The Invisible Life of Addie Larue is Unforgettable

invisible life of addie larueThere’s something exquisitely mysterious about this book. It’s the kind of novel that slips into your periphery as you read, so that you feel it following you around, haunting your every step. It’s the kind of novel you think you’ve witnessed before- and yet I can guarantee you’ve never seen it play out quite like this. Because, while V E Schwab has always been a very clever writer, this is the cleverest of her works.

The story, on the surface, appears to be simple: girl makes a dangerous wish and is cursed with unforeseen circumstances. However, there’s nothing straightforward about this from the start. You see, the deal itself is a curious affair. Yes, in the typical fairy tale tradition the catch costs her everything. Yes, the consequences fit the request. Yes, the devilish antagonist behind all this pulls the strings to torment her throughout. Still, there’s a part of this particular curse that ties the darkness to her, making the binds a little more complex. Unlike any other story of this nature, the deal touches both parties.

And a lot of this comes down to the fact that Addie Larue is an entirely enigmatic character. She’s a complicated protagonist, brought to life with memorable details, from the constellation of freckles on her face to the dreams she holds close to her harrowing suffering. And still, I haven’t come close to covering who she is.

Twining her life with art, we see that she is the ultimate muse. Wherever she walks she brings inspiration. Though she is frozen in time, unable to change, she does develop over the course of the narrative. It’s a subtle change, keeping the core of the character intact, but shifting her attitudes so she’s a better, bolder version of herself. I loved this expansion of confidence. And I admired how it showed her creative streak in more ways than one. And I liked how it twined with her constantly budding relationships.

Speaking of relationships, there are many that were powerfully explored. Not just romantic relationships. Friendships were given space to bloom. Romance is often featured in the book- and yet for me it was the friendships that will stand the test of time.

Even better, there is a plot worth selling your soul for. I glided through the book, unable to put it down, though I thought the path it was taking was clear. Of course, in typical Schwab fashion, she pulled a blinder at the end. Unusual, unexpected and an absolute stroke of brilliance, the ending is *perfection*. The more I think about it, the better it becomes. And I would love to talk about this in more depth- but I won’t for fear of *spoilers*. It’s the kind of story you have to watch out for yourself. One thing’s for certain: I won’t be forgetting this book in a hurry.

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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So, have you read The Invisible Life of Addie Larue? Can you see yourself picking it up? Let me know in the comments!

Vindicated by Vengeful: A Victorious Sequel!

vengefulI know that some people aren’t crazy about Vengeful, the sequel to the vastly celebrated Vicious, but this is *exactly* the kind of Schwab fare I sign up for.

Yes, it was missing the simplicity of Vicious, yes, it took things further than its predecessor, HOWEVER it was that complexity which meant I ended up liking it even more. And I frickin loved Vicious. Not only did it have the stellar concept from the first book, but it raised the stakes, pushed the boundaries of sympathy and challenged the already established ideas. Schwab didn’t rest on her laurels with this book; she didn’t just reproduce the first book. She did something different and that’s why I think this has been somewhat of a divisive sequel.

For me, it ticked all the boxes. There were so many strokes of genius that I was blown away time and again. The plot was intense from start to finish; the twists and turns had me on the edge of my seat. I loved the layered element of flashbacks and timejumps- which served to make it ever more intricate. It was thought provoking and thrilling in equal measure. The intensity was such that I couldn’t stop reading. As it heated up towards the finale, I was on tenterhooks.

Naturally, this was in large part thanks to the fabulous voice employed throughout. The writing was as composed as an orchestra, each instrument, from word choice to pacing, was perfectly on beat. Its overall effect was exquisite. Needless to say, my kindle ended up as colourful as an impressionist painting 😉

What added to this masterpiece was the characters. The return of Victor Vale was, as expected, something to behold. It’s no secret I LOVE this character- a visionary villain who is almost a hero. It was fun to see the others return as well- even if I wasn’t crazy about all of them. And of course, it wouldn’t have been the same without the enigmatic Eli and his horrifyingly manipulative ways. I did like the main antagonist, Marcella, since she created a nice sense of drama too and added to the themes, however she wasn’t my favourite.

Evidently, I adored this book. The Villains series, for me, is the very best of Schwab. I can’t wait to see where it ends up!

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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Have you read this? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

V E Schwab is Masterful at Conjuring Light

a conjuring of lightI must have mentioned a million times on this blog how much I love Schwab’s work- and I am so happy to say that the master has done it again! Boy, did I have fun reading this book!

After the last book I have to say, I was excited about where this journey would take me next, and boy did this deliver. This full on adventure took us beyond the ever-changing colour of Schwab’s London, sailing to the high seas and beyond to the darker recesses of the character’s minds.

The characterisation was flawless as per the usual standard. Of course it was wonderful to see favourites from the last books- Kell, Lila, Rhy, Alucard- again, but what was so brilliant about this book was how much more fleshed out some of the other characters became. And even better was how villains and allies had moments of changing their allegiances as easily as Kell changes her coat.

Most of all, I have to give credit for the absolutely beautiful writing. Just like the tightly spun magic around the heroes in the book, her writing held A Conjuring of Light together and made for an absolutely incredible reading experience.

Undoubtedly, this was a near perfect conclusion to the series!

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

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Have you read this? Did you like it? And if you’re a Schwab fan- what’s your favourite of her books?

Also I know I’ve had *a lot* of positive reviews lately but I can promise that some of my ones that are coming are less glowing…

A Gathering of Shadows…

A Gathering of Shadows FinalSo let’s talk about London while it still exists. Because obviously it looks like it is about to be engulfed by darkness… Oh I probably should have clarified that I mean Red London in the world of V E Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic. Obviously I’m not talking about my dear old hometown! This has nothing to do with the referendum! I just write book reviews 😉 (Too soon to make jokes I wonder?)

Personally, I love V E Schwab. She can practically do no wrong as far as I’m concerned. Her books are a uniquely colourful and dark blend- I didn’t hesitate to give the two books I’ve read of hers (Vicious and A Darker Shade of Magic) 5*. So clearly, I am already heavily invested in this series.

This time, however, I felt the build-up was much slower than I would have liked. Don’t get me wrong- I really, really enjoyed this book. But I didn’t feel like a recap of the last book and an overlong reintroduction into the world she’d already beautifully illustrated was entirely necessary.

Other than that it was business as usual for Schwab. I appreciated the depth she added to the villains, the world and the characters. I especially liked the introduction of a new-old love interest for one of the lead heroes (don’t worry, no spoilers). And when the plot finally did pick up, it went at full speed ahead, slamming straight into an iceberg- which I admit sounds like a bad thing, but was actually thoroughly entertaining, if somewhat totally nerve-wracking and left my heart ringing in my chest as the shock hit. Then when it ended- abruptly and without warning- I’ll admit I was a bit shaken up. I felt like I’d been left out in the cold, just hoping the lifeboats (Schwab) will show up and take us all (Kell) to safety. In short, it went swimmingly. And no- I am still not talking about Brexit!

Overall I am optimistic for a satisfactorily grand finale for this series!

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

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Okey dokey- right now I’ve got to love you and leave you (that’s not a subliminal message I swear!) So if you still like and want to visit the UK, feel free to check out my last post and you can visit Britain in spirit (if not in reality 😉 ) And do let me know what you think in the comments!