measure. There’s even more magic to the story than what I outlined here, and I really blathered on FOREVER it feels like!