Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Book Review: A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan

  A Long Long Sleep cover

Publisher: Candlewick
Release Date: August 9th 2011
Genre: Futuristic Fairy Tale Retelling
Source: eBook via Library
Challenge(s): Dystopia, Fairy Tales Retold

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.

A Long, Long Sleep puts a futuristic spin on the classic tale of Sleeping Beauty and the result was a beautifully deep story that will stay in my mind for a long time.

I went into this almost completely blind. I knew it was a sci-fi Sleeping Beauty and that’s about it. Turns out that was horribly inaccurate. It takes place in the future, where technology has advanced, but it’s not really sci-fi. It’s about a girl who wakes up from a prolonged sleep, but it’s not really Sleeping Beauty. More than anything it’s a story about human relationships. A girl who has spent a lifetime sleeping needs to figure out who she is, and still needs to sort out her relationships with people who had long since passed. It makes you think about different types of relationships and what a healthy relationship is.

Rose was a character that I wasn’t sure about initially. She’s been out of the loop for 60 years, and didn’t really leave her past on a good note. She’s confused, but adapts well. She’s forced into new circumstances with new people, and isn’t sure exactly what’s going on and who to trust, only that everything might not be what it seems. Luckily she’s smart, and has a strong head on her shoulders. There were times when she came across as a bit whiny, but in the end I liked her a lot.

It was interesting to see her life from the past, especially her relationships with her parents and Xavier. They both turned out to be a lot more complicated than they initially appear. Rose’s parents had her trapped in an abusive, manipulative relationship, and had brainwashed her in ways that had me almost agreeing with them, which just goes to show how excellently this was written. I did have some issues with Rose’s relationship with Xavier that I can’t discuss in lieu of spoilers, but those who’ve read it will probably understand (and if I think about it, the big issue I had was a direct result of her abusive relationship with her parents). But all that aside, I liked him a lot as a person and a friend.

I really enjoyed the ending to the story, where things were left open enough for readers to imagine what could happen next, but with enough closure that it would do well as a standalone. I’ve heard rumors of a sequel, but I hope that doesn’t happen.

As I read this during Fairy Tale Fortnight while reading three other Sleeping Beauty retellings simultaneously, I found myself searching for elements of Sleeping Beauty, but I struggled to find any beyond her initial waking up to CPR with an attractive boy, and the occasional reference to her being a “Sleeping Beauty”, so that part was disappointing.

All in all I was deeply satisfied with this beautiful, thought-provoking story. recommendations


alittlesmudge Kissing, occasional swearing (both real and fake words), abusive brainwashing parents


  1. I really liked the futuristic twist to this story and the way we get to meet Rose. Her development was great and her story is so sad :( Great review!


  2. Great review. I will have to get on to read this one.

  3. I myself have been reluctant to read this because of some mixed reviews and not being sure if I'd really enjoy a "sci fi Sleeping Beauty" retelling. I'm kind of disappointed I let myself by swayed so easily before, because this sounds wonderful. The focus on the relationships that you described here in particular seems like something I'd definitely enjoy. Lovely review! I'll have to try to read this book at some point.


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