A Long, Long Sleep (UniCorp, #1) by Anna Sheehan
Published by Candlewick on August 9, 2011
Genres: young adult, science fiction, retellings
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To use the words of my wonderful aunt: Well, poop.
I wanted to like this book. No, I wanted to love it. Because it sounded like a sci-fi Sleeping Beauty retelling, and that sounded so, so cool.
Be very careful in regards to your expectations for this book. Because it is a Sleeping Beauty retelling, but it was far from the retelling I expected it to be.
It’s hard to explain why. I think I was expecting something more…mystical, if that makes sense. Something that didn’t feel so ordinary, maybe?
I wanted to like Rose, but I couldn’t connect with her. Her decisions and the way she treated others frustrated me. Because I didn’t like her, I didn’t really care when her life was threatened. And I didn’t care to find out who was behind the attacks. It just wasn’t compelling.
The romance was weird, too; she used to take care of this little boy named Xavier, but she ends up falling in love with him, and, because of all the stasis sleep Rose was put in, their ages end up balancing out. Yeah, it was strange. I never connected to their relationship at all.
The plot was lackluster, as well, which seems impossible, given that this is the plot: A girl wakes from stasis sleep to find out that all her loved ones have died and a robot assassin is out to kill her, but nobody knows who sent it.
Because I didn’t connect well with Rose, her loved ones’ deaths didn’t have the impact they were supposed to, and, though the scenes where the robot tries to assassinate her are terrifying, both the culprit behind the assassination attempts and their justifications for the attempts are confusing and, in my opinion, incredibly anti-climactic. I remember sitting there after I’d found out with a frown on my face, thinking, THAT’S why? Really? I kind of felt cheated (though, in retrospect, I can see that as being a nod to the original Sleeping Beauty and her parents’ desire to protect their daughter).
A final thing that bothered me: In the beginning, a boy wakes her up with a kiss. (I can’t remember his name for the life of me; that’s how much I didn’t care about this book.) Initially, his relationship to Rose is set up to be a bigger component of the story than it actually is, and, while I don’t need romance in my YA sci-fi, I would have liked the trajectory of their relationship to be a lot clearer.
(And that whole Otto and his fellow aliens subplot: interesting, but Otto and his character felt so random and out of place and…alien, I guess? I felt Otto was there to prove some other important point, but that point didn’t ever seem to be made, so I’m puzzled as to why that whole subplot was even really there at all.)
Most readers liked this book a lot, but I couldn’t find a single thing I enjoyed about it, and that’s why this is a one-star writing. It’s not an infuriating or problematic book, message-wise–I just didn’t care about anything or anyone. It’s unmemorable, and it fails to deliver in its promised epicness factor.
I wanted to love it. But by the time I finished, all I wanted to do was take a nap. A long, long nap.