Back in November, when I first launched the blog, I stumbled upon some self-published authors who videoed their writing process on Youtube.
One in particular stood out as she vlogged her entire Na No Wri Mo(National Novel Writing Month) experience. For those who haven't heard, it's a challenge which takes place the entire month of November where you have to write 50,000 words or more.
Let me say it was a whirl wind of emotions to watch!
Sarra Cannon has been a self-published best selling author since 2009 with over 5 successful series released on Amazon. So Na No Wri Mo would be easy for her right?
Sarra was going to use Na No Wri Mo as the starting foundation to the third book in one of her more successful series. Instead, Sarra decided to switch gears when she realized her soon to be released novel, for another series, was not up to par.
Now, instead of writing 50,000 words, she had to rewrite an entire 100,000 word story from scratch. If that wasn't enough there was a pre-order deadline she had to meet to rank on several best selling lists.
Through many late nights and lots of tears she was unable to complete the book by the deadline. Sarra had completed the Na No Wri Mo challenge with over 100,000 words yet failed her goal. She was devastated and so was I, because I was rooting from the sidelines. I would often leave encouraging comments or suggestions in which she always responded.
After the Na No Wri Mo videos, Sarra moved back to her regular videos of self-publishing tips and tricks in which I would often watch and leave comments on. In several videos she mentioned the current book she was reading. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. Sarra's enthusiasm and the cover alone left me curious.
So, one weekend I made my way to Barnes and Noble and grabbed myself a copy.
Overview of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
Growing up in the small village of Villion-sur-Sarthe, in 1698, left Adeline LaRue bored and curious for the outside world. At the age of seven, her mother let Adeline get a taste of freedom when she journeys to the market place with her father. Fascinated by the sounds and people Adeline hopes to one day encounter what the world has to offer.
Fast forward to Adeline, at the age of 23, still in the small French village and unmarried. Unacceptable in her parents eyes she is forced to marry. The night of the arranged marriage Adeline decides to pray to the Gods. Darkness falls as Adeline continues to pray hoping for an answer. When a dark God appears, and answers her prayers, Adeline soon realizes she is invisible to the world.
Unable to leave a mark, Adeline is cursed to an eternity of everyone forgetting who she over and over again with a simple turn of their back.
Until she meets Henry that is...
The Cons of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
· Hard to connect to Addie
As a reader I found it hard to sympathize with the main character. She comes off whiny and ungrateful which makes her situation lack any emotional connection. Besides wanting to travel and having freckles on her face Addie doesn't seem all that interesting even though people tend to flock towards her in the book.
The book could probably be half as long and get the same storyline across. It is mentioned over and over and over again how no one remembers Addie due to the curse. I get it...she's 'invisible'. You don't need to keep repeating it.
The story seemed to turn away from this in the last 100 pages which was refreshing.
· Writing style felt off
While reading I found the writing style to be a little strange. It was overly descriptive on things that weren't of any importance, but fell flat on things that were important. Often times it felt like the author was trying too hard to have the book feel ominous when the storyline did it on it's own.
· Cramming in lots of info about Henry
We don't see Henry until 2/3rds of the way through the book. Apparently the author wanted to make up for it and cram as much info about his character into the first couple of chapters of his introduction. Even though I liked his character I think he could've been introduced earlier to avoid this problem or only leave in the necessary parts to move the story forward.
The Pros of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
· Short Chapters
I love nothing more than short chapters in a book! Chapters would range from 2 to 8 pages making it possible to read a chapter here or there without feeling the need to press on when the book was a little slow. The book often jumped around and the little bits of information here and there within the chapters left it interesting.
· Switched up Characters POV
Like I mentioned in the cons section I didn't connect with the main character. So it was nice to see the switch in POV's from Addie to Henry. I think both characters brought different elements to the story. If it hadn't been for the switch I may not have continued with the book.
· A Couple Good Twists
I won't say what the twists are in case you want to read the book for yourself, BUT there are one or two great twists which made the entire book! If it hadn't been for them the story would have been a flop.
If you have read my other book reviews you know I mention backstories in almost every one. I love back stories and this novel started off with it. Some might say it isn't a backstory then if introduced at the beginning of the book, but I would concur. The backstory could have been worked on slightly to give the reader more interest in the main character, but the overall essence was there.
· Different Locations and Time Lines
Since Addie is immortal you get to see her go through different time periods and locations. This concept helps show the struggles Addie has to go through as the times change. What once was easy for her might not be so easy anymore and vice versa. I wish the author would have included more of the different places Addie mentioned she traveled too to show more of the struggles though.
Overall Review Summary
Let me say I really thought Sarra Canon had let me down with the read. For the first time in my life, I was about to return a book to Barnes and Noble.
Instead, I found myself mouthing the word 'wow' by the end of it. With this in mind I would give it an overall rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars.
This rating is heavily based on the cons I experienced while reading The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. Yes, it did come together in the end, but I think the same story could have been accomplished in half the amount of time thus making the plot more entertaining.
The cover is aesthetically pleasing(It even matches my room) and relates to the story. Even when the dust jacket is taken off, there is a hidden element engraved in the hardcover for the reader to appreciate. The title itself could use some work as it is almost too direct and somewhat boring. Why would you want to read about a girl whose was invisible her entire life? She must not be that interesting... cough cough.
Because of the twist endings, I can definitely see the book turning into a movie here in the near future. I think the movie would play well on screen and would make it easier to relate to the main character, Addie.
In the end, I enjoyed the book, but it wouldn't be the first thing I would recommend to people if they asked.
Let me know in the comments below if you've read The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue! Tell me what you did or didn't like about it.
If you are interested in my children's picture book Princess Gabriella and the Never-Ending Kiss, you can now purchase it on Amazon, in eBook, format for only $9.99!