Monday, August 1, 2011

Review: A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan

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 existence, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes -- or be left without any future at all.
(summary from Goodreads)

A Long, Long Sleep is a futuristic take on the classic
Sleeping Beauty tale with shocking twists that will leave you fuming!

When Rose is woken from stasis with a kiss over 60 years into the future, she's completely lost. Everyone and everything she knew is gone - except her family's corporation, UniCorp, which is stronger than ever and to which she is the rightful heir. Placed in the care of oblivious foster parents and forced to attend an elite school, Rose hides in her art, sketching the face of her beloved Xander - the only boy she has ever loved and her best friend, lost to her while she unknowingly slept. All she wants is to get through each day unnoticed, taking solace in her daily chats with alien outcast Otto and burgeoning friendship with Bren, the boy who woke her. But when she begins to be hunted by a Plastine - a machine programmed to fulfil it's objective no matter what - Rose will have to learn that hiding is no way to survive...or live.

I hadn't heard a lot about this book when I first started reading it, other than really liking the sounds of the summary. However I will admit that it wasn't exactly what I expected, and I did find it a little disappointing, at least in the beginning. It took me a bit to get into the momentum of the story, as while it jumped pretty much right into the action I found it a little stilted, despite it's intriguing premise. It didn't help that Rose is a character I did not immediately click with. In fact, I would go so far as to say that for a little while there, I hated her. I found her weak and quite pathetic, and it really annoyed me. While I could sympathise with her situation, her constant lack of...personality...of everything...became irritating very quickly. She'd never been good at school, so why bother trying - that was pretty much the kind of attitude she had about everything! Why bother. It soon becomes clear though that Rose's personality issues have serious ramifications for the overall plot, and it was this that helped to push me through. By the end I began to think of Rose a little more favourably, and my heart shattered along with hers, but she will never top any favourite characters list.

I know that so far this review might not sound so great, but honestly once I got further into the story, wow, did it turn around! While not perfect, A Long, Long Sleep did hook me to the point that I could not stop reading, and so I found myself still reading it at 2am when I should have been sleeping. In the end, I read it in one sitting as I absolutely had to find out how it all turned out. As I said, it was nothing like I expected and that became somewhat of a good thing.

What initially grabbed me were the chapters from the point of view of the Plastine, as it were. Basically a computer, these chapters lacked feeling but still packed a punch. They were chilling, as the Plastine itself was. Much of the mystery of this book is what the Plastine's main objective is and who programmed it. Added to this is the question of why Rose was in the stasis tube. Talk about a mystery - Sheehan's twists are marvellous and much like a slap in the face. While I started to get some inkling before the major reveal, I wasn't prepared for the level of shock I felt. It still garners a massive reaction from me even now. Saying that however, there were other plot lines that were more predictable, like Xander. Yet these are small is comparison and so do not effect much of the reading.

While answers to many of A Long, Long Sleep's original questions are provided, the book is left very much open ended. I felt that Otto and Bren's stories, especially in terms of their relationship with Rose, have only just begun and I do admit to wanting more. But more so, the biggest revelations of the story served to present more questions, and many of these were left simply hanging which I found frustrating. I haven't heard anything about it, but boy I hope there's a sequel in the works! If not, well, that ending is just a little too open for me!

Overall, Sheehan has created an intriguing story that explores some unexpected issues. A Long, Long Sleep wasn't everything I'd hoped it would be, but it surprised me in ways I wasn't quite prepared for. I ended it emotionally effected and wanting more!


Publisher: Candlewick
Published date: 9 August 2011
Format: e-Galley from NetGalley

Many thanks to Candlewick and NetGalley.

Challenge: 2011 Debut Author Challenge


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