Review of The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough

GameofLoveandDeathThe Game of Love and Death
By: Martha Brockenbrough
Release Date: April 2 2015
Publisher: Scholastic
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:

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.

Achingly romantic and brilliantly imagined, The Game of Love and Death is a love story you will never forget.

My Thoughts:
I was really excited about this book because I love seeing emotions personified. Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comes to mind first off when I think of Death or really any emotion as a being. The idea behind Death and Love having a game spanning decades with people as their game pieces? So much love for this idea!

For the most part I really enjoyed this book. It was a slower read for me and I took longer than usual (a couple weeks off and on) to read through it. I enjoyed reading it slowly and savoring it. The writing was really lovely and lyrical. Brockenbrough had a very smooth style that lent itself to this type of story very well.

I really enjoyed that this story focused on a time period I often don’t read about and took the subject of race and put it forefront without being heavy handed. I loved that we saw a few diverse characters and relationships. The idea of choosing someone society found to be ‘different’ and the struggle this would cause even doing things as simple as going out to eat really caused me to pause and think.

The characters were also likeable though I did run into a problem with the romance. I loved the idea behind it but for some reason I never really felt the chemistry between any of the characters. I liked them all, related and felt their struggles but I could never connect with them together and really feel their emotional attachment to one another. Honestly, this even went beyond the romance and even impacted the friendships for me. I went in excepting a love story that would have me swooning and I never had that.

This book was layered because we had the main characters- the pawns of the game you could say-and the otherworldly beings, Death and Love. You get point of views from them all and a chance to see behind Death and Love’s point of view. I found this to be interesting and possibly one of my favorite aspects. I will say that I never fully could grasp exactly why these two had this game they played. It made for a great story-line but I never felt like I totally got it if that makes sense?

Final Thoughts:
Overall a beautifully crafted and elegant book. I enjoyed the diversity of the characters and relationships though I never formed a real emotional connection.


  1. says

    I did not know this book existed until this very moment and now I feel a very strong need for this book. I love the idea of Death and Love being characters in a book but also that they’ve created a game that spans centuries!

    It’s a pity you couldn’t relate to the romance though! I get the feeling that ‘romance’ is vital to the story (given the blurb and the fact that Love is a character) but I am glad you still managed to enjoy the book!

    Gonna have to go add this to my TBR now…

    Lovely review, Kristen 🙂

  2. says

    Stunning review Kristen 😀 I’m so glad you liked this book a lot. The cover is so pretty. <3 But don't think I would like it :p But aw, I'm so sorry that you never felt anything for the romance 🙁 That is never a good sign. Sigh. But yay for the book having beauitful writing 🙂 But yeah. If I hadn't liked the romance, the rest of the book wouldn't be all that good either :p So sorry you were a bit disappointed :\ But glad you still liked the book. <3

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