throws hands in the airI mean, I'm pretty sure I get why people like this. Or rather, I can imagine the mentality. You've dreamed about sweet, overly sensitive bookish men and being the otherworldly woman who changes his life? I'm not saying that Addie LaRue is an MPDG or anything - that phrase is so dead - I'm saying that this book relies heavily on you soaring on the emotional wave that is created by a pretty boy and an immortal girl's relationship (and I guess the magic of New York City, or whatever), because this certainly isn't relying on plot twists or tense rising action. But in order for that to work, you have to actually feel that emotional wave. And I did not. I spent his entire book standing on a dry beach, wondering where all the waves were.Adeline LaRue was born in the wrong century. It's not that she wants to be anything in particular, she just wants something more than 17th century provincial French life. But that's what she was going to get. At 23, she had nearly ensured spinsterhood when a damn widower comes to town and needs a wife. He'll settle for old maid Addie. Desperate to escape, despite never doing anything in her 23 years to do so before - aside from hiding in her parents' house-, she runs to the woods and prays to the old gods to grant her a way to be free. An old god answers, but a dark one, and because she doesn't really know what she wants only what she doesn't, she manages to garner herself a pretty terrible deal. She gets her freedom, and an immortal life complete with her eternal youth and health - but in turn she cannot be remembered. Everyone she knew before would forget her, and everyone she meets going forward will forget her as well as soon as she's out of sight. This leads to a pretty miserable couple of years figuring out how to exist when always just out of people's sight and mind. She can't own anything, she can't tell anyone who is she is or her story. She can't make a mark, or change anything. But eventually, she starts to figure out the rules. Eventually she starts to squeeze in moments of joy and wonder between trying to find a place to sleep for the night. All the while, the old god from the wood dogs her step, trying to convince her to give in and surrender her soul. She holds on to it out of spite, and despite everything her curse puts her through, there's always more to see. And eventually, she makes it to modern day. Eventually she meets a boy who actually remembers her.I feel like a bit of an asshole for not having much sympathy for Addie. As a woman born in the 20th century, I have everything she wanted - I have independence, I have agency. I can travel, I can choose to be married or not, have children or not. But maybe it's the times we're in - we're all craving something simple. Something comfortable. Hell, there's a whole movement of people obsessed with the provincial aesthetic and lifestyle (granted, with less patriarchy). Something about the way Addie sneers at the people of her village - the weak-chinned man who she's betrothed to, the childhood friend who is content to marry and have children and play her part - leaves a bad taste in my mouth. This new spin on the Not-Like-Other-Girls Girl is the extent of Addie's personality for a large portion of the book, before her stubbornness takes over. And I thought this would be examined at some point - not necessarily that Addie would regret her decision, even after the years of suffering she goes through because of it, but that she would look back on her old life and realize that there was value there, and there wasn't really anything special or more deserving about her. But that's literally never discussed. You're apparently supposed to take Addie's aimless desire at face value.I spent a good chunk of my adolescence reading about sad immortals, thanks to Anne Rice. Lestat de Lioncourt, interestingly, has a similar origin story to Addie. Doomed to a backwater life in 18th century France, desperate to live a life that is something more, he finds himself in the path of a powerful immortal, who damns him to a dark eternal life. The difference is that Lestat, like, actually does stuff before this point. He runs off with his boyfriend, he joins a group of traveling actors. Lestat is a bipolar vampire, but you feel his lust for life from the very beginning. You get none of this from Addie. Even as she starts to enjoy her life as a ghost, it is as an observer. Wow, she likes opera, why should I care?A book like this should be lush and decadent. A character like this should drip with agency and passion. I feel like this book thinks its doing that, it seems very impressed with itself. But Addie's various encounters throughout her long life are not very interesting. Even the old god (who Addie names Luc) who granted her wish over the centuries is not very interesting, neither is their relationship (which is a pretty big handicap, as its important to the plot). This book actually seems very uninterested in anything eternal - while Luc points out that Addie is barely human anymore after her 300 years, she never once examines herself from this lens. The effect this curse has had on her humanity is never discussed. Likewise, Luc may be a god, but he is treated in the most mundane ways. A good chunk of this book is Addie and her doomed sad boy lover, Henry, going to various art installations around New York City, much the same way Addie figured out the best way to survive 300 years was to just to see a lot of stuff. I don't need a bunch of student art projects described to me, thanks. I wasn't a fan of [b:If We Were Villains 30319086 If We Were Villains M.L. Rio https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1480717682l/30319086.SY75.jpg 45743348], but that is a great example of doing that well. However, M.L. Rio only does this two or three times, and she makes a point to really dig into the emotional impact of the art (and the scenes are described gorgeously), not to mention how they are wound in with the plot. This is genuinely just Henry and Addie doing stuff because art is nice, I guess. And yes, there's the theme of Addie being a muse, but I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to be getting out of all this.Let's talk about Henry real quick. I was hearing some criticism about this book and how white it is. The thing is - it's not, actually. Henry is Jewish, his best friend is black. Yes, Addie spends most of her life in predominantly white areas, except when she spends thirty years in New Orleans (which is basically skimmed despite it being pretty important to the finale!). Here's the thing though - it feels really white. It feels like a lot of privileged white whining. As if the preoccupation on art installations and stuff weren't enough, you have Henry and his sad. I already talked about how Addie's problems during her mortal human life seem quibbling, and I'm not here to belittle what sounds like Henry's clinical depression and possible personality disorder. But his problems are never presented this way. Rather, he just...feels things! Super hard! As far as I can tell, aside from having a jerk for a brother, Henry has never had it particularly rough. But like Addie he can never decide on what he wants so he dates the wrong women and studies the wrong things, and before you know it he's contemplating suicide after a marriage proposal gets rejected (do you know what kind of guys do that? Not good ones). Again, I thought this would be addressed in some way. But all Henry is told at the end is to, like, actually live his life and stuff, whereas I think some better advice would be to go the therapy and consider medication. I have rambled about this enough. My point is that there are no peaks and valleys to The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. There is no plot development that I didn't see coming a mile away. There is really no rise, not compelling conflict. It just kind of...goes? The same way Addie lives day to day, I just drifted from page to page, not really getting anything out of any moment in particular. There are a lot of ways to make a story like this more compelling - but a lot of them mean making it darker and more dangerous. Anne Rice was a master of fabulism and sweeping you off your feet - but the content she wrote was deeply problematic at times. Maybe the kind of shamlessness this book required is not really possible in this day and age. Instead, Schwab had the bones of the concept, and just filled in the space in between. But I guess for most people it worked.