A Long Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan

Just finished reading A Long Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan.  This is a difficult book to review and categorise, at the start I struggled with it a little.  Difficult to explain why but it felt a little flat and I couldn’t work up any kind of emotion for Rose who seemed a bit dull and unfathomable but there is a reason for this which does become evident as the story unfolds.

Rose is found in a basement in a stasis tube where she has slept for the last 62 years.  When she is awoken her world has completely changed, everyone she knows is dead, her body is suffering badly from the last 62 years of a chemically induced sleep, her muscles are wasted and she suffers from deep fatigue and on top of all that she is the long lost heir to a billion pound empire.  As you can imagine she doesn’t inspire a lot of love with the top notch corporates who now fear her interference in their business and neither is she popular at school where her language, abilities and education are drastically lacking. On top of all of that she seems to have some sort of deadly assassin intent on finding and terminating her.  For what reason we don’t know.

At first I just found Rose really lacking – probably for the wrong reasons though.  She has major self esteem problems and is constantly putting herself down.  She’s lost everyone she knew and yet I didn’t really feel the impact of that on her and in fact she fairly quickly develops a schoolgirl crush on Bren (in spite of her loving memories of a boyfriend from the past).  I suppose I also wanted her to stand up for herself a bit more and have a bit more of a presence but having read on and found out more about her life her character becomes suddently clear.

The story itself revolves around only a few characters and I liked that aspect and felt they were all quite well written.  My favourite character was Otto.  Otto was one of Unicorp’s genetic experiments using alien DNA.  He’s just really likable and his own experiences give him an empathy with Rose which eventually leads to friendship.  (I couldn’t help thinking of the dark haired, blue skinned Avatar whenever I was reading about Otto – minus the tail of course!)

I don’t want to go further into detail because it will give too much away.  I will say that I absolutely detested Rose’s parents!  OMG!!  That’s all I’m going to say about that and if you read the book you’ll know why.  There are a number of ‘what??’ moments as the story reaches it’s dramatic ending and I didn’t actually second guess any of them.

So, despite a shaky start I really came round to this story.  I will say that if you’re a dedicated sci-fi fan this probably won’t be what you’re expecting.  Apart from a few new gadgets. a person with a different skin colour, stass tubes and hover cars there isn’t much sci fi going on.  Also, this is very loosley based on Sleeping Beauty so again, don’t be too expectant about a fairy tale retelling.

In terms of criticisms – I found the ‘teenage speak’ a little bit annoying.  It just seemed very random and I felt it stopped the flow of the dialogue having these odd words thrown into the middle of sentences.

Apart from that I enjoyed this story and think it is an excellent debut.  It became more than I was expecting and was also quite heartwrenching.  I don’t know if a sequel is intended – I think it could easily be a stand alone but there is also scope for more.

Rating B

A Long Long Sleep

A Long Long Sleep

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