The Game of Love + Death

Zoe N. | September 18, 2015 | Review

The Game of Love + Death

The Game of Love and Death

by Martha Brockenbrough

Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Romance
Published: April 28th 2015
by Scholastic

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Summary:

Antony & Cleopatra. Helen of Troy & Paris. Romeo & Juliet. And now...Henry & 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?

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.

Review:

Combine the well-researched historical settings of Elizabeth Wein, the stunning and unique narration of The Book Thief and the exquisite writing of Nova Ren Suma and you’ll be somewhere in the ballpark of what to expect of Martha Brockenbrough’s second novel. The Game of Love and Death is a whimsical love story with extremely clever personification and intelligent narration.

Someday, everyone you love will die. Everything you love will crumble to ruin. This is the price of life. This is the price of love. It is the only ending for every true story.

Love and Death have a deal. Every century, they choose two very special children. If, once the children turn teenagers, they fall in love, Love wins the game and the teens survive. If the teens fail to fall in love, Death wins and they die.

Antony and Cleopatra. Helen of Troy and Paris. Romeo and Juliet. Each time, Death has won. Now it’s Flora and Henry’s turn, and, this time, Love is determined to keep them alive.

Flora is an aspiring African-American pilot who dreams to follow in the footsteps of Amelia Earhart. Henry is a white boy living in the luxury of a well-to-do adoptive family. Their romance was where I was actually a bit ambivalent. I never truly felt the chemistry between them; I never saw what they saw in each other or completely understood why they liked each other so much.

The story’s strength is in the form of Love and Death.

Death is the finest teacher. The finest, and the most cruel.

Love and Death are two of the most complex and wonderfully written characters I’ve ever read about. They both have flaws and strengths, and they were written in such a realistic and intricate light. In fact, they’re written so well there are moments where it’s easy to forget they’re personified.

This is an exquisitely written story with an amazing and imaginative portrayal of Love and Death. While I wish the romance between Henry and Flora and the historical setting itself had a bit more development, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this.

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