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.
Warnings: wartime, starvation, depression, suicide attempt, partner abuse & implied biphobia
Note: This is not YA
To put my gushing feelings about this book into words was quite difficult, and yes, it has been a few months since I read it, but I will attempt to do it as best as I can with the outline I have. The story is told mainly from the PoV of Addie, though there are also some chapters where we see from Henry’s eyes. Addie’s life is compiled from the past (from when she made the deal with Luc) to the present (where she meets Henry) in a series of flashbacks intermittent with the present. The flashbacks mostly center around the anniversary of July 29 (when she made that deal with Luc, and when he reappears) but other dates appear, too.
Her story is about her life lived over 300 years, with all of the pain (and there is plenty of pain for a woman living in the 18th-20th century, surviving starvation, wartime, etc) and all of the joy and wonder of seeing the world and having plenty of time to experience it. She gets to see history while it is being written, but she also experiences the loneliness of being immortal, and especially lonely because of the way the deal is designed. To have complete freedom would mean to have nothing to bind her, no ties to anything – and Luc twists that wish of hers into making her unable to leave any mark, physical or in the memory of the people she meets. Even her lovers won’t remember her once she goes out of their sight.
Despite this, she is so full of life, and is fierce and passionate. She has a love-hate relationship with Luc, who is the source of her torment, but also the only one in the whole world who knows and remembers her, and so after a long time, she finds it a little bit of comfort to have him. But it is also a war of wills between them – him waiting for her to break down and be done with her life that is sundered from everyone else, and she determined to show him that she won’t back down, making their ‘romance’ one of the most interesting adversarial relationships I have read. It is also such a compelling romance – at first I was like ‘no way’ but then Schwab manages to convince me – it is not love, but it is so well-done, with them being in opposition to each other, but also knowing the loneliness of the other well! And speaking of their relationship, I absolutely loved how the ending played out!
But, of course, her romance with Henry was another amazingly written relationship – the way their natures fit so well with each other, how she identifies with his loneliness and the hurt within him, and how each represents hope, possibility and companionship to the other. And then there is Henry, my sweet baby with the storms! There were so many parallels drawn between her weariness of immortality and his depression. I identified with so many parts of his story, of not being enough, and so many part of hers, of wanting to be free of ties. The character-driven plot is simply beautiful and draws you in, with so much of their arcs being about the burden of a life that tires you and then the aspects of the curse/deal add the spice to their stories.
With a beautifully constructed storyline spanning centuries, and an enchanting protagonist, with themes of finding wonder in the world, of finding meaning in life, and two remarkable romances, this book is highly recommended!
Is it diverse? bisexual main characters
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from TOR Books, via Edelweiss.
Other books by the author
Releases on October 6, 2020