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J.J. Howard
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1984

A Long, Long Sleep

A Long, Long Sleep - Anna Sheehan A Long, Long Sleep puts a futuristic spin on the classic tale of Sleeping Beauty and the result was a beautifully deep story that will stay in my mind for a long time.I went into this almost completely blind. I knew it was a sci-fi Sleeping Beauty and that’s about it. Turns out that was horribly inaccurate. It takes place in the future, where technology has advanced, but it’s not really sci-fi. It’s about a girl who wakes up from a prolonged sleep, but it’s not really Sleeping Beauty. More than anything it’s a story about human relationships. A girl who has spent a lifetime sleeping needs to figure out who she is, and still needs to sort out her relationships with people who had long since passed. It makes you think about different types of relationships and what a healthy relationship is.Rose was a character that I wasn’t sure about initially. She’s been out of the loop for 60 years, and didn’t really leave her past on a good note. She’s confused, but adapts well. She’s forced into new circumstances with new people, and isn’t sure exactly what’s going on and who to trust, only that everything might not be what it seems. Luckily she’s smart, and has a strong head on her shoulders. There were times when she came across as a bit whiny, but in the end I liked her a lot.It was interesting to see her life from the past, especially her relationships with her parents and Xavier. They both turned out to be a lot more complicated than they initially appear. Rose’s parents had her trapped in an abusive, manipulative relationship, and had brainwashed her in ways that had me almost agreeing with them, which just goes to show how excellently this was written. I did have some issues with Rose’s relationship with Xavier that I can’t discuss in lieu of spoilers, but those who’ve read it will probably understand (and if I think about it, the big issue I had was a direct result of her abusive relationship with her parents). But all that aside, I liked him a lot as a person and a friend.I really enjoyed the ending to the story, where things were left open enough for readers to imagine what could happen next, but with enough closure that it would do well as a standalone. I’ve heard rumors of a sequel, but I hope that doesn’t happen.As I read this during Fairy Tale Fortnight while reading three other Sleeping Beauty retellings simultaneously, I found myself searching for elements of Sleeping Beauty, but I struggled to find any beyond her initial waking up to CPR with an attractive boy, and the occasional reference to her being a “Sleeping Beauty”, so that part was disappointing.All in all I was deeply satisfied with this beautiful, thought-provoking story.