This debut novel by Anna Sheehan was an amazing read. It is a cross between Sleeping Beauty and a dystopian future. Set in a future after a second Dark Times, where more than a third of the world's population was eliminated, the story has a very unique feel. Earth and its colonies in space are now prospering again after the dark ages. And UniCorp is one of the largest and most powerful companies in the universe. Now Roselinda Fitzroy had been lost in a suspended sleep for over 60 year. Upon waking, it is revealed she is the heir to UniCorp and all of its subsidiaries. But Roselinda is just a 16 year old girl. Her life was different from most before her long sleep and now she is an outright freak, living in a world she could not have imagined and a world that has gone through a second dark age and recovered. But how old is she really and how many times has she had been put to sleep like this by her parents? Rose has wakened after a long, long sleep to a world she does not know or understand and as the days and weeks pass she seems to have more questions than answers.
This story is wonderfully written, with a unique mix of modern fairy tale, science fiction and dystopia all rolled up in one tight package. The characters are in this story are amazing, especially as we watch Rose evolve and grow as she must because this time she has been removed for sleep and going back is not really an option any longer. The author's description of how Rose works through her issues and problems, through her artwork, is inspiring and a little reminiscent of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Her mourning for what has been lost and her slow discovery of what really happened to her and why, is fascinating to watch as the ploy unveils. For a first novel I was blown away by the skill and talent shown by Sheehan and look forward to reading more books by her, and if we are really lucky maybe a continuation of Rose's story! This is one of the best books I have read in the last year.
on August 10, 2011
Anna Sheehan's debut novel sounds like a weird mash up once described: a sci fi Sleeping Beauty set in a post-apocolyptic world. But somehow, it works. It really, really works and we're left with this fabulously disturbing and beautiful story.
A Long, Long Sleep is just about flawless. The story is told from Rose's perspective after she wakes up from a chemically induced sleep designed to preserve her, after 62 years. Like a sequel to Sleeping Beauty, Sheehan tells the story of what might have happened after the princess wakes up. What do you do when everyone you know is dead and your world has entirely changed but you're still the same? How do you adapt? Just remember that fairytales don't always end the way we want them to.
But the story is really about Rose's journey of self-discovery. But it's heartbreaking, and painful to watch. Here she struggles with self loathing and abuse, with one of the best depictions of absolute isolation and loneliness I have ever read. It's poignant and heart wrenching, and brings up all these emotions you might struggle to convey. But Sheehan doesn't struggle in writing Rose's story at all.
Truly beautiful and haunting, Rose is such a fascinating and multidimensional character. She isn't what you'd expect for someone referred to as Sleeping Beauty at all; not exactly always pretty, socially awkward, unhealthy, but gentle and thoughtful as well.
My two complaints with this book are fairly minor; the first is that some of the slang repeatedly used is somewhat vague and difficult to understand the real meaning at times. The second is that I thought the robot assassin plot to take away from what I felt to be the main purpose of the book, and while it did add some action scenes I really didn't feel they were necessary or particularly helpful for the book.
ARC received from the publisher in exchange for an honest and candid review.