Beauty Sleep by Kathryn Evans
Laura was dying. There was no cure for her illness. So her family decided to grasp a desperate last hope – Laura was frozen until she could be cured.
But what happens when you wake up one day and the world has moved on forty years? Your best friend is middle-aged, your parents presumed dead. Could you find a new place to belong? Could you build a new life – while solving the mystery of what happened to the old one?
Dark secrets lurk in the future of the girl from the past…
This caught my eye. Cryogenics isn’t a new topic, or at least not to me. It has been one of those things you hear about then the nosie about it quietens, then someone else does it, then again quiet…
Anyway, the premise sounded interesting, and I read it quite quickly. We have two POV in this book, which took me by surprise when we get to the second POV. We have Laura and we have Shem.
And as much as Laura is the main character I want to talk a little about Shem first. To begin with, we just get dropped into Shem’s chapters without any introduction on him (as in, the premise and previous chapters do not tell you anything that would make him meaningful to you in that first Shem chapter). And he’s a “homeless” boy trying to keep himself alive in a world that doesn’t like homeless people. He is experiencing this as Laura is learning that she’s been revived and the rest of the stuff. His chapters weren’t that interesting to me, and pretty much I knew Shem’s “secret plot twist” before the end of his first chapter. So by the end of that chapter I was pretty much over his chapters (and for the rest of the book, Shem chapters just didn’t grab me).
Now back to Laura. Laura’s story was what kept me reading this book. She wakes up in this future world, 40 years later. And her body is readjusting. She has to remember her memories in an “empty” mind. (I liked the take that you just don’t wake up knowing everything as if you had gone to sleep, but that due to being frozen and revived, you “reset” your brain a little and have to work for the memories to crop up).
The process of “adjusting” to the year 2028 (which isn’t that far away for us) was interesting and then her process trying to figure out who she is, where she belongs and what place Miss Lilly has in her life was wonderful. Plus the “secret” was quite interesting and it had layers to it (some of them quite predictable, maybe not to the exact detail but something along those lines and a few I did get quite close to the exact details… I read a lot, do science and play videogames, so no surprise there).
I didn’t know what to think of Laura at first, I was intrigued because as a reader you know exactly as much as she does (and maybe even a little more, but not enough) so you discover the world with and through her. That was one of my favourite parts of this story. There is also the focus on beauty and staying young, which was also interesting to read and consider to what point we are to get in the search for that perfect wrinkle free anti aging magic.
All in all the book was interesting, and the story was also quite good. My biggest issue was Shem and his whole plot line. I could’ve done without a POV from him or maybe just a lot less of his POV because there are some intersting bits in his chapters, but they contribute more to worldbuilding and to setting up plot than to helping Shem specifically. Not that this means it should be that way, just that I would’ve enjoyed it a lot more that way. (But I am learning, after reading Shadowscent that I can do without the whole one chapter POV1 the next POV2 as it tends to feel forced, I prefer the POV chapters to work with the story rather than having to stick to one and one, very few stories can pull this well).
Would I recommend this? Yes! I like that is is a take on Sleeping Beauty and not a retelling. Plus it actually ponders on the concept and cost of beauty. It was a quick read and I was pleased when I finished it.