The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick

The Ghosts of Heaven, by Marcus Sedgwick • Published by Indigo •
★★★★★ • Goodreads • Purchased
Prior to The Ghosts of Heaven, I have read only two other books of Sedgwick's, namely Midwinterblood and White Crow. The two are enough to make him an author whose new works I would auto-buy. But from the reviews of his books, it would seem that readers either love or hate the stories and that there's barely any in-betweens. I obviously fall on the Love side of the spectrum!

There are apparently 24 ways to read the book because it has 4 quarters. Each one can stand by itself and as according to whichever order you decide to read them, the effects may be different. I read it like a regular book for this particular read and it's just as mind-blowing. I will attempt another read in a different order after I have washed the effects of this reading away to get another new perspective on it.

The different quarters of the book go from caveman-like era, to the witch-hunting century, to modern and futuristic societies. Each one circles around a different character but there are casual, subtle mentions of the other quarters' characters in each story. I love this most about Sedgwick's books. He has the ability to spin intricate, seemingly separate stories into one great, beautiful tapestry.

I can't really say which quarter I like best.

The first, dialogue-less quarter gave me a little headache because it was written in a poetic way, in freeverse possibly. And I'm not in a good relationship with poems. Therefore, it is easily the most confusing story for me, because I still do not understand what magic was going on in the cave.

The second quarter, I enjoyed a little more, though it had a tragic ending. I felt rather appalled and outraged at the treatment of Anna. Although the quarter ended, we get to see more of what happened after the end in another quarter's story, which is just like a surprise hidden between pages!

The third quarter is set in an asylum and it asks the deeper questions of life and I believe it is also in this quarter that I began understanding why the spiral is chosen as Charles Dexter explains to the Doctor. It is also the story with the most twists and some very human batshit insane things happen in this story too. Also appalling and outrageous, but the ending is soft. Great balancing between emotions!

The last quarter is in a futuristic setting and on a spaceship. Bowman is a Sentinel aboard the ship and there is something bizarre going on in the ship which he discovers when he is on duty. This quarter is also where all the mind-fucking happens. I could use gentler terms but I think mindfuckery fits this quarter extremely well. This is also probably the defining chapter that makes you love or hate the book!

The fun part of this book is that the chapter numbers in one of the quarter are part of a puzzle spiral too. There is also a page of gibberish-looking code at the end of the last quarter but I believe something is hidden in it? But I could be thinking too much. I shall explore more into that page soon.


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