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The Game of Love and Death by Martha…

The Game of Love and Death

by Martha Brockenbrough

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I don't even know where to begin with this book. It was so beautifully written and lovely and I never wanted it to end, but when it did, almost everything was tied up in a nice pretty bow!

This book is perfect for fans of the Night Circus and to me, was actually more enjoyable. There wasn't a need for a lot of background on Love or Death unlike in the Night Circus when to understand the game and the characters, you needed to know what had happened before.

Also the characters are just very interesting and the dynamic between all of them and how they relate to each other. I loved that it was set in the 30's and featured a white and black character and helped used the idea of race during the time in the plot of the game.

Overall it was a very interesting book that focused more on what love and death mean to each other and how that effects people rather than the love story of Henry and Flora. It was just a very sweet love story that wasn't too sappy or unbelievable and is a nice break from the typical YA story. ( )
  IntrovertedBooks | Mar 26, 2018 |
My review for The Nervous Breakdown initially run 1/7/16: http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com/tnbfiction/2016/01/tnb-book-review-the-game-o... ( )
  kurtbaumeister | Oct 24, 2017 |
What a beautifully sensitive and touching book. ( )
  eaduncan | Sep 14, 2017 |

Seriously, I think I am in love with it? It’s so flowy and eloquent and the LOVE is beautiful and the DEATH is horrible and seriously Martha Brockenbrough knows her stuff – I’d like more books please. The characters are all REALLY well done. I thought Death was the most sabotaging, frustrating soul, but all characters are well written. Her word choice was gorgeous and I wanted to swoon because even if you don’t like fantasy or love stories you have to read this book just for THE WORDS. It’s so lovely, really, I’m entirely grateful to have read it.

Brockenbrough has a way of eliciting really raw emotions that will tug your heartstrings or ENRAGE YOU TO THE CORE. The story, set in the 1930s, tells the tale of a white boy and a black girl. They’re both hard workers. Henry is driven by his emotions. Flora is driven by rationality. One has been backed by Love, the other by Death. It’s a game to them (thus the title) like Romeo and Juliet or Helen and Paris. Death always wins. The conflict here is not a battle of families or of grecian warships – it’s to choose courage when all the world is against them.

And all the world is against them. Because the 30s were a time of racial turbulence, there’s about 5 people in their entire city that can accept their relationship. Most the city can’t even accept the fact they play music together. While the reactions and the HORRIBLE racism present in this book is likely accurate for the era, IT MADE ME SO MAD.

Please don’t misunderstand. This book is not written in a racist way. It’s written – I thought – with incredible sensitivity. But there are characters who behave deplorably.

And if that wasn’t enough, Death just keeps making a mess of things for each of them.


I really, really, really liked Henry and Flora. Ethan was wonderful as well, and his subplot of accepting his homosexuality. A lot of it was subtly written – just seeing the characters for who they are rather than shining a spotlight on their sexuality. It was beautifully done.

You really can’t help but root for Henry. He’s so sweet and sacrificing, but in a pure way? Not too sugary, not selfish at all. He has always had the courage to know who he is and what he likes, but he does it in a soft, likable way.


It’s difficult to explain, but I’m going to try. The Game of Love and Death? The title feels really impersonal. Since the book felt incredibly intimate, the title feels awkward on top of that. While the underlying story was about Love and Death and who is stronger and more enduring, I really think that Henry and Flora stole the show. I don’t have a better title suggestion, but “The Game of Love and Death” sort of makes me twitch a little.

This review and more like it can be found on The Literary Phoenix. ( )
  Morteana | Sep 10, 2017 |
Who would have known that the chemistry between Love and Death could be so steamy?

Set in the 1930s the story takes us back about 17 years before to the recent births of the players Love and Death have chosen to play their little game. The stakes are the same as always if Death wins she claims both the players and who knows what would happen if Love won because he never has before. Death has chosen Flora an black baby girl whose parents were killed in an automobile accident destined for tragedy for the rest of her life. Love on the other hand has chosen Henry a boy whose life would be surrounded by sadness but he would have the ability to fill the void with love at any cost. Now older and ready for the game, Love sets the ball rolling for the game to commence and hopefully for Flora and Henry to find love for each other.

I loved everyone. My favorite person by far was Death. She knew what she wanted and took what was hers no questions asked. I love a good villain and yet she didn't come across as one either...at least to me. The way she played the game was brilliant even though Love had some unexpected moves (turning into someone Henry's best friend Ethan would fall in love with so he wouldn't be an obstacle for Flora and Henry *genius*) she still found a way to turn things her way. And HENRY oh my goodness I never use the term book boyfriend but if Flora didn't want him I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE.

I LOVE love and this book was just the one for me honestly. It was brilliant. ( )
  Jessika.C | May 1, 2017 |
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The figure in the fine gray suit materialized in the nursery and stood over the sleeping infant, inhaling the sweet, milky night air.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0545668344, Hardcover)

Not since THE BOOK THIEF has the character of Death played such an original and affecting part in a book for young people.

Flora and Henry were born a few blocks from each other, innocent of the forces that might keep a white boy and an African American girl apart; years later they meet again and their mutual love of music sparks an even more powerful connection. But what Flora and Henry don't know is that they are pawns in a game played by the eternal adversaries Love and Death, here brilliantly reimagined as two extremely sympathetic and fascinating characters. Can their hearts and their wills overcome not only their earthly circumstances, but forces that have battled throughout history? In the rainy Seattle of the 1920's, romance blooms among the jazz clubs, the mansions of the wealthy, and the shanty towns of the poor. But what is more powerful: love? Or death?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:08 -0400)

In Seattle in 1937 two seventeen-year-olds, Henry, who is white, and Flora, who is African-American, become the unwitting pawns in a game played by two immortal figures, Love and Death, where they must choose each other at the end, or one of them will die.… (more)

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