Summary (from Goodreads)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.
I’ve had this book sitting in my kindle for quite a while and I finally got around to reading it recently. I was expecting it to be an okay read, but I ended up enjoying it an awful lot more than I thought I would.
When we first get to know Rosalinda Fitzroy, she is admittedly infuriating. Passive and frankly insipid, she doesn’t seem to react very much to anything that happens to her and is zealous in telling everyone how stupid she is. There were times I really wanted to scream at her, such as when she gets attacked early on in the book and then doesn’t tell a soul, and of course when she decides to abandon her beloved dog for two weeks(!!). However there are reasons for Rose’s behaviour and as they slowly came to light I found she became a very sympathetic character.
But even before finding out everything about Rose’s past, I did feel for her. Lost, lonely and pining for her parents and the boyfriend she inadvertently left behind, it is no surprise that Rose attaches herself to Bren, the first person she meets in this strange new world. As much as I rolled my eyes at how quickly she falls for him I did find it believable under the circumstances, especially as no one else really seems to have time for the poor girl! And though I felt awful for Rose when her confession doesn’t work out, I really liked how things turned out between them in the end.
I think possibly what really sold this book to me was the relationship between Rose and Otto, an odd alien hybrid born from a disturbing science experiment. Unsurprisingly Otto has a heart-breaking back-story, and is drawn to Rose, who has her own troubles. Otto does not talk and as the two are unable to communicate through his usual means at first, they resort to sending messages to each other. I loved these scenes; they felt very cosy and intimate and offered a great deal of insight into both of the characters. Otto was prone to poetic turns of phrase and on occasion this veered on awkward (a line about the “tea tone” of Rose’s eyes really made me cringe at one point). However was largely forgivable, seeing as they were communicating in writing and he was hardly a normal boy after all. The nature of their relationship is left pleasantly ambiguous, which is very fitting considering, and I’m really interested to see how it develops in the sequel (there WILL be a sequel, right?).
However, although I adored some of the characters, some of the others left little impression on me. In particular I never really warmed to Xavier for some reason (well, maybe a bit more near the end), whilst Rose’s foster-parents and Bren’s school friends were all very one-dimensional. Also whilst the new slang was inventive there were a couple which I found a little clunky; ‘conn’ and ‘burning’ threw me off a couple of times. On the other hand though I thought the use of ‘coit’ as a swearword was amazing.
In the latter half of the book there are quite a few shock revelations and whilst I’m sure some people saw them coming a mile off they took me by surprise, and one really did take my breath away! Another left me feeling more than a little uncomfortable, something I believe I’m not alone in. However it did not spoil my enjoyment of the book and I can see how it made some sort of sense, under the circumstances.
The world created by Anna Sheehan here is an engaging one and I am definitely interested to read more about it, especially regarding the thorny ethical issues surrounding the Unicorp firm, to which Rose is heiress. There were also some really nifty new technologies- and some really creepy ones too. (one word: Plastine) However for me the world-building was mostly just a nice background to Rose’s personal story, which really has stuck with me. The not-so-perfect aspects of her life before stasis were very skilfully revealed and when Rose realises the extent of it... it really is heart-breaking.
Overall whilst A Long, Long Sleep lacked that special something which places a book amongst my favourites, it was enjoyable and highly readable. I’ll be looking forward to reading more of Anna Sheehan’s work!