The Ghosts of Heaven
Genre: Historical, Sci-Fi, YA
Publication date: January 6th 2015
by Macmillan Children's Books, Roaring Book Press
A bold, genre-bending epic that chronicles madness, obsession, and creation, from the Paleolithic era through the Witch Hunts and into the space-bound future.
Four linked stories boldly chronicle madness, obsession, and creation through the ages. Beginning with the cave-drawings of a young girl on the brink of creating the earliest form of writing, Sedgwick traverses history, plunging into the seventeenth century witch hunts and a 1920s insane asylum where a mad poet's obsession with spirals seems to be about to unhinge the world of the doctor trying to save him. Sedgwick moves beyond the boundaries of historical fiction and into the future in the book's final section, set upon a spaceship voyaging to settle another world for the first time. Merging Sedgwick's gift for suspense with science- and historical-fiction, Ghosts of Heaven is a tale is worthy of intense obsession.
-A copy was provided by Roaring Brook Press for review-
This is one of those books that I really have no clue how to review. The writing was beautiful and lyrical, and the stories were intriguing and kept me interested, but I feel like maybe I wasn’t smart enough for this book. Now, I’m not a stupid person (I don’t think anyways), but I just didn’t get it. I liked how we start way back in time with the first story, and progress through time and even into the future in the next three. I enjoyed seeing how each previous story tied into the next. I just didn’t quite get it all. I can’t really explain it. I understood what the spiral means and signifies, but how the stories were told had me scratching my head.
The first story in the book was told in verse, which is a bit harder for me to really get into. It was a bit disturbing to be honest. I am not quite sure in the time it was set, but they are back way before modern technology, but perhaps past the caveman era. There is much death and darkness in this particular story. The girl is quite intuitive and brave, but I was very disconnected by the verse way of telling this story.
The next I actually really enjoyed. The girl was very independent and refused to do things that she didn’t want. Even if it meant a better life. She cares a lot about her brother as well and it really was a huge part of the story. This takes place in a time where people hanged people they believed to be a witch. I loved how strong the girl was though. Even though she was scared and felt like an outcast, she was a really good character.
The third story didn’t suck me in quite as much, but I loved that it was set in a mental hospital. I did like the doctor, but I especially liked Charles. (At least I think that was his name) He was a very interesting character with many layers to uncover. It was undeniable that he did have some mental issues, but I don’t believe that he was really crazy. Although, some might think he was out of his tree. I really wanted to know his story. Especially how he ended up in there. I really liked that the doctor took the time to try to help him, while the others had written him off as a lost cause.
Now the last story had me a bit baffled. I thought it was all really cool with how they did the future thing, but I just didn’t get some of the things that happened. I mean, I had thoughts about it, but wasn’t sure exactly what was happening. It was really cool to think about these people being transported to a whole new planet that is similar to Earth to start new due to over population on Earth. I was fascinated by how they were being transported and how everything was controlled. It was a very neat story, but a lot of it was much over my level of understanding I think.
Overall this was a very well written book. It is easy to get immersed and want to keep going, but at the same time I also was feeling totally lost like I was missing something. Everything was so suggestive and thought provoking, though I don’t think I was able to get that deep into my brain to have full understanding. I can’t say that I have ever felt stupid after reading a book until now. It’s like it was so beyond my comprehension that it made me feel like was 5 reading something meant for the smartest adult. I can appreciate the beauty of it, but I really just didn’t get a lot of it. I did enjoy it, I just don’t quite know what to think.
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