The Ghosts of Heaven

The Ghosts of Heaven

The Ghosts of Heaven

by Marcus Sedgwick

Genre: YA Historical Fiction, YA Science-Fiction
Published: January 6th 2015
by Roaring Book Press




The spiral has existed as long as time has existed.

It's there when a girl walks through the forest, the moist green air clinging to her skin. There centuries later in a pleasant greendale, hiding the treacherous waters of Golden Beck that take Anna, who they call a witch. There on the other side of the world as a mad poet watches the waves and knows the horrors the hide, and far into the future as Keir Bowman realises his destiny.

Each takes their next step in life. None will ever go back to the same place. And so, their journeys begin...


Ever since I finished the last sentence of The Ghosts of Heaven, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. It’s been a week since I’ve finished it, and the thoughts are still going around and around in my head. My initial reaction upon finishing it was complete confusion, but after a week of reflection, I think I finally understand what Sedgwick was trying to convey with this story. And the message he is trying to send is both thought-provoking and enticingly brilliant.

This is not an easy read, emotionally or intellectually. It ponders quite a bit of thinking and is certainly a story that should not be read if you’re looking purely for entertainment. In a sense, this is a combination of four short stories: three set in the past and one set in the future.

Whispers in the Dark

Whispers in the Dark is the story of a young girl in prehistoric times as she creates the first known alphabet. Unfortunately for me, I think this was my least favorite story. By no means was it a bad story, but it was written in a style that just wasn’t up my alley: freelance poetry. While I appreciated the beautiful language and metaphors scattered throughout, it just didn’t click with me the way I wanted it to because of that style.

The Witch in the Water

The Witch in the Water is unforgettable, and I think it’s my second favorite story of the collection. It’s the story of a young girl named Anna, who lives in a small Puritan village – and what happens when she’s accused of witchcraft. The story is simple and not unlike what we read in history textbooks over and over again when studying the Salem Witch Trials, but its impact is as brilliant and profound as ever.

The Easiest Room in Hell

The Easiest Room in Hell is, to put it lightly, extremely strange – much like the overall book itself. Set in the early twentieth century, The Easiest Room in Hell follows a poet who volunteers to work at a mental asylum, and the conspiracies he unravels there. The atmosphere in this story is what truly stands out, however. The eerie asylum is as creepy as ever, and there will undoubtedly be chills going through your body as you witness this odd and sinister hospital.

The Song of Destiny

The Song of Destiny is easily my favorite of the four stories presented here. It ties up the stories and reveals the brilliant connection between them. Set in the future, it is the story of a man who has volunteered to be part of the first cross-space exploration as humanity prepares to colonize an Earthlike planet thousands of lightyears away; and how the mission goes terribly wrong.

Some of my favorite books are those that require reflection and a lot of thinking. The Ghosts of Heaven is exactly that, and if you want something sophisticated and genre-binding, look no farther. I know I loved it.


24 thoughts on “The Ghosts of Heaven

  1. Lovely review! I’ve been meaning to read this one — I even borrowed it from the library, but it was due back before I had a chance to read it. I’m a little hesitant about short stories, but as long as there’s a common thread and / or connects somehow, I think I would really like this one.

    1. I’m with you Kara. Sometimes short stories are a bit iffy, but if they have a common thread they’re definitely more enjoyable. 😉

  2. This sounds like a weird and yet wonderful book. I love complex books because even though they might be confusing at first, they stay with you, and when you have that “Ah-ha” moment long after you close the book, it’s the best bookish feeling. I also really love books that have separate stories that each weave together in some way. I want to write a book like that so badly. Ghosts of Heaven is now on my TBR.

  3. I am quite curious about this one. I’ve heard fairly good things. That’s awesome this one made you think though…even if it DID take a bit to figure out the overall “meaning” or “message” if you will.

    1. It took me a long time to get it, you know? I actually think that [spoiler]the main character from The Song of Destiny goes back in time and gives the girl from the cave writing tools actually[/spoiler].

  4. Surprisingly, I do really want to read this. The concept and settings of all the short stories all intrigue me, so gotta check if this is in the library. Also, I’m glad you found the connection! I’ve read other reviews saying they couldn’t find it, which led me to believe there wasn’t one, but yay there actually is one 🙂

    AWESOME REVIEW ZOE. AS USUAL. And look at you, on vacation. I hope you’re having a ton of fun haha

  5. Great review! I’ve been really looking forward to reading this book! And omg the cover <33 I'm totally in love with it! I love complex books and I'm glad you enjoyed this 🙂

    1. The cover is AMAZING, isn’t it? :heart_eyes: If you love complex books, this is definitely going to be right up your alley. 😉

  6. WELL, I AM NOW PREPARED TO HAVE MY MIND MENDED AND BLOWN. I love things like this – with so many stories that spiderweb together. I like seeing how they all tie up and what the end result is.

    This sounds awesome, Zoe!

    1. YES ALLIE! If you like stories that spiderweb together, this is definitely going to be right up your alley. I can’t wait to read your thoughts on it!

  7. THIS SOUNDS AMAZING. The three first stories come from three of the most interesting chapters of history, in my opinion, and I adore the idea of all the tales tying together. I’m so glad you loved this book – now I’m fully convinced it will blow my mind.

    1. It is Emily! 😀 And I completely agree – all 3 time periods are intriguing and unique in their own ways. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

  8. Great review. I’ve seen a few reviews for this and think the book sounds really interesting, but I don’t have much of a desire to read it. I don’t really know why I’m put off reading it, but I am. I’m glad you enjoyed it though and thanks for the great review 🙂

    1. Sometimes you just don’t feel a connection or a desire to read a certain book without knowing exactly why, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Thank you!

  9. Hmm.. to read or not to read, I haven’t read it yet </3 Too many books out now.. I do love the sound of the premise though. Beautiful review overall!

  10. I honestly want this one SO BAD. I heard so much about it and though people are like “it’s too smart for me” I want to think that I can handle it! Most people actually said that the last story was the most confusing but I loved that you said it was your fave <3

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