If you have read David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, you will understand the whole mechanics of the book; that is the idea of the spiral continually twisting and curling and building copies of itself for generations. The spiral connects the protagonists of the four different quarters of the book in different ways, and it is up to the reader to discover the way in which it connects them to the other characters in the book, and what it means for them. For me, the spiral has infinite meanings, and I think that its ambiguity causes the beautiful mystery embodied in this fantastic read. Also similar to Mitchell's Cloud Atlas is the different sections with completely differing stories- all from contrasting periods of time, genres and ways of narration. What I found particularly striking was how I did not see any connection whatsoever between the different characters and their stories... until I had finished the book. That moment of realisation when everything begins to make sense is priceless, and the way that Sedgwick kept me waiting to slot all the ideas and themes together make this a truly remarkable read, from a truly remarkable writer.
I found myself getting lost in the stories, some of them from genres that I never thought I would enjoy, for example the last quarter that detailed Keir Bowman search for the truth, onboard the ship Song of Destiny. This is definitely sic-fi, a genre I would never associate myself with, but I found myself enjoying it immensely. The same goes for the first quarter of the book, which is written in poetic form, and the narrative style gave it the magic and mystery that Sedgwick was evidently trying to put across in its form.
As for my favourite segment, that's a really tough one. I'd have to say it's between The Witch in The Water and The Easiest Room in Hell. I found myself wishing these would both be books in their own right, as I wanted them to go on forever. I especially enjoyed how these two narratives in particular had the closest links in terms of the spiral, and I thought it brought the meaning of the book as a whole together.
Marcus points outs that you can read the quarters of the book in any way you want, however I lived up to my dull-as-ditchwater nature and just read the book in that order. However, I'd be very interested in hearing about what order you guys read it in, and how it affected your perception of the book.
Overall, this book was such a fresh and interesting read, and I'm so glad Orion sent it to me, as again it challenged me in terms of what kind of books I think I will enjoy, by allowing me to read a book which I probably wouldn't have picked up! (I tend to go for books that have a less-complicated nature, hehe). I gave this book 5*s because it thrilled me in terms of the complexity of its characters and intertwining plot lines, and Sedgwick's creativity in its creation.
If you would like to purchase The Ghosts of Heaven, you can do so here.
Check out my interview with Marcus Sedgwick here!
Read my last review of Sedgwick's, She Is Not Invisible here.
Read Marcus Sedgwick's takeover of my blog here
Until next time :)