January 26, 2015

The Ghosts of Heaven - Marcus Sedgwick

The Ghosts of Heaven book cover
The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: January 6, 2015
Source/Format: Publisher (Thanks!) || ARC
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the opinions in this review.]

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.

When faced with the task of reviewing a Marcus Sedgwick novel, I always find it impossible to put into words. A novel from him is an experience, one that resonates in a way unique to each reader. 

The Ghosts of Heaven is his latest release, a novel that is a story broken up into quarters - a girl who is fascinated by cave drawing, the hunt for witches, the experience of a doctor in an insane asylum, a man on a spaceship voyage. Each is set in a different time period, with a unique narrator and set of circumstances. What is it that ties everything together? Spirals, the shape that fascinates each of these narrators in different ways.

Each quarter of the novel contains a compelling story in its own right. Readers get the opportunity to know the characters fairly well during the time spent with them, and will feel for each one accordingly. But to me, what really makes The Ghosts of Heaven so interesting is how, by the end of each part, you're able to draw connections with the other sections. This, I feel, is part of Sedgwick's intent behind the story. The other part? Causing the reader to notice spirals, and to reflect on what they mean after all they've learned in these four stories.

The Ghosts of Heaven is, as most Sedgwick novels before it, not necessarily a novel for everyone. But if you're craving a novel that will inspire you to reflect on what you've read, or if you want to read a dark, haunting tale, this book may just be your cup of tea.


  1. I want to try another of his books -- I have had Midwinterblood on my pile for over a year. Now you have inspired me to get to it sooner!
    Jen @ YA Romantics

  2. I adored Midwinterblood by him, and I am so eager to get my hands on his other works. :)

  3. Great review, Alexa! I loved this book so much and am so excited to see people reading it :D

  4. Ah I'm so reading this one now! I've yet to read anything by Sedgwick but I love books that make me reflect on things so this sounds right up my alley! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Alexa! :)


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