Friday, August 19, 2011
A Long, Long Sleep
Candlewick Press, 2011
YA; Science-Fiction; Fairy Tale
Source: Received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This caught my interest with its promise of being a twist on Sleeping Beauty. The book opens with the main character Rose being awakened from stasis by a handsome young man and later there are references to a briar patch. But while I liked picking out references, I enjoyed it most when we looked at Rose's pre-stasis life and her relationship with an alien lifeform.
While in her original life, she was the precious daughter of a wealthy family, her new life reveals cracks in the perfection. She has slept through years of her life, which has strengthened her artistic eye but made her lose out on important childhood moments. One of those is a youthful romance.
Rose met Xavier when she was 7 and he was only a baby but due to her stasis experiences, he soon outpaced her. And due to her final sleep that lasted 62 years, she missed his lifespan and she mourns the loss of him as her brother, best friend, true love. In addition, she is acclimatizing herself to the new world, which underwent a devastating plague that decimated the world population while adding to her family's coffers. All of these revelations make her life difficult BUT they're not the only reasons as she faces external threats, a new crush, and remembrances of her earlier life.
One way she copes is with her art; she sounds like an amazing artist and I liked imagining what she was sketching. Another way she copes is with a friend Otto, basically an experiment who has developed certain human thought processes although he struggles with human speech and has watched most of his family die. The moment they first started e-chatting was when the story really took off for me so I suggest you give it a chance if it doesn't immediately click for you.
I also described this as science-fiction but I would characterize that element as very light. It is sent in the future with some new technologies but the themes of child abuse and loss were more strongly present, leaving me some powerful feelings. The true horrors come out slowly and kept me intrigued and turning the pages.
Another element is that Rose is ghostly with little personality at the start; this is due to her parents' abuse but I am happy to report that she develops more of a backbone and her confidence levels increase as she begins to gain some measure of control over her life.
Overall: I really enjoyed this; it was very unique and well-written. Although sometimes I felt it was a bit on the slow side, I loved the unfolding of the revelations and trying to figure out what was happening next.