Malibu Rising and The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue were two of my most highly anticipated reads for the year. They seemed really promising and I’d heard really good things about both through the blogging community. Sadly I was pretty disappointed with both of them, but one even more so than the other. Heads up—I’m about to rant and there will be minor spoilers.
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I was reeled in when I read this book was about an unforgettable night where secrets come to light and a mansion goes up in flames. Malibu Rising sounded dramatic, it promised a marriage scandal, a confession, an unexpected party guest and more.
The main highlight was the setting and atmosphere. It’s one thing to write the past well, but to flip between two decades so seamlessly is impressive. TJR’s description of Malibu in the 80’s felt very authentic. The flashbacks to the 50’s were even better. June and Mick’s love story unfolds in these flashbacks and I couldn’t get enough of it. Learning about June, the matriarch of the Riva family and how she got her fairytale, only to have it crumble was compelling and tragic.
I wasn’t particularly attached to any of the Riva siblings. They came off as stereotypes, Nina the responsible one, Hud the soft one, Jay the athlete, and Kit, the sarcastic baby of the family. Of the four of them, Nina is the only one who had a good character arc. I will say that Kit was amusing though and I wouldn’t have minded reading more about her.
There were a bunch of extra character perspectives that did nothing but frustrate me. Whenever things were getting interesting during the party, TJR threw in an irrelevant snapshot into one of the party-goers lives. These chapters didn’t connect to the main story and made the book longer without adding value.
Anti-climactic is the only way I can describe the plot. I was bracing myself for an explosive fight between the Riva siblings and I was disappointed. There is some tension, but once it breaks the dust settles quickly and the story comes to an end just as swiftly.
I didn’t love Malibu Rising, but I didn’t hate it either. There were some interesting twists and I’m definitely going to give TJR’s books another try.
Rating: 3/5 stars
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
Reading this was the experience I had with The Night Circus all over again. The premise seemed so cool and I was seriously let down. This book really tested my patience and I regret not DNF’ing it. I was so uninterested in what was happening that my final session of reading this, I fell asleep with only 3 pages left instead of finishing it.
*** Small Spoilers Ahead ***
Premise: Addie LaRue doesn’t want to get married, so she prays for a way out. After several failed attempts, she does the one thing she isn’t supposed to do, she prays to the Gods who only answer after dark. She gets her wish, but not without a price. Addie will live forever, but be forgotten by everyone she meets. Until one day, everything changes, when someone remembers her.
Expectations: An unforgettable story about an extraordinary woman who explores the world, trying to leave her mark. When she meets Henry and he remembers her, an epic romance begins.
Reality: A very slow paced, boring and repetitive plot about a young woman who lives for 300 years and stays exactly the same.
Side note: it’s unclear what the darkness is. She names this figure Luc and while he might be the devil or possibly a God of sorts, he shape-shifts into human form. Sometimes he is like a ghost, other times she can physically reach out and touch him. There’s no consistency surrounding Luc and no limits on his powers, which becomes ridiculous.
Back to Addie, she has no personality and mostly spends her time being angry at Luc for her fate. She turns it into a battle between them, but it’s not very intense or interesting. He shows up once a year, trying to force her to give her soul to him and she refuses. There is nothing at stake and I wasn’t even rooting for her because she has no clear motives or goals.
I can’t think of anything positive to say about this… so the rant continues on in this list of things that annoyed me
- In the parts set in the 1700s, nothing happens. Addie wanders around, cold, starving and lonely. It’s so repetitive. Even the words choices are repetitive. I literally never want to see the word palimpsest again.
- The curse should have been more flexible. She can’t make friends, work, have a place to live or even write anything down!
- After living for 300 years, Addie acts exactly the same as the day Luc cursed her. Her speech stays the same, her level of maturity, her interests, I’m talking everything
- The fact that there is very little reference to important historical events, despite Addie living through many of them…
- The part about Henry’s heart being abnormal was bizarre. Minus Addie and Henry’s curses, they live in a normal world. Maybe it’s just me, but using a magical metaphor didn’t make sense
- Everything to do with Henry being Jewish and leaving Judaism, don’t even get me started
- Addie spends most of her life in Europe and then boom, she’s in America. It would have been entertaining to see her go through some culture shock, but she doesn’t even bat an eye
I know tons of people loved this book and I’m definitely in the minority here. If you enjoyed this, please don’t take this personally, I wasn’t the right reader for this book, but that doesn’t mean other people shouldn’t enjoy it
Rating: 2/5 stars