The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab (Book Review)

Publisher: Tor Books
Page Count
: 448

I wanted to love this book and yet, I did not. It’s not fair to you to just say that and nothing more, so, I am going to try my very best to explain my conflicted feelings about the book. However, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue might be a book best explored with as little knowledge as possible beforehand, therefore proceed with caution from here on out (although I will try not to spoil anything!!).

“The old gods may be great, but they are neither kind nor merciful. They are fickle, unsteady as moonlight on water, or shadows in a storm. If you insist on calling them, take heed: be careful what you ask for, be willing to pay the price. And no matter how desperate or dire, never pray to the gods that answer after dark.”

Addie does not wish to lead the life people expect her to. In many ways I understand her and I understand just how trapped she felt. Having said that, she was also told in no uncertain terms and more than once that making a deal after dark was dangerous (as showcased with the quote above). But what does Addie do? She makes a deal regardless and then faults the darkness for the cruel terms.
I am not saying that the darkness is kind or good, but throughout the story, I often felt more inclined to side with them instead of Addie. There are rules to magic and it always, always, always comes at a costly price. So, while I felt empathetic towards the dire and heartbreaking circumstances Addie found herself in, I was not so willing to shirk her of all responsibilities here.

“The first mark she left upon the world, long before she knew the truth, that ideas are so much wilder than memories, that they long and look for ways of taking root”

Now, what does Addie do with the life ahead of her? She is unable to leave a mark in the traditional way, but there would still be a whole world to see out there. Traveling just to see different cultures and places though is not in any way a pursuit of hers. Instead she turns to artists and tries to make herself memorable through other means. She calls herself a muse and maybe that’s true, but did the artists peak because of her? Did she jumpstart their careers? The answer is maybe, but I do not really know.

One of my major issues with this book was that I did not really care until the 30% mark of the story. That is a very long time to just go on a ride with someone you are not very attached to. After that, however, Addie’s story was not just hers but also one of many others and it increased the pace immensely for me. I did not really know what Addie’s goal was, but the moment she met Henry, the story got a bit more direction.

“I remember you.” Three words, large enough to tip the world.”

Henry tipped the scales of the story. He was kind and sweet and felt the world to his core. When storms swept over him, I wanted to hold him and make him feel better. I understood why Addie would be drawn to him, regardless of the unique circumstances their encounter entailed. But those two held on to each other like they were life rafts on a stormy sea and it got too deep too fast. Still, I understood the why of it all, I just also knew this was unlikely to last forever. Strangely, their progression felt natural anyway, but it also didn’t make me feel utterly surprised at certain twists and turns.

“Because happiness is brief, and history is lasting, and in the end, everyone wants to be remembered.”

This book claimed to be in honor of all the women time had forgotten, but, despite that claim almost all the people Addie mentions through history, or at least the ones who were most noteworthy (according to her story?) weremen. I was wrecking my brain and thinking about who all Addie mentioned, but except for two women and a single sentence here and there, I just could only remember men and that irked me. Being a patron of the arts, being a part of so many historical events, there must have been more.
In general, Addie lived through so much history and yet it feels like she did not really change through it. She would certainly say she had grown less naive and that is true, but she was still stubborn to a fault. I would never fault her for doing the things she did, because they were necessary for survival, but sometimes I also felt like she made it harder than necessary on herself.

“And there in the dark, he asks if it was really worth it.
Were the instants of joy worth the stretches of sorrow?
Were the moments of beauty worth the year of pain?
And she turns her head, and looks at him, and says ‘Always.”

In the end, Schwab still knows how to weave a story. The prose is always engaging and beautiful. The ending was fantastic and in my heart, definitely 100% memorable. In that regard, the story was worth it and satisfying. But the way I found myself more drawn to Luc instead of Addie or Henry, the way I would have loved to be swallowed up by darkness and lead a life with ever changing green eyes looking back at me, I doubted my sanity a little bit. I don’t think I was always rooting for the right people and that has made me feel off about the whole thing.

On a final note … Addie is short for Adeline and throughout this whole book, I could not stop thinking of The Age of Adaline. I am very much aware that Schwab worked on this story for years and that they are not alike, but both involve more or less immortal women and bookish handsome men and … my brain would not stop going there.

Fazit: 3.5/5 stars! While I do feel Addie has imprinted herself in my memory, but it wasn’t all I had hoped for.

Have you read Addie LaRue’s story? Do you want to? What would you want to be remembered for?

Words In Deep Blue by Cath Crowley (eARC Review)

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Page Count
: 288
Publishing Date: June 6, 2017

*I was provided with an eARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!*

This beautiful tale, told in the alternating POVs of former friends Rachel and Henry, was simply EVERYTHING I could have hoped for. I wept through the majority of it and by the end, I  was simply in love with the book.

Words in Deep Blue is a love story, but it’s also about loss and grief. It’s about family and time. It’s about all the things we might not appreciate enough while we have them. And it’s a story that will have you falling in love with books all over again. There are countless references to classics as well as contemporary fiction. I am a person who always keeps her books in meticulous condition, but this made me want to write in the margins, underline quotes I saw myself in and write letters to strangers. The fact that it’s written not only in prose, but that we also get to see some of the letters and notes that are exchanged and where they are left is something I simply adored.

It was so easy to connect to the characters, even the secondary ones. They are not perfect, sometimes even flawed to a point where I would call them immature, but they are incredibly real. Their feelings were all out there and you were with them each step of the way. I just wanted to hug them, comfort them, cry with them or point them in the right direction.

In addition to everything I’ve already mentioned, the secondhand-bookstore setting is the perfect place for every bookworm out there. It almost felt like a character in itself, because it had so much life in itself. So much history. I would gladly pick up any future book Cath Crowley will write and for the record, I really want a Letter Library in my most frequented bookstores.

Fazit: 5/5 stars! I just want to buy this book a dozen times, write letters and leave them for strangers to be found.

Are you interested in reading Words In Deep Blue? Have you heard of it before?

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson (Book Review)

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Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Page Count:
 480

I read this book (sort of) together with Marie @Drizzle and Hurricane Books. Our schedules didn’t work in our favour all that much this time, but we at least read it in the same week – yay to us! It’s always a blast to read with her and it’s even greater to have her to discuss ideas and theories about the book with. Make sure to check out her review in the near future!

I am a declared Morgan Matson fan, so before the new release of her latest book (The Unexpected Everything) I just HAD TO read Second Chance Summer and I do not regret that choice. The premise is fairly straight-forward, so I had a rain-cloud hanging over my head ever since page one. This is a book that had me in a sobbing mess by the end, but I am getting ahead of myself.

The book is, as the title suggests, about second chances, but in more than one way since it’s actually “split” into two stories. On the one hand, you have the family plot, with Taylor having that last summer to spend with her father yet also growing closer with the rest of her family. It was my absolute favourite part of the book! It is so very rare in YA fiction that parents or siblings play such an important role, that you get to know them just as much as you would the MC’s best friend or love interest in any other story. So, I am glad Matson made this about a topic that doesn’t get addressed much, even if it was completely heartbreaking. Up until the end I was hoping for some kind of miracle solution … just thinking about it gets me all upset again.

Then there is the other storyline, revolving around Taylor not wanting to come back to their summer house, because she had a fall out with her best friend and boyfriend there five years ago (when she was only twelve). As you can maybe already tell by my tone, I was not entirely convinced by that story. There is some animosity and in the beginning the suspense is incredible – you just need to know what happened! Yet when we finally found out, I thought that it was rather silly to have such a big fight over something like this, especially since they were still so young. I definitely wouldn’t have held the grudge for years like some people here did.

In the end, the friendship and love-parts were a good balance in terms of making the story lighter. I don’t think I could have bared all those glum feelings all the time. It was such a heartfelt story with great lessons of facing your fears and making the best of the time you get with the people you love – and of course about second chances!

Fazit: 4/5 stars! An emotional read to get you ready for summer!

4stars

Have you read Second Chance Summer? Did you enjoy it as much as me?

The Infernal Devices Book Review

I know I am pretty late to the party when it comes to the Infernal Devices, but I have reasons for that … not any good ones, but still reasons … I’ve read the City of Bones trilogy (at least that’s what I believed it to be at the time) years ago – so many years, I don’t even remember. I read them in the German translation, so clearly the phase where I read everything in it’s original language hadn’t started yet. So, I was reluctant to buy anything associated with the series in English and I simply couldn’t get myself to continue reading it in German. But at some point I just couldn’t resist any longer. They look so pretty and they are about Shadowhunters – I mean that’s just cool!

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I’ve thought about this for a long time and I find it extremely difficult to do this without Spoilers, therefore there will be two parts to this review: one for everyone and one for the people who’ve read the book as well!

Spoiler-free section coming up!

The Infernal Devices is about the journey of Tessa Gray – about her encountering a world beyond what she thought was possible and of her realising what a special place she has in exactly that world. It’s a story about love, family, loyalty, honor and duty.

I like the universe Cassandra Clare has created. Opinions tend to differ on this one; some people just never really get into it and that’s okay too. But I wasn’t one of those people, I got sucked in and loved it. Not many authors manage to develop a story with so many side characters, you barely know who you want to keep track of most.

There was literally no one I didn’t like (except for the villains, who you still understood to some extant)! That doesn’t mean the characters are perfect, because as she states in the book “perfect is dull”, but they all have their quirks and habits that make them really lovable. Another plus: my all-time-favourite from City of Bones/Glass/Ashes Magnus Bane is in the books!

The pace of the story felt exactly right for the time period it played in and all the references to “A Tale of Two Cities” were great! Overall I enjoyed it very much and could’ve spent decades more with the characters.

Now Spoilers ahead!

All in all I liked all three books quite equally, although the ending was most superb. Clockwork Princess bothered me sometimes because the actual Mortmain-storyline was so minimal, but then again it was the best of the three books in terms of showing where all the characters will end up, who they truly love and what they are capable of becoming. But as always, I am just going to divide this part into the characters/pairings in order to get some structure into this whole thing:

  • Whoever said “You can’t have it all!” has clearly never read the Infernal Devices, because besides the immortality issue, Tessa Gray has about one of the best lives on the planet and she gets to live a whole and fulfilled life with both her true loves. I mean who gets to do that? Normal people have to choose!
  • I understand that everyone loves troubled Will Herondale and it’s not like I don’t like him, but I don’t seem to have been as affected by him as others. The only scene I absolutely adored and that shattered my heart was when he thought Jem was dead and his parabatai-rune faded. Other than that I think he’s fun and funny, has great taste in books and apparently looks quite handsome.
  • James Carstairs aka Jem is my second favourite character in the Shadowhunter world (next to the infamous Magnus Bane). I kind of preferred him to Will and hope people can live with that. When I thought he was dead I felt devastated and like a part of my heart was missing as well. Never would I have thought he would die, which essentially he didn’t, but I didn’t know that at the time. Very well played Ms Clare!
    I’m so glad he got to be with his Tessa in the end as well and I’ve read about a little sequel called “After the Bridge” which tells us more about what happened after the Epilogue of Clockwork Princess. I have to get my hands on that somehow!!
  • Sophie, dear stubborn Sophie, I was so happy to see her become a Shadowhunter herself and find her love in Gideon Lightwood. He was smitten by her from the first second and that was just so lovely.
  • Henry and Charlotte have to be the most adorable people ever! I love how strong of a person Charlotte is and even though I felt sorry for Henry getting injured, it doesn’t seem like a big issue and that’s great. Also, Charlotte is the perfect example of female empowerment for the time period.
  • I still think it’s a little weird that Gabriel fell in love with Cecily because of his past with Will and her resemblance to him. Still, she made him a better man for sure.
  • I have never heard Bridget sing, but her songs sound fascinating. I can imagine though that they would get on my nerves after a while.
  • I feel sorry for Jessamine (although I’ve never particularly liked her) and hope she will find peace, even as a ghost.

Oh my stars, this has become a looong post. What do you say? Any thoughts on the Infernal Devices from your side?

Side note: I would like to see THAT becoming a movie or TV show!!! Until someone makes that happen, I will contend myself with the Shadowhunter show.