The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough | Book Review

the game of love and deathBlurb: Antony and Cleopatra. Helen of Troy and Paris. Romeo and Juliet. And now… Henry and Flora.

For centuries Love and Death have chosen their players. They have set the rules, rolled the dice, and kept close, ready to influence, angling for supremacy. And Death has always won. Always.

Could there ever be one time, one place, one pair whose love would truly tip the balance?

Meet Flora Saudade, an African-American girl who dreams of becoming the next Amelia Earhart by day and sings in the smoky jazz clubs of Seattle by night. Meet Henry Bishop, born a few blocks and a million worlds away, a white boy with his future assured—a wealthy adoptive family in the midst of the Great Depression, a college scholarship, and all the opportunities in the world seemingly available to him.

The players have been chosen. The dice have been rolled. But when human beings make moves of their own, what happens next is anyone’s guess.

Thoughts: I honestly think this is one of my favorite books of the year. TGOLAD takes such a unique perspective of having Love and Death as narrators and it does it wonderfully. This book blends a lot of my favorite elements such as music, historical fiction, fantastic characters, a good plot, plus it’s set where I live which made it so cool to read and understand the location! I just loved this book and I think it’s a book everyone should read because it touches on some very intriguing topics.

The main issue presented in the story is that Henry is white and Flora is black. The time setting (1937) made this duo fight through the issue of racial segregation. I loved seeing how Flora and Henry’s lives intertwined and neither of them actually cared what each others skin color was, but they can’t be together because it was frowned upon during this time period. Despite what they go through due to their differences, this has to be one of the best love stories I’ve read in a while because the author’s writing style was so beautiful and she made Henry and Flora’s story feel real.

Being a musician myself, I high appreciated watching how music brought these two together because in real life, it does the exact same thing! Whether you play music or just listen to it, music brings people together and Brockenbrough showed that off in her novel by using jazz, which was very popular during this time.

The thing that I think I loved the most about this novel was the characters of Love and Death themselves. They both had an interesting back story to them and watching them manipulate and shape the Game in their favor was so cool. Whenever Henry, Ethan, Flora, or really anyone was in the presence of James or Helen, aka Love or Death, the author wove in metaphors about love and death for the respective character which I thought was so neat because it’s the other character’s subconscious knew that the guises were Love or Death, but their actual mind didn’t know. Out of all the characters, Death herself actually had the most development. She turned from cold-hearted Death who only fights so she can win the Game, to a character who cared deeply for both players and wanted Love to win for once.

“If life didn’t end…there would be no need for me. to choose love in the face of death is the ultimate act of courage. I am the joy, but you are the meaning. Together, we make humanity more than it otherwise might have been.”

This is a book you don’t want to know too much about before you go into to it, but I highly recommend it if you love music (especially jazz), historical fiction, or a unique plot and idea. Seriously, I loved this book.


5 thoughts on “The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough | Book Review

      1. For sure! I can’t imagine what The Book Thief would be like without Death as the narrator (even if he wasn’t an actual character). Keturah and Lord Death is another book I enjoyed as a teen with death as a character–just adds another layer to the story.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Did somebody say music? I’ve had my eye on this book but I wasn’t really motivated to give it a try. Good thing I stumbled upon your review or else I wouldn’t have changed my mind! This definitely sounds like my type of YA. Thanks for sharing your review!

    Liked by 1 person

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