May 15, 2021carolwu96 rated this title 4.5 out of 5 stars
“Stories are a way to preserve one’s self. To be remembered. And to forget.”
Adeline Larue does not want the prescribed life of an ordinary 18th-century French woman. Hoping to see the world rather than living and dying within the confines of her little village, she strikes a bargain with the god of darkness and trades her soul for eternal freedom.
But there is a caveat to her immortality: to hasten the surrender of her soul, the deity has also condemned her to perpetual solitude: nobody ever remembers her and nothing can ever be changed by her. Reduced to theft and homelessness, Addie wanders the Earth alone for three centuries. Until she meets Henry.
I usually associate each book with one particular color or texture, but Addie Larue made me feel so much. There were the faint glimmers of stars from one end of a constellation to the other; there were torn stretches of mercury grey on torrents of black. There were also flashes of fir and topaz and ember. Sometimes I felt padded silk pressing against my upper arm; other times specks of dust floated against a backlit sunset.
Schwab’s diction was precise and evocative. The streams of consciousness of her characters, so descriptive and relatable, made me feel for each of them, and even the most seemingly absurd decisions were not only understood but also appreciated. While Addie is cunning and Henry principled, even the supposedly devilish antagonist, Luc, is charming in his own way.
This book is a masterful tapestry of some of my favorite themes in literature: art, femininity and growth. However, all of these took place against the surprising but welcomed backdrop of nature worshipping, and while Luc is not explicitly a pagan deity, Addie’s life is so Sisyphean in nature and their relationship so strangely reminiscent of that between Hades and Persephone that I could not help but think them deliberate nods to my favorite mythology.
Overall, Addie Larue is one of those rare gems that are actually worth the hype. It may not be perfect, but its poetic beauty is definitely something to behold.