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?

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab (Book Review)

Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Page Count
: 510

Our Dark Duet is the second and final book in the Monsters of Verity duology (you can read my review for the first book, This Savage Song, here). While I will try to avoid spoilers for this part as best as I can, I don’t recommend you read on if you haven’t read This Savage Song.

Back in 2016, I talked about this series all the time. So much so, that I pre-ordered the hardcover copy of Our Dark Duet, fully knowing that I’d be in Canada by the time it would arrive and therefore also buying the ebook version for my Kindle. All of that because I truly loved This Savage Song. I loved how quietly exciting it was, how original the creation of the monsters was. But most of all, I loved the characters and that’s what lead me to put off reading the book for such a long time. I was worried about their future and their livelihood and rightly so, because Monsters of Verity doesn’t have a happy end, but it might just have a hopeful one (even if it comes at a price, as Schwab so deftly put it in her acknowledgements).

To me, Our Dark Duet was a lot … well, darker. Whereas Kate’s opportunity at a family and a place where she belongs got once again taken away, August tried to embrace his supposed purpose in life and lost himself in the process. They had to grow up even more than in the last book and it just made me feel terribly sad for their circumstances. Only when the two are together, they can allow themselves to be themselves. I am very protective of my son August, but Kate grew even more on me here than she did in the last book. They see each other for who and what they are and that’s such a vital and beautiful quality whether it’s in friendship or whatever else they were having. It’s my favorite part about their relationship, while I simultaneously hated that they spent most of the book apart.

The book didn’t just deliver more of the same old, it had quite a lot of new elements  a terrifying monster and a new Sunai, by the name of Soro. The latter, in particular, was quite the enigma to me, which leads me to a final statement I want to make with this review: There’s still a lot of unanswered questions. It’s not like the book ended on a cliffhanger and I won’t survive, but there is so much more that this world has to offer, so many characters that we could still explore and I truly want to spend more time with. I don’t know if that is an option, or if Schwab is truly done with this world, but I, for one, would really enjoy some sort of spin-off or continuation in Verity and its surrounding areas (aka maybe a Prosperity spin-off???).

A lot happens in the book, we get several different POVs and there was a lot of heart in the story. My heart broke and hurt for hours after I was done. It’s always that way when I truly loved something and I just need to establish it one more time – if I could, I would adopt August and coddle him for life!

Rating: 5/5 stars! I am sad it is over, but this story was freaking fantastic.

Have you read the Monsters of Verity duology? I am telling you, it is totally worth it!

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab (Book Review)

ThisSavageSong

Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Page Count
: 427

This Savage Song was featured in the July OwlCrate box and so far I have not been disappointed by any read I have got from them, this one not being an exception – I loved it!

I know that Schwab has quite an impressive bibliography, but I haven’t read anything other than the Shades of Magic books so far. While I did enjoy them, I did not necessarily love them though, but now I have simply fallen for This Savage Song.

She created this world full of monsters and music. No one is safe. No one is truly good or evil – or at least that’s what the premise promised, but I thought it was pretty obvious who was on which side. I think that might have been a point that disappointed people a bit, but I personally didn’t really mind it. Good people have to do terrible things all the time. It’s how they deal with it afterwards that makes me decide if I still consider them good people or not and whatever August and Kate had to do in the book, you saw with a certainty that they did not fully enjoy doing really terrible acts.

At first I was a little confused with the set-up. Why were the monsters there? How were they created? How can something just begin to exist with a plop and be this fully developed being? The thing is, we don’t really get answers to that, but that is the exact same thing August is struggling with. You get a vague break-down of what happened, but it didn’t feel like a real explanation to me. Going through the same process as the character makes all the difference though and was maybe also the reason why I liked August a tiny bit more than Kate. She was tough and had something to prove, but I felt more connected to August’s struggle to just hold on. He soon turned into my baby that I just wanted to protect, but failed miserably at it.

One of the things I liked most was that it all was so quietly exciting. You got an in depth feel of the characters and their inner workings, but the real action didn’t start until the final third and I was totally okay with that. Also, I was glad to find that the ending open but not with a terrible cliffhanger. I knew going into this that it was a series and I am really looking forward to the continuation of the story. Right now our MC’s are all over the place, but I am sure they will find their way back together (just like Kell and Lila).

Fazit: 5/5 stars! It was an exciting, character-driven story that I cannot wait to dive back into with the sequels!

5stars

Have you read This Savage Song? Do you share my feelings for it or did you have a different experience? Let’s discuss!

July “Good vs. Evil” OwlCrate Unboxing!

julyunbox

A couple days ago I’ve received my second OwlCrate box. In case you don’t know what that means, OwlCrate is a monthly book subscription box. There is a different theme for each month, but you neither know which book you are going to get, nor which 2-3 awesome goodies it will include. You can find out more details by clicking here.

This month was especially exciting because you could receive one of two boxes. Either the good or the evil one and I have joined the forces of GOOD! (Not that I had much of a choice, as with everything, the box you got was a surprise)

The Book

I’ve been right about the book for the second time in a row, which just makes me incredibly happy! We got This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab, which I totally would have ordered if I didn’t have the feeling it would be in this box. The constant mention of monsters and human and where the line is drawn just made me feel really sure that this would be the book. I haven’t started it yet, but will fairly soon. The chapter headers remind me of the Silence from Doctor Who, which is already a good sign that I will like it.

The Goodies

So, here are the amazing things that were included in this month’s box:

  • Full size Funko Pop figure – if you received the good box, you had a 50/50 chance of either receiving Luna Lovegood or Dobby to remind you to always be yourself and be kind. Although I would have loved to get Luna, I am happy with my Dobby. He looks so desperate and cute with his little sock in his hand.
  • Millennium Falcon necklace by Vector Engraving – it is so beautiful guys! I love things that are made of wood, so this is brilliant. The only downside is that the clasp is not really working, which is a real bummer. It’s sort of stuck, but I’m going to try and see if I can fix it.
  • Alice bookmark by Jane’s Tiny Things – it’s a really cute magnetic bookmark and I don’t think I have to tell you how much I adore all things Alice. I also think that it’s actually prettier than the Queen of Hearts the evil box had in it, so I am double happy.
  • Illuminae sticker by Drop and Give Me Nerdy – it hasn’t been too long that I’ve read Illuminae, so that was a nice treat. I don’t know if I will ever use the sticker, because I am scared of putting it on something and then not liking it there, but not being able to ever get it off without ruining it. I guess I will just leave it like that.
  • A letter, signed book plate and little coloring book – all of those things are amazing and I’ve been thinking about getting one of those adult coloring books for a while now, so getting a sample with YA covers is just brilliant. I can test it and see if I really want a whole book for that (because those things are expensive).

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I will most likely post more pictures on my Instagram account soon, but as you might have been able to see from my lack of posting, life has been rather busy lately. As much as I love getting these amazing boxes from Owlcrate, I do feel the urge to check out something else. For September I’ve already set my eyes on a Fairyloot box, but I will have to see what I’ll do for August. And I better do it quick before everything is sold out!

What do you think? Have you ordered one before? Which one did you get?