Title: A Long, Long Sleep
Author: Anna Sheehan
Synopsis (Courtesy of Powell’s Books):
“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.”
Thoughts: Anna Sheehan’s A Long, Long Sleep is a futuristic retelling of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, answering the question of what would happen if the kingdom does not also fall asleep while the princess sleeps. In this case, the princess, Rose, is the sole daughter and heir to an empire that spans planets. While she slept in her chemically-induced stasis, the world she knew fell apart during the Dark Times and was slowly recovering when she woke. How does one recover from losing over sixty years? How does the world react to the reappearance of a long-lost heir? A Long, Long Sleep is a fascinating psychological study on the impact change has on a person, whether it occurs slowly or all at once.
The strength of A Long, Long Sleep is Rose. Without her, the reader would not be quite as interested in this familiar and yet very different world into which she wakes. Through her eyes, the reader experiences the same shock and confusion at waking up into a world that has been through hell and back while she was dreaming. The fact that the language, fashion, politics and technology are all similar to her previous life makes the differences more pronounced and uncomfortable. These, in turn, only accentuate how much she has not adapted to this new world. Rose’s struggles to acclimate become the reader’s struggles to understand. Empathy with Rose truly drives the novel.
Another more chilling aspect of A Long, Long Sleep is the lengths to which parents are willing to go to protect their children, the use of technology to do so, and the psychological impact of such “protection”. The ease with which Rose’s parents justify her continual stasis is both disturbing and eye-opening. What current technology do parents use today in an effort to protect their children? What long-term damage is occurring because of it?
A Long, Long Sleep is a fairy tale grown up for the modern world. The cautions it presents about the growth of extremely large corporations and the use of technology adds a level of gravitas to what could be construed as a simple story. Yet, A Long, Long Sleep is anything but simple. It is intricate ad complex, suspenseful and extremely enjoyable. Rose’s innocence and growing awareness to the horrors of her life build a strong emotional link to the reader and create the necessary suspense that makes this an amazing page-turner. Billed as a young adult novel, there are enough lessons and more adult issues that make A Long, Long Sleep enjoyable for readers of all ages.
Thank you to NetGalley for my advanced reading copy!