August 2011

Suspended in time and space

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After 62 years in stasis, a chemically induced hypersleep that suspends the aging process, Rosalinda Samantha Fitzroy—or simply Rose—awakens, still 16 years old, to discover not only that she’s been slumbering in a forgotten subbasement all these years, but that she’s the sole surviving heiress, a princess if you will, to an interplanetary empire known as UniCorp. In Anna Sheehan’s futuristic young adult debut, A Long, Long Sleep, this sleeping beauty bears no resemblance to the Disney princess. Rose’s chilling story explores the emotional aftermath of lost time, dreams and love.

As Rose tries to assimilate in her new Uni Prep school (the best in the solar system), she learns the history of the last half-century, including the Dark Times, in which a population boom was followed by a resurgence of tuberculosis and bubonic plague, as well as widespread infertility. Flashbacks to Rose’s youth slowly reveal her numerous stays in stasis (really making her 100 years old), the long-term effects of her abusive parents and her first love with Xavier, whom she met when he was an infant and she was seven years old, though he grew to surpass her in age.

Although Rose finds some comfort in her friendships with princely, handsome Bren and Otto, a mute human-alien hybrid created by UniCorp who understands the briar patch she has formed around her heart, she still longs for Xavier. And adjustment would definitely be easier if there weren’t a Plastine, a plasticized human corpse, programmed to find and kill her. Outrunning this nearly indestructible assassin and finding its original programmer add layers of adventure and mystery to this already intriguing science fiction story.

Whether comparing Rose’s story to other Briar Rose and Sleeping Beauty variants, wondering about her complicated situation or simply enjoying the thrilling suspense, readers will hope that Rose can find some happiness ever after in a complex world.

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