Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Long Long Sleep

Author: Anna Sheehan
Genre: Fantasy, Dystopian, Romance
Pages: 342
Published: 2011
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Rating: 4/5 Stars
"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."

Beautiful, intriguing and sometimes heartbreaking, A Long Long Sleep is a book that sucks you in and holds on.  The story is framed as a futuristic Sleeping Beauty.  The main character is Rose, a shy, sheltered heiress, who wakes up one day to find that her idyllic world is gone and that she is now a ward of her late father's company, UniCorp.  We soon get the feeling, however, that Rose's world wasn't as perfect as it seemed.  Secrets about her former life and her family begin to reveal themselves as Rose starts to  fall for the new CEO's grandson, the dreamy Bren.  Meanwhile she is still holding on to the memory of her long lost love Xavier.

A Long Long Sleep has all the makings of a great book and, for the most part, it delivers.  First though, let me talk about the few issues I had with this book.  The first, and biggest issue, was that the beginning tended to drag on a bit.  There were times in the first half of the book where I felt that several pages could have been compressed into  a couple of paragraphs.  Second, again in the first half, the language was sometimes confusing.  Rose is trying to fit into a new world and the reader sometimes has to struggle along with her as she learns the new slang.  While this drives home the empathy factor, it did tend to make me me feel like an 80 year old trying to make sense out of high school lunch table conversation.  Finally, I really wish we could have seen more of the romance between Rose and Xavier.  I didn't feel very emotionally connected to him until about midway through the book and I feel like, since this is the main love story in the book, it could have been explored a little more.

Now, with that out of the way, let me tell you what I loved (and I did love this book).  I loved Rose!  She was strong, sweet, and just vulnerable enough.  Her struggle as she fell for another guy while still holding on to her first love felt very real to me.  And there's another thing, even though this book is taking place a couple hundred years in the future it was all very relateable.  Usually I don't go for sci fi stuff because I can't really relate to it, but this story felt very plausible and even the super futuristic elements felt realistic.  I think one reason the story seemed so realistic was the character development.  I knew all of the characters, even the background characters, and their motivations.  The relationship that I loved the most was the friendship between Rose and Otto (a half alien/ half human hybrid).  You could feel how much they cared about each other and Otto's dry humor was the perfect companion to Rose's panicked thoughts.  The thing that really sealed the deal for me though was the end of the book.  I really did not see the last couple of chapters coming.  Some of the revelations made my head spin.  More than that though, the ending was incredibly emotional.  I rarely cry when I read and this book made me weep both with joy and with sadness.  

I truly hope that Sheehan plans on a sequel because I would love to explore the relationships in the book more and really see Rose come into her own.  Certainly this book will stay with me for a very long time.  I highly recommend picking up A Long Long Sleep, it makes a great bedtime story.


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