A Long, Long Sleep, by Anna Sheehan

A Long, Long Sleep is Anna Sheehan’s first novel.

Damn, woman. Nice work.

This is a YA science fiction retelling of Sleeping Beauty, which would normally put me right off. I have read a lot of reimagined fairy tale retellings, and the longer I’ve been reading them, the higher my personal bar becomes. I also read submissions for Apex Magazine, and there’s a fair amount to reimagined fairy tale that comes through.

This, though. This is a good one.

The gist is, Rosalind Fitzroy wakes up from stasis and finds herself 1) heir to the corporation that owns almost everything ever, 2) orphaned and alone, 3) in the post-apocalyptic world, and 4) the object of an assassination scheme. Yet. Yet.

The post-apocalyptic world is genuinely post-. Humanity has moved on. Things are back together, more or less. And Rose is less alone than she thinks.

While the plot deals with the consequences of waking up after your world has vanished, the emotional engine of the story runs on a different set of pain. This is a story of child abuse, in the same way that the recent animated film Tangled is a story of child abuse. And it is told from inside the head of the person who is outliving that abuse. The emotional steps Rose takes from beginning to end are painful to follow, but they absolutely work.

A Long, Long Sleep is a well-written book.

Do not read if:

you absolutely cannot handle another fairy tale
sixteen-year-old narrators fill you with impatient frustration
you require a successful romance
descriptions of child abuse are a deal-breaker for you

However! READ A Long Long Sleep if:

you like internal narratives of empowerment
you enjoy a good YA novel that doesn’t focus on romance
optimistic post-apocalyptic novels are your thing these days
you need to understand Sleeping Beauty as an agent in her own narrative

I highly recommend.

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