Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Game of Death and Love by Martha Brockenbrough

The Game of Death and Love by Martha Brockenbrough
Release Date - April 28, 2015
Publisher Website - Scholastic
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 352 pages
My Rating - 4.5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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. 
The Game of Love and Death is a hard book to review. It's one of those books that require you going in completely blind without having anything taint that experience, and as such it becomes a hard book to talk about. A mesmerizing, beautifully written story about love, fate, the chances we take and the exquisite truth at the centre of every story that has ever been told.

There is something magical about the setting of this novel. The jazz clubs, the soaring feeling of taking flight, and the rush of falling in love. The lush descriptions of Seattle, and the harsh realities of Hoovervilles all showcase Martha's ability to create the atmosphere and tone of the novel through her words. There is a muted beauty to everything that reminds you of something that has been tarnished but was once truly stunning. A Depression era set novel that authentically captures both the hopefulness and realities of the time period.

Love and Death have been the heart of every iconic love story throughout history. A game long played between them where humans are pawns. The 'game' itself is captivating and fascinating. The impact of this 'game' on both Love and Death is surprisingly and achingly present. It's a tangible thing that resonates deeply as the story unfolds. The consequences for each of them were vastly different than I had anticipated and how they felt about their roles was just as surprising as the characters themselves.

There is a bittersweetness to this novel. This is a very human story and as a result it is entirely relateable. Life is uncertain. Living a full life for as long as you have it, grasping those moments, people and things that bring happiness to us are what makes it rich and meaningful. We may not have a say in how long we get in this life, but we do get a say in how deeply and fully we love. That's the message I took away from this novel. Love loudly, love well. It's what will matter at the end of your story. The fear holding you back is your greatest obstacle and it could be preventing you from experiencing something life altering.

There is a strong subplot about racism, homophobia, that are subtly swept into the storyline. There is a delicateness, and a sensitivity in the way that these topics are approached and woven in. It is simply part of these character's lives, instead of being the story. Instead of it being all that the characters are, it becomes something that is part of them along with many other things. I would have liked this aspect to be fleshed out more as this is where the author's talents truly shine.

This is a poetic, lushly written novel. One that is made all the better by it's characters and setting. Those who can believe in the magic of instantly needing to know someone will fall head over heels in love with this book. The writing, premise and the beauty held within these pages will leave you enchanted and spellbound. It's truly one not to be missed.

1 comment:

  1. You write such great reviews. Your passion for books makes me smile <3


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