First Lines: The figure in the fine gray suit materialized in the nursery and stood over the sleeping infant, inhaling the sweet, milky night air. He could have taken any form, really: a sparrow, a snowy owl, even a common housefly. Although he often traveled the world on wings, for this work he always preferred a human guise.
I got this book at a library used book sale years ago, fully intending to read this. Fated lovers, Love and Death as characters. It has the hallmark of something I would truly enjoy.
For centuries, Love and Death have chosen their players in their ultimate game of, well, love and death. (And death has always won.) Helen of Troy and Paris. Cleopatra and Antony. Now, it’s Henry and Flora. Flora is an African-American girl who dreams of being the next Amelia Earhart while she sings in her family’s jazz club. Henry, born only a few blocks away, is white and has a secure future ahead of him with a wealthy adoptive family in the middle of the Great Depression. What happens next, even Love and Death may not be able to predict.
What a downer. I’m not really sure what I was expecting from this book, but this wasn’t it.
I liked the idea of Love and Death fighting with each other–does love really conquer all? Especially since it kept tying back to those great historical loves. So the concept was pretty cool.
I just thought the execution wasn‘t there. It reminded me a lot of A Series of Unfortunate Events. In order to ask the question does love conquer all, you have to throw a bunch of really horrible things their way. But that’s all the story was. Bad Thing 1 happens and they just start to get their feet back under them when Bad Things 2 and 3 happen and so on.
That in and of itself might not have been so bad except that I could not connect to the characters. They felt rather emotionless. Their “passionate” love was anything but. Henry was probably the one who got the closest to that, but he was so love at first sight that it was like the writing didn’t need to go into the emotion. It all felt so cold and calculated that I struggled. A lot.
I did like the idea of turning Love and Death into characters who influence the story. That was an interesting twist that brought some actual emotion and interest to the story because Henry and Flora weren’t doing it for me.
I just found the story to be so slow. I couldn’t get into it, nothing happened, and the main loves don’t even really talk to each other until about 100 pages into a 325 page book. It was a slog for me. It took way longer than it should have.