Timeless, beautiful, and haunting, spirals connect the four episodes of this mesmerizing novel from Printz Award winner Marcus Sedgwick. They are there in prehistory, when a girl picks up a charred stick and makes the first written signs; there tens of centuries later, hiding in the treacherous waters of Golden Beck that take Anna, who people call a witch; there in the halls of a Long Island hospital at the beginning of the twentieth century, where a mad poet watches the oceans and knows the horrors it hides; and there in the far future, as an astronaut faces his destiny on the first spaceship sent from earth to colonize another world. Each of the characters in these mysterious linked stories embarks on a journey of discovery and survival; carried forward through the spiral of time, none will return to the same place.
First Sentence: Generations of stars lived and died.
I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
I knew I was going to request The Ghosts of Heaven the moment I saw its beautiful cover. I never thought that that particular shade of blue, orange, and pink purple would go so well together, but the cover surprised me. I also love the spiral staircase on the ocean, giving the cover a mysterious what-on-Earth-is-this feel. However, once I had The Ghosts of Heaven in my hands, I slowly started regretting it because what happens if it isn’t my type of book? I’ve never read any books by Marcus Sedgwick before and just judging The Ghosts of Heaven by the summary alone, I also knew that The Ghosts of Heaven is not the usual kind of book I like to read.
She is the one who goes on,
when others remain behind.
The one who walks into darkness,
when others cling to the light. (ARC 7)
The Ghosts of Heaven contains four stories focused around spirals. In the introduction, Marcus Sedgwick says that the stories can be read in any order, but I strongly recommend you guys to actually read the stories in the order it appears in the book because then, you can easily see how the stories connect with one another. I also feel like I should give you guys a warning: There is a lot of death in the book. I mean, duh Kelly, why didn’t you realize that there were a lot of death in the book, with the words “ghosts” and “heaven” in the title?
The first story focuses on a Native American women. It’s written in a poetry format, but can be read as if it is any other book. When I finished the first half of the story, I was a bit confused. I had a sense that the story was trying to tell me something, but at the same time, I didn’t know what the story was trying to teach me. By the end of the story, I was still confused about the moral of the story, but I was also sad at what had happened at the end. Did things have to end up that way?
For now, she held the silent boy tighter still, and wondered when she’d ever stop crying. (ARC 164)
I enjoyed the second story a lot more than the first one, but I suspected it wouldn’t end happily because of what the summary hinted at. As it turns out, I was right. All I have to say about the second story is this: Why are boys such jerks? Also, boys suck. Like seriously. The second story made me the angriest out all of all the other three stories – not anger at the story itself, but anger at the characters themselves.
The third and forth story was also pretty good and amazed me at with its depth. I don’t think I got the message of the third story, but I really enjoyed reading it nevertheless. It was the same case with the fourth story – I didn’t get the message of the story, especially the last three pages (although I have a theory about two of those three pages), but I enjoyed reading it nevertheless.
Overall, I definitely do recommend The Ghosts of Heaven; it’s definitely a book that will give you all different kinds of feels, ranging from happiness to why does this have to happen?! I would also definitely be checking out all his other books in the future.