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Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

A Long, Long Sleep

Author: Anna Sheehan
Originally Published: 2011
Publisher: Gollancz, an imprint of the Orion Publishing Group
Source: Purchased

The Story

From the back of the book:

Rosalinda Fitzroy had been asleep for 62 years when she was 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.

The Response

A lot of the young adult scifi that I’ve heard of or read lately have been very dystopian – which typically I love. The fact that this wasn’t quite dystopian, and not quite so heavy reading as a lot of scifi seems to be these days, was actually quite a refreshing change. Not to say that the world Rose wakens in is a utopia – it seems to be quite the opposite at times – but it’s a lot lighter and more feel-good than other YA scifi books (which happened to be exactly what I needed when I read it).

Not to say that this is fluff – it covers some themes that are quite the opposite, in fact. Such as, say, the theme of parents abusing their children. While it wasn’t physical violence, Rose certainly did receive a goodly amount of abuse from her parents – and it’s frustrating seeing or reading about situations where the victims don’t even realize that they are being victimized, and accept what is being done to them. I can imagine that in a situation like Rose’s, where from a small age your parents put you in a stasis chamber whenever it isn’t convenient for them to have to take care of a child, it would become what you consider normal. You wouldn’t know any different. It was rather heartbreaking to read about a child who has come to believe it’s okay to basically be shut up in a closet whenever your parents don’t want to have to deal with you.

In fact, there was a lot in this novel that was rather heartbreaking – I found myself tearing up quite a bit. This poor girl certainly had a very tough time in the new life she found herself in. Waking up, only to find that the world you lived in was destroyed by disease, along with everyone you know would be hard enough. To find out that the guy you crush on is only nice to you as a sense of obligation and actually finds you rather terrifying doesn’t make things any easier. Learning that you’re the future head of a huge intergalactic corporation and your parents have seen to it that you will never succeed in school, seems to add the icing to the cake. Except, OH WAIT! There’s also totally a killer automaton after you as well. Huh. Seems like our poor little Rose can’t catch a break.

A Long, Long Sleep was actually quite the heartwarming and positive tale throughout it all though – about a girl who overcomes all the shit that life has thrown at her, who learns that she is so much smarter and braver than she ever imagined.

This would be a good book for those who aren’t really sure whether they like scifi. It’s very much in the soft scifi end of the spectrum, and almost feels more fantasy – aside from the fact that there’s an alien and pods where people can cryogenically sleep for a determined (or undetermined, as in Rose’s case) period of time.

The Bottom Line

Definitely an enjoyable debut from this author &ndash I will be looking for more from her in the future. Recommended to those who want to give scifi a try.

Other Reviews

Madigan Reads, That’s What She Read, Book Monkey, The Story Siren. Have you reviewed this book on your blog? Let me know and I’ll add your link.

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 11:39 pm December 30, 2011.
Category: Young Adult
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