The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbough

(Disclaimer: I have used the words Black, Foreign and African-American in this review, please do not be offended but leave a comment if you feel I should change it.)


Hey BookNerd’s! What’s going on?

How did I get this book? It was sent for review to me by Sophia at Scholastic, so thank you 🙂


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.


This book was confusing me at first and took me a while to process everything. I had to think of Love and Death as people with emotions other than them just being emotions. This reminded me of Death in The Book Thief, who has emotional attachment to Liesel. I had to think of them like this for the entire story otherwise I’d be confused over what’s happening.

Henry is quite a feeble character in many ways but definitely not in love, he wants to defy convention. A white boy and a black girl. A white boy who plays Jazz, the so called trash music that plagues your ears. Other than that he likes to stay under the radar, not poking his head out of his routine. Flora is a much more defiant and strong than Henry, with a determined personality. She goes through a lot in the story, and faces many hardships, more than Henry. Though I’ll leave the spoilers out.

The story is written well for it’s time period (the 30’s). It does go a bit into the historical side of things and describes events like the Hindenburg crash and social security of foreigners to America. It deals with murder and suicide as well in relation to Death in the Game. The writing isn’t choppy but it flows nicely and you can’t help but get hooked in. It also made me squeal at the twist and turns in the story so if you like twists and turns you’ll like this.

My fave quote:

And, there in the darkness, Love and Death and the ones inside of them danced until the song was done. And then, when all around was silent and still, they disappeared.

I would really recommend this book but I wasn’t fully invested so I give it 4/5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐/⭐⭐⭐⭐


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