Friday, January 23, 2015

'Ghosts of Heaven' by Marcus Sedgwick


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

This book is something you either like or don't like. It's a style of writing. Not everyone will like it. 
The spirals. You can love how the author mentions them, or you might get tired. 
You might like one story and not the next. It truly depends on the person. 

Whispers in the Dark

The curiosity of the character was different. She wanted to know the truth. She wanted to find out what the world was. Curiosity is the best and worst thing. You can be drawn in by the curiosity. I liked this girl. She had a past to her. She had shame, in a way. And she had inane creativity. Something hidden. Something deep within that yearned to be free. 
The setting was pretty interesting. You can be drawn in by her lifestyle, the lifestyle of her people. It could also turn you off. You might not like the pre-written history character. You might like it. Or you might not. I personally liked it. It shows a side to our past, as human beings, that not many write about. The most you get about pre-historic times comes from fantastical pieces or articles about bones be uncovered. It's an interesting lifestyle. Gathering. Hunting. You have to appreciate it, in a way, to enjoy this story. 
I disliked how the story is written. I have never been a big poetry fan. (Of reading not writing.) I don't know how to read it. How to analyze it. Poems are windows into the soul, like eyes, but they are read like stories. Poems are not stories. They can tell a story, but they aren't the same. It has always been hard for me to read poems. Truly. I've always had a hard time comprehending them. This poem was easier to read. But the way it was written...I felt like there was an underlying message I was missing. 
I didn't like the ending. It didn't seem to suit this girl. She should have gotten a better ending. A happier one. She didn't have to end that way. Such a horrible way to go... I pity her. This unnamed girl. She deserved to go out, guns blazing. But. Not everyone thinks that. 
You learn, as you read, that this book doesn't offer happy endings. 

The Witch in the Water

girl underwater woman dress swim wallpaper

The history. I was never a big fan of historical stories. To me, history is gone until you revive it. In writing or in art or in song. This story, though, caught my interest. The Salem witch trials are interesting. How could someone do this? Our ancestors, even. How do you take it? Can you imagine that you have that blood coursing through your veins? The blood of those who punished? You see the history become open. You see the truth. The painful truth. 
This story shows how dark humanity is. How cruel. It shows something else. Humanity is starvation, greed, and scorn. We are the people of now. And we are closer to the past, to the people of Then, than we think. We consider them monsters or masters. We are the same. We are the punishers and the punished. We torture and be tortured. Humanity is built on two sides of the coin. One 'bad'. The other 'good'. But which is which? 
I didn't like shortness. I wanted more. The character didn't get to tell the story I hoped for. I wanted Anna to run. For her to sink. For people to find the truth. There are many what ifs. (They are answered, later, in 'The Easiest Room in Hell'.) I wanted to have a witch hunt. A trial. This story could be a book on its own. 

The Easiest Room in Hell

Wow. This one has got to be my favorite. This story is truly amazing. I loved it. 
You get to see the older practices to cure insanity. The malaria. The punishments. It's fascinating. As a prospective student in psychology, I was fully interested. The why. The how. Why did they do it? What results showed conclusive results? How did they do it? How did they sleep at night knowing they were torturing poor men and women further down the spiral of insanity? It's always interesting to see what people thought would work back then. And even now. 
Secrets of the doctor narrator. He had many. Verity. His wife Caroline. And I felt like he too was falling into madness. Slowly, though. Very slowly. Hiding things is something not all characters do. Some are open. Some are shut. Some are windows. Others are doors. They hide things. Part of a secretive character's allure is their want to keep things secret. And there's a why behind it. Always. I wanted to know what exactly the doctor was hiding. And why? Because of selfish reasons? To make things look better in his life? To prevent embarrassment? It all depends. 
The ramblings of a madman. I didn't know why I liked the long and winded monologues Dexter seemed capable of. He would keep talking and talking. But the topics he discussed were fascinating. I got many great quotes from his conversations with the good doctor. The way he spoke. Ah. I wish people typically spoke that way. It was amazing to read. Fantastic. 
I didn't like how the story ended. I wanted to know more. I wanted another story. Or a whole book dedicated to this. To Dexter's past. To the doctor's future. It was intriguing. An intriguing premise. Setting. Characters. Wow. I am astounded by this story. 
I also wanted to get the narration from Dexter. Why? Because I wanted to see things from his eyes. How did he see spirals? Or the force from Solway? Or the good doctor? What did he see? What did he think? I thought it would be interesting to see things from his perspective. 

The Song of Destiny

I didn't like this one. It just didn't appeal to me. 
Sure. The descent to madness is quite interesting. You can enjoy that. He turned crazy. But slowly. And you see it. In the actions. The words. Wow. It was actually quite good how it was written. Confusion. And acknowledgement of the truth. Wow.
The story ending with the beginning of 'Whispers in the Dark'. It shows that the world is a cycle. Going around the cycle and starting all over again. I liked this. The world is a cycle. Around and around. I liked how this was added in. Showing things that have been done can be done again. It was nice how the author did it. Not too obvious. 
The two Bowmans is confusing. It's intriguing, though. Two of the same person. Not as in twins. As in something else. Dopplegangers. If you believe in those. It is confusing because of how it's written. Who killed who? What? I'm left with questions. And no answers. I would like to have it explained to me. Plainly. I can be quite daft at times. This is one of those times. How was it possible? I may never know. 

Sunny with a 20% chance of rain

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