The Game Of Love & Death Review -- Love Conquers All

Title: The Game Of Love & Death
Author: Martha Brockenbrough
Genre(s): Young Adult, Contemporary, Historical
Pages: 352
Release Date: April 28, 2015 | Arthur A. Levine
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Purchased | Amazon
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.
Mmmm.
I have very conflicted feelings about The Game Of Love & Death, so because I have alot to say but don't really now HOW to say it, I thought it would be cool to do a Likes VS Dislikes style review to better get my point across. 

For centuries, both Love and Death have changed the lives of everyone before us. From Romeo and Juliet, to Anthony and Cleopatra, historical figures and regular folk alike, have fallen victim to the game of love and death. The year is 1920, and the immortals have chosen their key players. Henry a courageous soul chosen by Love, and Flora full of hope but more so grief, chosen by Death. With their chess pieces in place, Love and Death hide away in the shadows until one fateful day brings their players together nearly 17 years later.

The end date is set, and the game of love and death is thrown into motion.

Life is a contemporary condition, Henry. And It's uncertain. That's why you have to seize chances when you find them. Pursue what you want. Take risks. Live, love . . . all of it. Every last one of us is going to die, but if we don't live as we truly want, if we're not with the one we want to be with, we're dead already. " - Ethan

Confession Part 1: What I Loved

The Concept - This is by far one of the dopest concepts for a story I've come across in a long ass time. I've read a thousand love stories, but none where the two main characters are PAWNS in a game between love and death. I also thought Martha completely stepped outside of the box by making love and death actual characters in the story. They were immortal of course, with abilities to shift into people, animals, etc, to better manipulate the game. The entire book is one big competition, if love wins the players live happily ever after in love, (as expected) but if death wins, she's allowed to claim the soul of her player. Kill people, she gets to kill them!

The Diversity - What sold me on this book was the fact that our heroine was African-American. I appreciated that I was finally able to read about someone of my ethnicity, especially since African-American characters aren't done too much in Young Adult. I absolutely love interracial relationships, and was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled across the aspect of homosexuality mixed into the story. Woot, woot to LGBT!

The Writing - The story is set in Seattle, Washington in the 1930's and boy does the writing compliment that very well! From the slang, to the jazz clubs and music, I didn't have a problem envisioning this time period as I read. The writing was so rich with culture, and was surprisingly fast paced. However, I do wish the writing were more descriptive with the actual surroundings. (world building)

The Characters - I'll probably surprise you when I say that while I enjoyed all of the characters, especially Flora, Henry, and Ethan, Death was my absolute favorite. I LOVED to hate this woman. She had such a fiery presence (literally) and although she was evil, vindictive, conniving, etc, I pitied her position to play the " bad guy " in every love story. Flora was strong, determined, and oh so stubborn. Henry was such a sweetheart and of course a hopeless romantic, and I was surprised to see that Ethan was as well. I adored Ethan and what his storyline represented. Oh and Love was . . . well what you'd expect from love if it was a person lol.


Confession Part 2: What Bothered Me

The Constant Interfering - To cut a long explanation short, Love and Death meddled way to damn much! I initially thought they would watch over the players from the shadows, but was excited to see them shift into people or animals to be able to play a hand in what was happening with the players at that particular time. I enjoyed that aspect in the beginning, but as the story progressed I began to become annoyed as I noticed Love, but mainly Death had sooo much control over the relationship between Flora and Henry. As humans we naturally have intuitions, but I felt because our immortals constantly dibbled and dabbled and interrupted at every chance, this took away from them making some decisions on their own. This didn't feel very genuine to me, and it gave me the nagging sense that our love birds were nothing more than cute little puppets.

The Relationship - As some of you know, I do not play when it comes to insta-love! A book would be DNF'd with the quickness, BUT it completely worked for this story! The problem I did have with Henry and Flora's relationship, was that because of Love and Death, it ended up being a bit undeveloped, choppy even. They didn't spend that much quality time getting to know each other, and when they did, a monkey wrench was thrown into the equation, causing Flora to close off a little. (done by the devil herself) I felt sort of underwhelmed by their love for each other, and by the time Flora realized she loved Henry, it was almost too damn late, but I won't spoil the fun for you guys.

3rd Person - I CAN NOT STAND 3RD PERSON PERSPECTIVE! Even though it gives you the opportunity to read from the different POV's without getting confused, it made it so hard for me to get into the story. I felt disconnected from not only the story itself but the characters as well. Ugh, can authors just do me a favor and stick to 1st person POV's please? lol.



If you're interested in picking up The Game Of Love And Death, I highly recommend it. Martha gives us such a unique take on a traditional love story, that it'll be almost impossible not to adore it! Don't let my 3 1/2 star rating fool you into thinking I didn't love this book, because I did. It was like nothing I've ever read before, the characters were well crafted, the story itself was a beauty, and the writing was incredibly rich with such a great flow. Seriously guys, this book is nothing short of a spectacular read!