Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for sixty-two years when she is woken by a kiss.
Locked away in the chemically induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten sub-basement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now her parents and her first love are long dead, and Rose -- hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire -- is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat.
Desperate to put the past behind her and adapt to her new world, Rose finds herself drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, hoping that he can help her to start fresh. But when a deadly danger jeopardizes her fragile new existance, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes -- or be left without any future at all.
As Walt Whitman said, "I am large, I contain multitudes!" The epigraph of every writer, really.
I was conceived in northern Alaska, and was born to a bohemian veterinarian mother in a hospital on the shores of Lake Michigan. I endured numerous hellish years of school, and I can say with reasonable veracity that I have forgiven all my teachers and even the poor children who had to figure out how to deal with me.
Instead of a social life, I swam in books. I became a devoted follower of Diana Wynne Jones and Douglas Adams. I studied acting and Shakespeare with the Young Shakespeare Players of Madison, Wisconsin, and it deeply impacted my direction in life. I then discovered historical re-enactment, where I hung about in velvet, idly strumming a harp while men in plastic armor hit each other with sticks. That too was most enlightening.
Despite collecting a technical degree in commercial goldsmithing, I instead pursued writing as my primary means of unemployment. I moved with my family to a tiny ranch in rural Oregon, where I still live with my daughter, my mother, and assorted Irish Wolfhounds.
3.5 out of 5 stars It's rare that I spend so much time frustrated with a heroine and then have such a complete change of heart as the story progresses. I went through literally the first half of this book annoyed with Rosalinda Fitzroy, a sixteen-year-old girl who has just been awakened out of stasis sleep with a kiss. She doesn't really ask enough questions to find out what's been happening since she was last conscious. She falls in love far too easily. She narrates with too many exclamation points. She says that "she's not really that smart." She says that again to someone else at a later date. Frankly, all in all she's kind of wimpy, and as such, she almost got categorized that way on my virtual GoodReads bookshelf.
But then I found out why she does all this. And the reason behind it is really, really sad.
The story also seems to take off at that point, as Rose discovers the terrible truth behind her chemically-induced slumber and realizes that she not only has to stay awake, but she also has to live. This futuristic retelling of Sleeping Beauty would, on the surface, seem like it would be just another boy-awakens-pretty-girl-slays-dragons-and-lives-happily-ever-after tale, but that's not the case. Instead, it's actually a very interesting science fiction story about a girl who finally finds out who she is and starts to figure out who she wants to be.
Along the way, Rose deals with a complications including Bren, the attractive boy who awakened her from her sleep; her grief over the loss of her dead parents and her long-lost boyfriend Xavier; her stalled attempts to study art; her memories of her childhood ally, Asa; and her friendship with an unusually appealing, lonely alien named Otto. There's also a really cool killing thing that is chasing her for unknown reasons, the details of which I won't spoil, but whose every appearance made me sit up and do a happy little wriggle in my seat. I also really enjoyed the cool stasis technology and the action sequences that show up towards the end, all of which were very well written and well thought out.
I do wish, however, that some of the dialogue wasn't so clunky in parts, that there was more showing and less telling, that some of the world-building was a little more complex, and that some of the names weren't quite so cutesy. (Unicorn Estates, really?) It would also help if it didn't take us quite so long to get to the point where we understood why Rose's character took the shape it did. However understandable the big picture, it's hard to feel sympathy in the moment for a character who decides to go away for two weeks and opens up a bag of dog food on its side for her pet, saying that she knows he'll be able to drink out of the toilet. All because she's depressed over a boy. Not cool, Rose! Not cool at all.
In the end, however, the story won me over with a very original concept, some really cool futuristic technology, some fairly bittersweet emotions later in the story, and best of all, the promise of a heroine who is just developing into a pretty interesting individual. The author pulled off a neat trick with her risky gamble in presenting the story the way she did, and I enjoyed the last half of the book enough to be curious about whatever she chooses to write next.
This review also appears in The Midnight Garden. An advance copy was provided by the publisher.
Remember how I keep moaning about the complete lack of quality in young adult literature these days? Remember how I'm scared the Twihards are going to wipe out every sign of feminism from our society? Remember how I'm scared I might one day wake up in hell, with Torment as the soundtrack?
Yeah, you can forget all about that now.
Anna Sheehan has restored my faith in debut YA authors. She has proven that you can write a brilliant, innovative, moving first book without a hint of cutting-and-pasting or subtle plagiarism. She has proven that young adult fiction is not restricted to shiny vampires, effeminate werewolves or homicidal fallen angels. She has proven that if you just have faith, you'll eventually get a galley of a hidden gem.
I get a thrill saying the words YA sci-fi. I've been reading so many YA PNRs, I've forgotten the other genres exist. But A Long, Long Sleep has reminded me that it's time to shut shop on those tired old tropes and boldly go where no (wo)man has gone before!
If you're thinking, oh this is just another variant of Sleeping Beauty with R2-D2 in the background, well, you would be very, very mistaken. But perhaps justifiably so, because that awful blurb gives no hint of the WIN that is this book! This book reminds me of Unearthly a bit: terrible blurbs, a story that turns the conventions on their heads and a cover that is sort of pretty but in no way gripping.
Anna Sheehan tells a beautiful story. A Long Long Sleep opens with Rosalinda Fitzroy awakening from 62 years of stasis, a sixteen year old in mind and body, frozen in time until she is found in a forgotten subbasement by her teenage savior. She is lost, bewildered and alone - everyone she has ever known is now dead and gone, including the boy who was her first love. Xavier. Rose struggles to come to terms with this new world, and with the knowledge of her sudden inheritance of an interplanetary business empire, but even as she struggles to keep her head above the water, there is a more deadly threat stalking her.
Sheehan draws the character of Rose with a subtle and sympathetic hand. I could almost envision Rose in this new world, so very, very alone. Her quietness and her passivity should have annoyed me, but somehow, it didn't. I liked how there was an actual explanation for her inability to stand up for herself, and how she eventually overcomes it.
I LOVED the romance angles in this book. It's what made it really stand out for me. Sheehan writes the scenes between Rose and Xavier with a vivid hand that brings them to life. If there was a certain 'ick' factor to their relationship, well, I could deal with it and move on, and I'm pretty sure it won't be a sticking point for too many people. Same with Bren. I love that he didn't fall at her feet, that he was such a normal, teenage boy instead of a seventeen year-old god, that they forged a friendship despite all the emotional obstacles in their way. I was getting a little antsy about the yoyo-ing between Xavier and Bren, but then, as if she had read my mind, Sheehan even managed to smooth that over! A little ickily, but I totally get it! I love that this book wasn't a boy-meets-girl story at all, but a much more nuanced tale. And I love Rose's relationship with Otto, that sympathetic understanding and connection that flourishes between them from the word go. This book is full of people that I would like to be friends with, and that's the biggest compliment I can give to a work of fiction!
The sci-fi elements of this book were well thought-out, but not unnecessarily complicated. There are a number of social, especially environmental, issues Sheehan inserts into the story, but without sounding like a crusader. Gotta admire that! But at the bottom of it all, this is a story of betrayal and abandonment, of love and loss, and the power of believing in one's self. So you don't have to be a fan of sci-fi to enjoy this book; as long as you like strong, positive, realistic writing, this book is for you!
[NOTE: I received this book from the publishers via Net Galley. However, no considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced this review.]
Do you remember The Host by Stephenie Meyer which was released with a tag line Science Fiction for those who don’t like Science Fiction (and I might add, written by a person who has no clue what science fiction is)? This tag line would suit A Long, Long Sleep just fine. (I guess the cover should have been a giveaway?)
Unfortunately, I happen to like sci-fi and have read a few sci-fi standouts recently. What Anna Sheehan offers as sci-fi elements in her novel just doesn't cut it. You can't come up with 3 types of new gadgets (a bendy iPad, a cell phone that you carry around your neck and a flying car), point out there is a new futuristic slang that makes the speech of people of future un-understandable but again, consists of 3 phrases ("I comm," "that's sky," "noid"), add in one blue mutant who speaks telepathically and consider your futuristic setting complete. I have seen more world-building in Paolo Bacigalupi's or Ursula K. Le Guin's 15-page short stories than in this 350-page novel.
I won't totally dismiss this book however. I enjoyed the first 150 pages or so very much. The premise is neat. Rosalinda is awoken from her stasis sleep with a kiss (sort of). It turns out she's been under for the last 62 years. Everyone she loved is now dead. She is alone and surrounded by people she neither knows nor trusts. And she is a sole heir to a huge interplanetary company that, she later finds out, is involved in shady dealings with genetic experiments on people and alien organisms. Things get even more complicated when something is sent to assassinate Rose.
I was quite intrigued by this story in the beginning. I wanted to know more about Rose and why she had been asleep for so long, about what she would do about her company and who wanted her killed. But then instead of becoming a heart-stopping futuristic adventure tackling the problems of this new unfair futuristic world, the story started to sag under the weight of endless boring conversations, Rose's moping about, sappy reminiscing of the past weird(ish) love affair and slight obsessing over the new hunky crush. I lost interest very quickly and started skim-reading. There were still some interesting plot twists and turns in the end, but I was pretty much over it.
So, is it worth reading? Maybe, if what you are interested in is an YA chick lit novel with some soft sci-fi elements and have no strong attachment to the genre of science fiction.
I am sure sequels will follow.
P.S. I am guessing publishers are gearing up to flood YA market with crappy sci-fi in the next few months? Paranormal, zombies, dystopian, now sci-fi. What's next?
This ARC was provided to me by Candlewick Press for the express purpose of reviewing. I wasn't paid for this review.
Although, you know... if you WANT To pay me, guys, I wouldn't complain or anything...
[image error] Cause if someone doesn't start, I'm going to have to look at moving to California...
Anyway, my GR Super Friend Against Evil, Tatiana, reviewed this book and gave it two stars. Usually, Tatiana and I tend to agree on books so I wasn't expecting much.
And to be honest, if you're anticipating an action-packed sci-fi with a million cool gadgets, cyborg antagonists and laserbeams attached the heads of sharks, then you're going to be seriously disappointed.
Sheehan's novel isn't about the Scifi so much as scifi is the platform she uses to address a far more SERIOUS issue than how many Starfleet officers it takes to change a lightbulb. Instead, her novel is about child abuse and in this regard she has done a brilliant job.
And not the child abuse to common to public awareness either, like the kind of child abuse that has children removed from their parent's care. This is emotional child abuse. It is insidious, difficult to prove and invisible to most of society. Most children hide their abuse from others in order to protect their parents and usually only come to accept that they're abused much later when it is far too late to help them do anything but pick up the pieces.
So the world building of the novel is not well-visioned or executed but I consider this to be periphery to the actual point of the novel which is how changing technologies are exposing children to different and new forms of dangers.
[image error] Like Cyborg babysitters... Though that would open new movie options for remakes like, "Don't Tell Mum The Cyborg's Gone Berserk On A Killing Spree!
Rose, initially, infuriated me as a character. Weak, with no self-esteem and discernible personality, I soon softened as I witnessed her journey. It was a journey that I felt was strongly reminiscent of a victim recognizing their abuse, placing the proper blame on their abusers and restarting their lives. A process that is much more difficult than most people would realize and I felt that Sheehan's portrayal of these steps, and Rose's struggle with them was both touching and realistic.
Most of the secondary characters were well-built, though not entirely perfect. I understood Sheehan's reasons for romanticizing certain characters but felt it was superfluous to the friendships and personal-growth that Rose was already struggling with.
There is some action in this novel and I felt the ending was extremely satisfying, keeping intone with the spirit and themes of the story.
Over all, I really enjoyed this book. It almost brought me to tears twice. Which, you know, is a shame I didn't actually cry since my tears are more valuable and magical than unicorn tears.
Usually when I intend to review a book, I choose to wait a while, gather my thoughts, decide how I really feel and then start writing. Rose’s story was overwhelming and I need to review it right away or I'll never sleep again. Somewhere around 70%, I fell in love with this book. Not that I didn’t like it before, I was pretty much drawn to the story from the very beginning, but that was when I decided that Anna Sheehan is a very, very good writer.
I think you all know the story by now. Rosalinda Fitzroy wakes up in a stasis tube in which her parents placed her 62 years ago. She is the sole surviving heiress to an interplanetary empire, a princess really, but that doesn't provide much comfort when everyone she ever knew, including her wonderful boyfriend Xavier, is dead. A few decades ago, during the Dark Times, the population was decimated by a plague indirectly caused by her father. The technology has advanced while she's been stassed, and everything else has moved forward as well, but Rose is still a just a frightened 16-year-old girl.
I’m sure hardcore sci-fi fans would find a million things wrong with Sheehan’s world, but I thought it was compelling and new. She gave us just enough information to provide a solid background and make everything function in a satisfactory way without including unnecessary details. She was able to focus on what I consider to be more important: her characters.
Rose is a very flawed character, especially at first. If you somehow manage to get past all the substantial but excusable character flaws, some of her actions will probably still drive you insane. Who leaves a dog alone for two weeks with an open bag of food “knowing that he can drink water from the toilet”? Most of her choices were maddening and she was infuriatingly selfish, but then she got close to Otto, a genetically engeneered, blue-skinned half alien, and my feelings for her changed. She obviously wasn’t too self-absorbed to recognize in him the need for understanding and acceptance and to give him that and more. In fact, all the problems I had with the first half of the book were successfully resolved in the second half. Instalove – properly explained. Rose’s self-deprecating attitude – justified.
At the risk of sounding prejudiced, I have to admit that the ending creeped me out a tiny bit. Up until the last few pages, I was pretty sure that my rating would be 4.5-stars, rounded up. But I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the way Sheehan decided to end some things, even though I should probably rise above my small-mindedness and accept it. It's probably me, not her. :D
I have a question for those of you who’ve read the story: am I the only one who kept picturing Arnold Schwarzenegger as Plastine?! He was very Terminator-like!
And finally, favorite quote, uttered by Otto in the middle of a very serious situation: Thank every god ever invented.
First of all, I’m going to dispense with any expectation to categorically label this novel, beyond the fact that it’s a work of fiction marketed to young adults. I dislike terms like “soft sci-fi” or “sci-fi for people who don’t like sci-fi”. (And what does that even mean, hmm, Ms Meyer? To me, that makes as much as sense as, “here’s a romance for people who don’t like romance”. Er, okay. It’s probably not a romance then.) My point being, despite the setting and the role science plays in the book, I’m not going to speak to those points, but rather to the book as it stands simply as a story.
[*Phew*. Moving on…]
A Long, Long Sleep is Anna Sheehan’s loose reimagining of Sleeping Beauty, this time set far into the future. However, while there are some parallels thematically and in terms of the main characters, Sheehan’s version incorporates some interesting twists on the fairytale formula.
The further I read, the more I realised that this was one of my favourite things about this book. The usual YA suspects were present and accounted for: the melancholic heroine, the familial discord, the handsome object of instant affection, a thwarted love. Yet Sheehan almost uses these devices against themselves – flipping the reader’s expectations and providing a sound context for the inclusion of these seemingly familiar tropes. Rather than going directly down the obvious path of ‘boy plus girl plus instalove divided by obstacles multiplied by drama equals angst’, Sheehan’s take diverges from the norm, offering a more thoughtful, complex story.
Likewise, Sheehan’s characters and their motivations (though often not revealed until late in the story) are reasoned and interesting. The cast is diverse, and I appreciated the fact that this felt effortless and natural to the world, rather than tokenistic or consciously deliberate.
While I can understand why some readers would not particularly care for Rose as a protagonist, or would find her frustrating, personally, I felt a kind of affinity for her. Her deeply entrenched feelings of low self-worth and the way she absorbed, even expected, constant rejection, really struck me and I found her situation terribly sad. In some scenes, it was only a line or dialogue, or a brief description of her demeanour, but it resonated with me. I felt for her, I believed that she was damaged and broken. I enjoyed the way Sheehan developed Rose, breaking down her flawed thought patterns to reveal a much stronger person beneath.
Ultimately though, it was the way that Rose began to choose to act, both for herself and in behalf of others, that revealed her growth. In the end, she felt like a character who had agency, rather than merely a limp cut-out, buffeted by evil plot devices. In all honesty, Rose’s journey had me all choked up and teary at one or two points.
Far and away, though, my favourite character was Otto, and by extension his scenes with Rose were the highlight for me. The interactions between these two characters were beautifully written, and quite touching. Their “conversations” and the way their friendship unfolded spoke of actual connection and mutual concern, that gave these portions of the story a depth I wasn’t expecting.
This is not to say that the novel as a whole lacks substance. In fact, I’d say the opposite, that I was surprised by the emotion and weight it had.
On the subject of surprises, Sheehan has crafted a plot that packs a clever twist or two. The story itself is not driven by a highly complex or convoluted plot, and it does rely to an extent on the reader’s investment in Rose and her situation (so the pacing may be off for those who aren’t feeling the connection), but the climax delivers some artful and unexpected turns. I have to admire the skill at work here, in creating a tight story that also speaks insightfully about personal value, the (ab)use of wealth and power, cruelty, what it means to be free and self-determined.
While the world building and science may prove a sticking point for some, I found A Long, Long Sleep to be a compelling story with substance. I very much enjoyed Anna Sheehan’s writing, and will definitely read her further work.
I’m not big on Science-Fiction. I have read and watched my share of Science-Fiction books and movies but I don’t really know all that much about this particular genre and as long as I can somewhat relate to the fictive world I am presented with and don’t think it’s utterly stupid, I am happy. This is Science-Fiction, right? Not dystopian? Sorry, I am a little fuzzy on the difference between the two. In the present case I thought that the post-apocalyptic world wasn’t very well elaborated. I mean, there was mention of a few other planets in our solar system which are inhabited by humans, some fancy new gadgets like the limoskiffs, some life forms that are a cross between human and alien DNA but that was about it. Sheehan only gave us a rough outline, just some key points so that the reader would be aware of the fact that the story’s set in the future but other than that there weren’t many futuristic elements and the existing ones weren’t really elaborated on any further. I don’t know if I’m expressing myself properly here...I’m just trying to say that I felt like the world the story’s set in wasn’t really that well explained and didn't really feel any different from the world we are living in right now. For some people that might be no problem at all and others might be bothered by it. Luckily, I belong to the former.
What I really liked about this one was the romance. After I had read the blurb I kind of expected the story to go like this: Boy (who is an absolute hottie of course) awakens girl with a kiss, they feel an instant connection and after some back and forth they declare their undying love for each other and yada yada yada but to my surprise it didn’t go like that at all.
The flashbacks nearly broke my heart and made the story really special to me. It doesn’t happen too often but in this case I actually had to put the book away every now and then because the dramatic of Xavier’s and Rose’s love story caused me physical pain.
I also thought the plot was pretty complex, it kept me entertained and curious and there were some pretty good twist and turns which left me with my mouth hanging open. I just love that. I love it when a story shocks me like that.
I especially loved the last third of the book because it held the biggest shockers and I thought the ending was perfect. Not a happy-pappy-oh-everything’s-so-great-now-ending and not a cliffhanger either. Just a suitable ending for this story.
Very well done!
Thanks to Candlewick Press and netGalley for providing me with this ARC.
I will warn anyone interested right now that I love and dislike this book in fairly equal measure. I began fearful that the book would not surpass a 2 star rating but the story did improve. I will also point out that this book is an anomaly as it is the only one on my i-cried shelf which I have not rated 5 stars. I tend to love books that can wring intense emotion from me and though this book did so, my issues with other parts of the book are too many and severe to ignore or warrant 5 stars.
I prefer to get the negatives out of the way. First and foremost, I barely consider this science fiction. I do not feel comfortable including it on my sci-fi shelf but I have, barely. The author made some poor choices in world building, at least as far as the world building exists. The slang used by the characters is incredibly forced, did nothing but annoy me, and was too sparse. There were three words. That's it. Second, for a book to have a futuristic feel, an author should not constantly refer to pieces of history, literature, styles, or anything that reminds the reader of their current time or recent past. This story felt as though it were set in our very near future, say 20 years from now, but I think the author wanted the reader to feel as though a great deal of Earth's time had past. Third, I did not like the protagonist throughout the majority of the book. She fell flat with me and I found many of her actions and thoughts difficult to believe or understand. This would normaly completely kill any hope of me enjoying a book but I felt better about Rose towards the end and I did like her interactions with some of the other characters, particularly Otto. Yet even those conversations were nearly too young-adult for me, as in filled with overly simple dialogue and idealistic comments.
I think some positives are due now. First, I love that the author used the story of Briar Rose, or Sleeping Beauty, as groundwork for her own story. I know this has been done before but it worked well with the whole idea of stasis and what Rose went through. Second, though I did not particularly like Rose, I felt immense sympathy for her. This is the part which made me cry. What happens to her and what she discovers toward the end of the book were heartbreaking. I obviously knew something would happen but I did not quite expect it. Third, there was little action yet the action scenes present were well written and adrenaline inducing.
So, the ending was wrapped a little too nicely but there is no cliffhanger. This book can be read as a stand alone but I am guessing that the author plans on continuing the series. I recommend this for people who do not like sci-fi (since this is not sci-fi in the true sense of the word), people who like easy to read and sad young adult fiction, and, I guess, mainly young adults. The book will probably do well in that demographic and I am happy for that.
I am thankful to the publishers of this book for lending me a copy through NetGalley. I do hope Sheehan continues with another book, making this one the start of a series I would like to read more of.
Rosalinda Fitzroy is the daughter of the most powerful parents in the world. Her mother, a beauty and high society darling, and her father, the CEO of international conglomerate UniCorp, both adore and dote on their obedient, darling little princess. So, when Rose finds herself being awakened by a boy (via mouth to mouth resuscitation, hardly a real Prince Charming kiss), not her usual motherly wakeup with a champagne luncheon, she is terrified and disoriented. Rose learns that she has been in stasis for sixty-four years, and during her long sleep the world has ended and been reborn again. Everyone that Rose has ever known is dead, including her parents and her boyfriend, Xavier. Thrust into a world in which she is an utter outcast, though she is an heiress to an immense fortune (much to the frustration of UniCorp executives and stakeholders), Rose is a stranger in a strange land. Her peers at school avoid her and treat her like a ghost – all except Bren, the boy who found Rose to begin with, and Otto, an alien-human Unicorp genetic experiment who is even more of an outsider than Rose. As Rose struggles to assimilate to her new surroundings, memories and long-dormant, half-forgotten truths begin to surface. Someone is out to hurt her, and she must be able to come to terms with her dark, troubled past in order to survive.
At first glance, A Long Long Sleep seems, and sounds, vaguely familiar. Certainly there are similarities to a slew of soft, so-called SF titles on the young adult market – Beth Revis’s underwhelming Across the Universe immediately comes to mind. BUT A Long Long Sleep has what these other novels do not; namely, characters, patience, and heart. To put it simply: A Long Long Sleep broke my heart. I am not an emotional person, dear readers, so it is a huge thing when I feel truly moved by a book on an emotional level. I loved this book with its myriad complications, messy human emotions, and fragile relationships cast asunder by the ravages of time. Ms. Sheehan’s debut is haunting, fraught with sadness and loss. This book is so very powerful. I will say it again, because sometimes the simplest statement sums up everything:
I loved this book.
For all that it is billed as a Dystopian, post-Apocalyptic novel with a scifi bend, A Long Long Sleep is a character-centric novel. It’s a study of a girl that has been abandoned and left to sleep while the world has been ravaged by war and death, and then reshaped without her. It’s the story of this same girl, who is 100 but has the body and mind of a sixteen year old, who seems passive and bland and immature, but in reality has layers upon layers of hidden depth. It’s the story of this deceptively simple, naive-seeming character, whose complexity is revealed over the course of her narrative, resonating with the power of raw grief, anger, and passion, bottled up over the course of decades in prolonged, chemical slumber.
You see, there’s something wrong with Rose; there’s something about her past that we don’t know right off the bat but suspect from the outset of the novel. This something develops slowly, menacingly over the course of the book, and when we finally learn the truth it’s all the more devastating. It’s devastating because for all that this is a novel set in the future, it’s also a book about relationships and love, about power and abuse and the dark far-ranging damage it can wreak on a child’s psyche. Rose may start the book as a passive, frightened girl, but she grows so much over the course of the novel as she awakens from her protective cocoon of disengagement and becomes the strong young woman she truly is. Rose’s character arc is so very cathartic, and I loved every bit of this thorny, artistic heroine with a troubled past.
What’s even more impressive about this novel, however, is that this depth and nuance of character applies not just to Rose, but to others. The boy that awakens Rose, Bren, has his own depth and realism as a teenage boy and is likeable enough, but the characters that stole my heart were Otto and Xavier. Xavier, Rose’s lost love from her life before being stassed for over sixty-years, and the memories/flashbacks of the strange but loving relationship are haunting and beautiful in equal measure, as their history is immensely revelatory and so very heartbreaking. Not a day goes by that Rose does not think of Xavier and not a day goes by that she does not draw his face in her art. And then, in the present, there’s Otto – the alien-human boy, created by the same corporation that Rose has become heiress to, who cannot speak but can read minds through touch. I loved the relationship that unfolds between Otto and Rose, as outcasts that find comfort in each other. There were so many unexpected turns to this and other relationships, from Rose’s past to her future, with her family and with who she loves.
At its core, this is what A Long Long Sleep is really about: love. Not just romantic love, but all different kinds of love. The love between a parent and child; the kind of selfish love that can be twisted into something ugly and abusive; the rosy glow of first love; the kind of love borne of complete understanding and friendship; and, most importantly of all, the love of oneself.
I know my plain words aren’t enough to do this beautiful book justice, but what I can say is this: I implore each and every person to read this emotionally wrenching, bittersweet journey of a novel. A Long Long Sleep is easily one of the best books I have read in 2011, and I look forward to much more from this promising new author.
Do you know when you tried to love a book, watering it the way you might a tomato plant along fruit row, but for whatever reason it continues to disappoint you time and time again? Not taking the water and the sunlight and shrinking from your every touch, confined to shrivel up and die, and give you the finger as it leaves the universe. That’s what I thought of A LONG, LONG SLEEP. I wanted to like this book and going into it, like that pesky tomato plant, I had every intention of liking it, but something went horribly, horribly wrong.
This really felt like science fiction’s bastard cousin, you know the unmentionable one named Barry, that no one likes to bring up at cocktail parties or family reunions or Sunday get-togethers or other familial social events. He’s invaded your life, and every time he pops around your office cubicle, you want to shoot him in the face with a BB gun. This was my Barry, and he played out like some never-ending highlight reel.
The dialogue felt stilted and disjointed; exclamation points were passed out like jelly doughnuts at a sugar convention; I didn’t give a flying crap about any of the characters; I wanted to stass myself until I ended up comatose; the plot moved along, but I was trying really hard not to pay attention; the similes and metaphors felt trite and overused; the killer robot felt like some secondhand, one-dimensional hack; Sleeping Beauty had the longest nightmare of her life, as did I; and I wanted to race to the end, just so I could remove this book from my Kindle and pretend it never existed. But I felt like I was slogging through quicksand. Oh, and if we ever get to the point that we’re tossing around the word cell as a verb (a bastard stand-in for the word call), I may be forced to shoot myself with a BB gun.
On some level, I kept hoping it would get better, that somehow bastard Barry would redeem himself, and that I wouldn’t have to kick his ass. But it never did. And for that, I admit, I really am sorry. Because I absolutely love books and discovering new authors and being so caught up in a story that you end up reading past your curfew and flipping pages faster than an Olympic sprinter. But I didn’t love this one, not even a little bit, not even at all.
کتاب A Long Long Sleep که با نام کمی ناقشنگ خواب شصت ساله رز ترجمه شده در آرمانشهری در آینده که پس عصر تاریکی شکل گرفته رخ می ده. اما در مورد فلسفه و مشکلات و تضادهای آرامانشهر نیست، آرامانشهر صرفا بستری هست که حوادث در اون رخ میده. تصور اولیه ام از اسم کتاب و این که ادعا شده بود یک عاشقانه است باعث شده بود انتظار یک کتاب صورتی با عشق گل درشت و تا حدی لوس رو داشته باشم، ولی این طور نبود. کتاب اگر تلخ بود اما سیاه نبود و همین باعث میشد وقتی آدم کتاب رو میبنده، حال بدی نداشته باشه. حتی نمیشد گفت کتاب پایانخوش، به مفهوم قصههای پریانه. رز در داستان با حقایق تلخی روبرو میشه و خیلی واقعگرایانه، اونها رو میپذیره، ��غییر میکنه و رشد میکنه و همه اینها خیلی لطیف و منطقی رخ میده و گل درشت در ذوق زن نیست و این نکته خوبیه. داستان اگرچه ماجرای عاشقانه هم داره، اما متناسب با سن قهرمان داستان طبیعیه و اگرچه خیلی از اتفاقات داستان حول این عشق هستند اما باز حس تکراری و لوس بودن نداره. در مجموع داستانی نه چندان شیرین اما نه سیاه هست که خوندنش هم تفریح هست هم آدم رو به فکر فرو میبره و برای گروه سنی خودش به نظرم یک کتاب خوبه. ترجمه قابل قبول بود اما ویرایش چندان دلچسب نبود و غلط ها به ویژه در جا به جایی نام شخصیت ها و بعضا افعال، آزاردهنده بود. اما جوری نبود کتاب قابل فهم و خواندن نباشه.
Anna Sheehan's A Long, Long Sleep has one of the best first chapters I've read all year. I read that first page and couldn't put the book down for the rest of the afternoon. What a hidden gem! The cover is pretty enough, but it absolutely does not convey what a touching, heart-rending story this is.
You read that blurb, and you THINK you know what A Long, Long Sleep is going to be about. You THINK you know exactly where the author's going to take this story (at least I thought I did). And then Sheehan takes these events and writes such an unexpectedly beautiful, startling, tragic story that I was blown away. This book was NOTHING like I thought it was going to be...in a very, VERY good way.
Forgotten in her stasis tube, Rosalinda Fitzroy is awakened after 62 years by a kiss. She struggles to come to terms with the death of her beloved Xavier and everyone she's ever known, and she understandably feels alone and lost in this strange world. Initially, Rose is passive and full of self-loathing and guilt. I've read about many YA heroines in need of a healthy dose of self-worth, and oftentimes the voices of these characters can be unbearable. But not Rose. Don't give up on Rose as she seems to shrivel with self-loathing. As her story unfolds and the REASONS for Rose's self-hate and passivity come to light, she becomes such a tragic, sympathetic character that you just want to love and embrace her. Watching her overcome her past and seeing her character growth was a beautiful, albeit heart-wrenching, journey.
Sheehan's writing shines in her characterization. Her characters are fascinating and well developed, especially my favorite, Otto. Otto, an experimental blue human with alien DNA, is such a poignant, compelling character. He cannot speak aloud, so he and Rose begin communicating through IM chats. After reading the annoying chats in Beastly, I was initially wary of this technique, but Otto and Rose's chemistry instantly won me over. These heartfelt chats quickly became the moments I looked forward to the most. Otto and Rose feel connected to each other through their loss and abandonment, and their devotion and understanding creates a touching relationship.
This story is absolutely devastating at times. Read with Kleenex. A Long, Long Sleep may be called sci-fi, and while it does have a futuristic setting, at its heart, this is a story about child abuse and abandonment. About the aftermath of abuse. About overcoming the tragic hand you've been dealt and learning to LIVE. Yes, there are those annoying future words and few new gadgets but this is not heavy sci-fi. This is a stirring blend of sci-fi lite, mystery, and romance coupled with a serious look at neglect and abuse.
I had an inkling from the beginning about a certain twist of events, and I read the next 250 pages wondering how Sheehan could possibly resolve this situation without a major dose of ick. (Let's just say the relationships in this book are unconventional.) At the end, I was utterly impressed--Sheehan crafts a satisfying resolution for these characters that feels authentic. The end isn't all rainbows and sunshine, but it feels triumphant and hopeful. And that last paragraph? CHILLS. What a powerful ending.
A Long, Long Sleep is a story of overcoming tragedy, of learning to love yourself in the aftermath of abuse. It is a story of love--not just the romantic kind, but of true friendship--and of finding a family in the ones who love you. It is tragic and devastating, but the ultimate message is one of hope and triumph.
A heartbreaking psychological drama with traces of the classic fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty, that goes way beyond the normally used and abused clichés, focusing instead on one girl's psychological path to recovery.
In a way this reminds me of another novel, _ This Is Not A Test_ in the sense that you're expecting something, but in the end, you end up with a completely different tale.
In fact, both these two stories have a somewhat dystopic post-apocalyptic setting, but in the end, what really matters are the character's psyches. What has made them turn out the way they are? Can they change? Can they overpass what has been done to them? Do they want to?
This means that in this novel, the character of Rose may share some resemblances with Sleeping Beauty's "fairy tale" character,_ namely her sleeping patterns o_O _ but do not expect a fairy tale out of this story. That is not what the story is about.
What this is, is one girl's struggle to find her place in a world, that has moved on while she has been kept asleep.
This had a very strong beginning. The characters and the story were believable enough. The writing is concise, and to the point, with occasional traces of lyricism, but never entering the purple prose domain.
Another point that I especially liked was how the author was able to keep us in the dark _for so long! _ regarding what had actually happened with Rose, making her spent sixty two years asleep.
And even when we finally find out what actually happened, we're still not ready for the full truth of it. *Keep some tissues at hand*
The story however has a phase in which I felt my attention wavering for a bit.
You see, for awhile, we are left to think that this is going to turn into the typical YA book in which the character gets obsessed over a boy...but in reality, the truth is much more complex than that.
I will not give any more spoilers regarding this _ in fact the only reason I am mentioning this to begin with, is in the hope that this may avoid some "misguided" DNF's _, I will just say that the author really knew what she was doing, and that everything is explained in the end.
The last part of the story is actually brutal, because the reality is so much worse than what Rose could have expected.
I did intend to write a short review, but as you can see, in the end I wasn't able to.
But, if someone were to ask me to define this book in one word, heartbreaking, would definitely be my first choice.
In the end, I will just say that I am really glad I read this book _ even if it broke my heart _ and that I am anxiously waiting for the moment in which I will have the sequel, "No Life But This" in my hands. I can't wait to read more about these characters.
This book doesn't have any characters. It has empty shells that fill up space. It has place holders for where characters should be. None of these... beings have personality, motives, a shred of originality or a smidgeon of any kind of quality that makes a person a person. So when two of these lifeless husks fall in love, you can imagine how absolutely delighted I was.
But you can kind of forgive that if the premise or plot is amazing, right? Well, this book has the triple whammy of having a lack lustre plot and premise to go with its complete lack of characters! Cryogenics involves two steps (and they're quite complex so try to keep up) 1: going to sleep, and 2: (get this) waking up. *gasps in shock* *female extra #3 faints in corner* And the plot! Don't you worry about the YA stereotype of the young heroine overthrowing the corrupt government, because there isn't enough of a plot in the first place in which it can occur! So you may be thinking, then what is the difference between the start of the book and the end? What happens in between? Short answer: nothing. Long answer: lots of meandering to end up exactly where we began.
Safe to say I don't recommend this book. To anyone. In fact, avoid this book at all costs. I would suggest keeping about a two meter distance minimum between this and other books, just in case its vulgarity is infectious.
Well...this was a disappointment. A Long, Long Sleep is a well-known novel, acclaimed by nearly every single one of my most trusted reviewers. Clearly, there is something wrong with me. Although Sheehan's debut has an original premises with a futuristic twist on the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty, I unfortunately can't claim to be impressed. At all.
At first, it's difficult not to be enamored with this novel. It all starts with Rose waking up after six decades only to find that her parents and boyfriend have died, along with virtually everyone she knows, because of a great plague. Rose, who was "stassed" or kept alive in a chamber, must now face the futuristic realm she finds herself in, all while getting accustomed to the world of politics and intrigue she has simultaneously been thrown in.
While I loved the idea behind A Long, Long Sleep, I found its execution to be poor. Rose, for one, is a heroine I didn't feel much for. On one hand, I appreciate that she's physically weak from her ordeal and mentally confused, but she fails to make any attempts to improve her lifestyle. Furthermore, she seems fixated both on her first love, Xavier, and her new crush, Bren, who really isn't all that great as a hunk. In fact, the only secondary characters I liked were Otto, an alien, and, ironically enough, the villain who wants to prevent Rose from owning the large corporation her parents built when she comes of age.
A Long, Long Sleep also falls flat in the world-building department. Thankfully, it is present, but since it's told in large chunks, it disrupts the flow of the story and can drag. Moreover, the corporate political path that this book seems to take in the beginning is utterly abandoned in favor of a typical high-school love story. Even more unfortunate is the fact that there is virtually no difference between the futuristic society Rose wakes up in and the one she went to sleep in. I appreciate that Sheehan took pains to distinguish modern phrases, but either than a few technology shifts, not much has happened in six decades.
Granted, I abandoned this book in an interested spot, directly half-way through the narration. Yet, I think it says a lot about a novel that I had no qualms setting it down right as it explained a major plot twist. Even more than a lackluster plot line and execution, this novel failed to make me establish any connections with its cast. All in all, A Long, Long Sleep is just another one of those hyped up novels. Perhaps if I had gone into it without expecting something much greater, I would have been more satisfied. As it stands, I don't plan to re-visit this novel - or its author - again.
This wasn't a bad story. Parts of it were quite enthralling and the mystery kept me captivated for awhile. The problem is that from the synopsis A Long, Long Sleep appears to be sci-fi or possibly even dystopian. However, after completing this novel, it is clear that it really wants to be a romance novel and at best can be labeled sorta sci-fi.
The story begins with sixteen year old Rose emerging from a sixty-two year "stass." Essentially a stass is a way of stopping your body functions without causing death. People use it to travel extremely long distances in space (so when you get to a distant planet you are the same age you were when you left, instead of say two-hundred and seventy-five) or to preserve a person with a terminal illness until a cure can be found. (Who else remembers the episode of The Simpsons where Mr. Burns is in suspended animation and Smithers says something along the lines of Mr.Burns will be brought back to life as soon as a team of scientists in his employ figure out the cure to thirty-two stab wounds to the back? LOL)
The thing is, no one knew Rose was in stass or even missing until she was accidentally discovered by a dreamy teenage boy. (And not with a kiss! He was trying some mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, which is sooo not sexy!) So this is where the mystery begins. Why was Rose in stass for so long? Or at all even? Will she adjust to a future time? Future culture? Will she be deemed fit to inherit her now dead parents multi-trillion dollar empire?
This alone would have made a great story. But this is YA, so it has the requisite lurve overshadowing everything else. Rose isn't the best protagonist either. She is a little dreamy and out of touch. The story is told in the first person and this girl isn't too observant of life around her so we don't get a sense of her space, her foster parents, her school or even the time or city and country she lives in. We just know who she used to love. And who she is starting to love. There are some interesting dysfunctional family flashbacks and a strange terminator style bad guy. But otherwise, this is all YA romance.
I can't help feeling a little let down by A Long, Long Sleep. Had Anna Sheehan spent more time developing and writing about Rose's life before the lengthy stass and the world she woke up to, this would have been so very much better. There are a lot of cool ideas introduced in this novel. However, as I said Rose is fairly uninvolved and unobservant. So we are stuck with her love-struck thoughts and a few "futuristic" details like hovercars and bendy iPad type things. Meh. People who like mysteries and for whom scanty world building is okay will probably enjoy this. But if you are looking for a satisfying science fiction or dystopian, it would be best to pass this one up.
Once upon a time, there was a television series called Earth 2. It got stuck in a really bad time slot and sadly, lasted only a season. It was about a bunch of people who were colonizing a world in an attempt to heal sick children, but thier ship crashed so they had to do a wagon train to where they were suppose to be. It was actually really good (and not simply because the leader and the only doctor were both women). On E2, there was a character who was over 100 years old but he look 20s-30s because he spent a lot time in cold sleep. Until he crashed landed on the planet and couldn't go back into "storage" as it were. Many of the early episodes touched on his reaction to being out in the real world for so long (another reason why the show was good).
I thought of that series while reading this book because Anna Sheehan deals with that idea. Taking the stores of "Sleeping Beauty" Sheehan transplants it to a quasi - Margaret Atwood future (slightly toned down for YA readers, but adult readers will recognize ie). Rose is yanked out of a Stasis chamber and discovers that she has awoken to a world that is not her own.
And something is trying to kill her.
It's true that Rose is rather passive in the early section of the book, but that is explained, and what comes from that is actual a good, if perhaps facile, debate about abuse, life, and choice. There is a lot more going in this book than what appears to be at first glance and that is what drags into the story and keeps you reading. The story is part debate about industry, part fairy tale, part romance, and part recovery story.
Brendan was only exploring the hidden subbasement, not realizing what he stumbled upon when he saw the stasis tube flickering light. Trying to swipe of the dust he accidentally pushed the revive sequence, causing Rosalinda Fitzroy to stir, with a slight kiss, she awoken from her stasis, into the future, sixty-two years later....
A Long, Long Sleep is a cleaver inventive sc-fi dystopia read with a neat futuristic concept, mystery and romance. The writing is well paced and well crafted. The concept is fascinating and the characters are likable, unique with a cool funky lingo.
This book reminded me of a cross between Forever Young and The Terminator. The story basically is about Rose, a girl who wakes up to find that she has been in stasis, a chemically induced coma that keeps your body from aging, for 62 years. Her parents used stasis as a way to keep Rose “calm” when she seemed to be over stimulated and also when they had trips to take that children would not be welcome at. Think about it all the moms out there, would you put your baby in stasis to get that 30 min nap you need? This becomes sort of a side story with Rose, were her parents right for putting her in stasis, were they loving her by keeping her young? Throughout the book Rose discovers quite a few things about her loving parents that she never thought could be true. As you may have guessed things aren't great for Rose. Everything she knew and every person that she loved is gone. Rose is left completely alone and added to that now that she is awake her Fathers company has an heir and not many people are happy with this new turn of events. Not to mention the whole Dark Ages that the country went through while she was “asleep”. I will leave the summary at that as I think the surprises that the author wrote are worth reading them first hand and I don't want to spoil anything. I also am leaving the Terminator part out as well just because again I think it is fun to read without spoilers. I have to say that this story started out a little slow and it was hard for me to grasp the world building. Once Rose started talking to Otto, and he is my new alien love, the story picked up for me. I really liked the twists and turns except for one. I won't say which one as it is a big spoiler, but I really don't like the direction the author went in a particular situation. I can get over it though because I have Otto. Who knew that aliens could be hawt??!! I am looking forward to future books from this author and I can't wait to see what happens next for Rose.
I kept seeing this one in those "customers also bought" sections on stores when I made book orders, and every time I looked at the description, I knew I wanted to read it. I'm glad I did. This was a nice -- and different -- take on the Sleeping Beauty tale. I heard there's a companion; I'll definitely investigate!
Science-fiction is a relatively unexplored genre for YA novels. This, to be honest, is the first one I’ve read because I can’t really remember reading others (I have read real sci-fi books albeit they were for adult readers, so I do have a gauge to base my comparisons on though) for this audience.
If you strictly were looking for excellent world building, you won’t really find it here, which is sort of disappointing. There’s nothing more than a few fancy gadgets, immoral genetic testing, and an invention for the commercial use of cryopreservation or rather a stasis machine as it’s been termed. It’s not very encompassing for a world that’s nearly a hundred years into the future. You don’t get a real sense of how things have developed and can’t therefore compare it to our own society and go wow, awesome vision of the future. There are only a few alterations to our language. They’re mostly words, such as coit, noid, sky, which feel more of a hindrance rather than an evolution. In fact, it makes a lot of the dialogue feel clunky and awkward.
Rose was extremely annoying in the beginning of the novel due to her passive and subservient nature of avoiding things that make her feel emotional pain, trauma, or are difficult for her to bear. Also her inability to voice her problems and then completely keeping secret events that happen to her that she knows and everyone else knows should obviously be made aware of. But once you get to the last third or fourth you really begin to find out why she is this way.
I think it greatly shows the consequences of neglect and emotional abuse in shaping a person’s personality as they grow. It’s actually pretty sad and there’s a prominent thread of it throughout the book. But I was more than happy when she starts to come into herself and grows a backbone.
The plot twists in this book I wasn’t expecting and one of them is quite tragic. It makes the ending a fun rush. Don’t forget the Terminator-machine dead set on killing her. You can’t go wrong with that. And if you like character interactions, there are some pretty good friendships in here. Otto is awesome and I have a soft spot for him.
Haha, I probably liked this so much is because there was a lot more thought behind a character’s initial behavior and a bigger emphasis on her finding herself rather than it becoming consumed by romance. There are romance angles in the story, though, just to make that clear. It has a pretty satisfactory end and is neatly wrapped up so you won’t have that dreaded cliffhanger issue that so many series have.
Oh, and I almost forgot. This is a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty tale which has a very unique and smart approach to that whole ick factor regarding the kissing bits. So if you love retellings, this is totally for you. I think it works a bit outside the box by taking it out of the traditional fantasy backdrop.
A surprise and not a bad choice if you’re tired of the overly done paranormal romance books out there.
A Long, Long Sleep reached "page turner" status for me. The set up was very intriguing. It reminded me a bit of Beth Revis' Across the Universe. At its core this novel was about something else entirely.
I also have to give the author props for the way the romance was handled in this book. The boy does not instantly fall for the girl the moment he looks into her eyes. He's a normal teenage boy who hardly knows her and this isn't one of those bullshit "instant love" YA novels where the girl is swept off of her feet. Don't come here looking for that. In fact, there are multiple people in Rose's life that she cares for, as is usually the case in real life, and none of these relationships are singled out by the author. She does an excellent job of displaying Rose's relationships, past and present, and there isn't even a love triangle to be found. Nor is Rose treated as if every boy she knows will instantly fall at her feet. She is just a normal girl with normal relationships and she knows rejection as well as the rest of us do.
Even if she doesn't believe it at first, Rose doesn't need to be saved, she can save herself. This wasn't a perfect book (debut book for the author) and the writing wasn't spectacular but I think the story shines through that.
The first 50 or so pages seemed just entertaining, but not necessarily anything special. And then suddenly there was sympathy and depth and layers and I accidentally-on-purpose took an extra long lunch, because I couldn't stand to NOT finish it.
I am so eager to see what happens next. Not only the further development of Rose, but of the other characters. (I so want to be friends with Otto, he would so get me.) There is no sign of a sequel listed on Goodreads, but due diligence netted me an author comment saying that the sequel was already written. But due to issues won't be out for at least a year. Say it isn't so!
From the Book Description: "Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for sixty-two years when she is woken by a kiss.
Locked away in the chemically induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten sub-basement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now her parents and her first love are long dead, and Rose -- hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire -- is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat."
I've had this on my wishlist since its deal announcement in 2010 (think that was the year). A futuristic involving stasis seemed perfect. Of course, I was more into cryonics, but nevertheless...
Anna Sheehan's A Long, Long Sleep more than lives up to its premise, and is even more awesome than the summary suggests. The world-building is brilliant, the psychology engaging, the plot intriguing...I love it all! What's more, the author makes the science and technology understandable for eejits such as me. And perhaps best of all, there's no romance. There's relationship drama involving past and perhaps future loves, but Rose starts and ends the novel single. Most novels seem to insinuate that life without romantic love isn't worth living, so A Long, Long Sleep is a refreshing change, and relatable for us single people out here. (Yes, we do exist.)
If you haven't already read this, get on it. The UK will re-release it this year, if you want a less expensive edition. Either way, the author's next novel (of which I unfortunately know nothing about) is due for publication circa August this year, and I am pumped, so excited to see what else this clever author has in store for us.
De todos os temas abordados, aquele que mais gostei foi o porquê da Rose ser induzida em estase pelos pais. A autora conseguiu mostrar bem a negligência que certos pais têm com os filhos em que inventam sempre mecanismos para não terem de aturar os filhos.
As últimas 60 páginas foram excelentes e o build-up para o climax do livro foi muito bom! As últimas linhas são de deixar o leitor frustrado e ansioso pela sua continuação!
After alluding to its brilliance so many times in my other reviews, it’s finally time to revisit A Long, Long Sleep, a fairytale retelling that proved to be so much more than it seemed and is now one of my all-time favorite books.
I’ll admit it: when I first heard of this novel, I dismissed it straightaway. I found it on an Epicreads YA Retellings Chart back in 2014, clicked the link, and immediately lost interest the moment I saw words like “stasis tube” and “interplanetary empire.” I’ve never been a big fan of sci-fi, so I shallowly assumed the whole book was going to be dull futuristic space action stuff. To this day, I still have no idea why I re-opened the link and gave the book a second chance. But I am so glad that I did. A Long, Long Sleep’s blurb makes it sound like a deeply angsty futuristic sci-fi love story. But it isn’t. Not at all.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that this is a book that changed my life. It completely revolutionized the way I look at fairytale retellings; in fact, it ruined a lot of retellings for me because after reading this book, most of them couldn’t measure up.
I’ve always loved Sleeping Beauty. And, like Ms. Sheehan, I’ve always been more interested in the part after the princess wakes up than the part before she falls asleep. Waking up after a hundred years (or, in the case of A Long, Long Sleep, sixty-two) is bound to have some serious psychological ramifications and make for all sorts of fascinating character development. And yet, A Long, Long Sleep is one of only two retellings I’ve ever come across that deal with the direct psychological aftermath of the fairytale, the other being Alex Flinn’s A Kiss in Time. And while I enjoyed both books, the huge difference is that Flinn’s novel is lighthearted and comedic, playing up the changes (such as the princess’s reaction to new technology) for laughs.
A Long, Long Sleep does not play for laughs. It is a dark, serious, at times disturbing book about abuse, loss, and identity. It’s not all gloom and doom, but there’s a very sad undercurrent to the whole story and Sheehan repeatedly drives home just how much Rose has lost. It has the most mature take on abuse that I have ever read; it finely walks the line of facing the issue head-on without pandering to readers. It is a book about recovery and reclaiming yourself, and it is thoroughly satisfying in the quietest way imaginable. It’s a tour de force without any cheap tricks or fireworks. It’s a story of a lost little girl growing into a haunted young woman. And it is absolutely beautiful.
Given my distaste for sci-fi, it’s surprising how much I enjoyed the world-building of this book. I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t get excited when I hear about intergalactic space politics and a whole bunch of A Long, Long Sleep is spent discussing the history of the interplanetary empire, power dynamics, government actions, sustainability, and a whole bunch of other things that don’t sound particularly stimulating on paper. So why is it that the book never stops being interesting? For one thing, Sheehan’s writing. She has a style that’s clear and readable, where every word counts and the smallest of sentences have incredible power. Less is more in the case of A Long, Long Sleep, and it helps with the giant world-building exposition chunks because it ensures that readers aren’t stuck in a droning history lesson. But I think, more than anything else, the heavy world-building and politics stuff works because the world-building (however thought-out it might be) is not the focus of the story. Sure, it plays a big role, but it takes a backseat to Rose and a deeply emotional character-driven narrative.
Rose isn’t going to be everyone’s favorite literary heroine. She is childish, self-pitying (although who can blame her?), and even quite wimpy. She falls in love too fast, she doesn’t take any initiative, and she never asks for help (and not in the confident, independent way). She is the “anti-strong” female character, the kind that will make a lot of readers angry. And then slowly, so subtly you didn’t even realize it at first, she stops being that and becomes something a lot more human. By the end of the story, she is a young woman worth rooting for as she slowly overcomes her demons and becomes more and more empowered. (And there is a reason for her behavior, one that is slowly unveiled with each chapter, one that is so heartbreaking and sad and both shines new light on her past actions and makes the book’s conclusion all the more rewarding.)
I could talk about the plot, but the “action” plot really isn’t as important as the character-driven elements, mainly Rose’s interactions with other characters. And, second to Rose’s personal growth, the friendships are the best part of this novel. The character dynamics are incredibly classy, in a way that many other literary relationships aren’t. Otto and Rose have a very sweet friendship and their conversations flow naturally across the page (which was a real surprise, because normally any Internet messaging passage will bog a book down). And while Rose and Otto’s bond is far less conventional than Rose and Bren’s, I actually think the latter is almost better because of the way it takes such a traditional trope and completely subverts it by treating the two of them like normal, messed-up teenagers rather than a pair of star-crossed lovers. It’s nice to watch each of them grow in their own little ways, and it was so good to hear Bren talk like an actual seventeen-year-old boy instead of a studly romantic hero. Simply put: the relationships in this novel work beautifully. Even Rose’s overly-skimmed first romance passes the test without feeling ridiculous or icky thanks to some savvy writing. And can I just say that it’s nice to read a YA book--or any book, really--where conversations have time to breathe and characters talk things out like normal people? I feel like most of Sheehan’s conversations might seem too long-winded for some readers, but I found them a refreshing change of pace. They felt more real. And, not to give anything away, but there’s one conversation in the final chapter--probably the longest in the book--between two characters that is one of the smartest, most honest exchanges that I have ever read. That part alone is probably worth the 5 stars.
Like I mentioned before, when I first picked up this book, I was expecting a love story. (That could have been my inner hopeless romantic acting out, but I think the blurb leads readers to think in that direction, too.) So I was really disappointed to find myself just past the one-hundred page mark and finding the whole romance aspect of the book to be horribly rushed and juvenile. It reeked of instalove and the whole thing felt silly and melodramatic rather than a natural, endearing relationship that developed over time. Words cannot express how much I hate instalove, or any romance that comes together too quickly with no real basis in character interaction, so I was frustrated to see how badly the book messed that opportunity up by rushing Rose’s feelings for another person.
And then I realized that it was all deliberate. I won’t spoil things for you, but let me say that Sheehan knew what she was doing the whole time and carried it out masterfully. The romance aspect of this book was a classic example of when a story didn’t give me what I wanted, but instead gave me what I needed--and thus we have one of the most mature, authentic takes on romance, lost love, and moving on that I have ever seen. It’s not a love story per se, but it’s a story about love, whether it’s tentative new love, first love, platonic love, abusive and manipulative love, and even love that has changed over time. It’s about finding people who support you and breaking away from those who don’t, and how healing is often helped by our relationships with other people.
A Long, Long Sleep is an amazing book. It’s not just a great take on the psychological after-effects of the Sleeping Beauty story--although it is that--but it’s just a great novel regardless. Moreover, it’s an important novel that isn’t afraid to go to dark places and take some serious storytelling risks. It is a book that surprises you in the best ways, from plot developments to characters to character relationships. It is a book that, quite frankly, spoiled me--more than anything else as a reader, I value a book’s protagonist, relationships, and emotion and A Long, Long Sleep somehow hits the nail on the head with all three of them. I can see why other people might not love the book as much as I do--after all, there are readers who prefer their action or their world-building to the psychological stuff. But personally, I couldn’t be happier and words cannot express how grateful I am to Sheehan for putting this story out there--and how glad I am that I took a chance on it, despite my initial reservations.
Also, those final few pages. That epilogue. I dare you not to be impressed.
A Long, Long Sleep was a different read. I enjoyed it, but the storyline wasn't a fav. I liked that it was a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, with a dystopian/sci-fi twist. It was fun. I didn't like the romance and that it . Overall, an interesting read, but not one I loved.
Ever since I've read the Lunar Chronicles I fell in love with futuristic fairytale retellings, so when a friend told me about a A Long Long Sleep I jumped right in! I'm so glad I did, because this book is so different and so unique from anything I've read before. The only thing it has in common with the Lunar Chronicles is it's set in the future and it's a fairytale retelling. It's completely it's own story! It explores deep isues as well such as neglect and abuse and what happens to the victims beliefs about themselves! Apparently this is a series, which I had no idea. It was when I started reading it, but I'm glad it is I look forward to the next one!