Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan

Summary (courtesy of GoodReads):  It should have been a short suspended-animation sleep. But this time Rose wakes up to find her past is long gone— and her future full of peril.

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 subbasement, 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 gone, 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 existence, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes— or be left without any future at all.

And here's what I thought:  As you may be able to tell from the above summary, this is a re-telling of the Sleeping Beauty story, set in a futuristic Earth.  However, this is no Disney-fied story where Rose is perfect, birds fly around her head, singing (or was that Snow White), and there is a Prince Charming.   Rather, this is more like a fairytale with a bit of horror, science and politics mixed in.  And - don't let the fact that this is technically a little science-fiction-y scare you away ---- it's not hard science fiction that's all about space travel and math.  Rather, it's about one girl's journey to not only figure out what she's going to do now that she has re-joined the living world, but also, her attempt to discover what is real about her past.

Rose isn't a perfect character, and I actually didn't really like her at times because I felt she was annoying.  However, as the story progressed, I started to understand her, and why she was the way she was ..... because she had not only spent 62 years in stasis, sleeping away all of those years, but also because her parents had deliberately kept her in a very sheltered existence.  Once her character started developing, and becoming a bit more rounded-out, I felt more comfortable with her.

I thought the author did a good job of re-working a story that many of us are familiar with, and then adding in some things that really made me think.  For example, it turns out that Rose's parents frequently put her into stasis just because they could (because they needed to travel and didn't want to deal with her, or they found her annoying, or any reason they thought of) --- when you think about it, that's pretty horrifying.  The idea of your parents imposing not only their rules on you ..... but then stealing years of your life by putting you into a stasis sleep....  and never explaining, never apologizing.    The author also gives us the Dark Times - a time period that begins and ends while Rose is in stasis, but a period which completely changes the world.  And, I felt the author made it seem pretty believable --- there is mention of genetically modified foods and seeds causing problems with not only agriculture, but with human reproduction, as well.

I don't know if I would say the book was perfect, but the pacing was so even, and the author kept me guessing at what was going to happen next --- that I found myself reading and reading.  I have seen some mixed reviews of this book on GoodReads, so if this sounds like a book you might want to pick up, maybe go over and see what other people have to say, as well.   However, I enjoyed this book and thought it was a really interesting and thought-provoking way to re-work the Sleeping Beauty story.

First lines:  I'd try to hold on to my stass dreams as long as I could.  It's a game I would play, struggling to keep track of those misty images that were always so easily lost.  I'd try to keep myself in stasis, keep my heart beating too slow to feel, refuse to wake up my lungs.  Once or twice I managed to hold on so long that Mom panicked and turned on the resuscitator.

Thoughts on the cover:   I like that there is the rose, with the thorny briar, and how the light is shining through it --- it's simple enough, but still eye-catching.


Karen said...

I know a lot of parents joke about doing that but it seems pretty horrifying to actually read about parents putting their child in stasis for convenience.
That cover is gorgeous and really draws the eye.
I'm not sure if it's a book for me but I don think I'll look into it a little more.

Bookish in a Box said...

I really liked this one. The plot managed to surprise me several times, and I kept thinking about the questions it brought up, even after I put the book down.

Carol @ Always Thyme to Cook said...

Enjoyed your review, I'll have to add it to the list. I love when the writers rework the classics like that.

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

I hadn't realized this was a Sleeping Beauty retelling when I started this book so it slowly crept up on me. Definitely one of the more surprising reads of 2011 for me!

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