General rating: ★★★★
Diversity rating: ★★★☆ (POC, LGBT+ (lesbian), minority (Russian?), disability (limp))
In Ageless Sleep by Arden Ellis is a short novella that you can read in less than two hours that takes place in space. It’s a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, but then ten times more awesome than the original. It’s a book that I believe is meant as an adult book, but might as well be YA.
In Ageless Sleep by Arden Ellis
Mal is a spy, a misanthrope, and a coward; growing up in the brutal Reaches has taught her that honor is a quality best left to the dead. Her latest mission: to hijack a cryo-ship carrying the brilliant daughter of the Sovereign King, and deliver her straight into enemy hands.
But when a vital component of the ship’s cryostasis system malfunctions, the only person who can keep the unconscious passengers alive is the woman Mal was sent to kidnap. Alone together on a ship of silent sleepers, Mal must remember that she and Aurora are enemies—or risk them becoming something much more dangerous.
I loved the characters in this book, both Mal and Rory (Aurora) were diverse characters with different backgrounds, that had different views of each other and of the world. Both are strong, independent, and interesting women. They are enemies, Rory is Mal’s prisoner, but over time they become something resembling friends. This process was very interesting to follow.
“You could at least talk to me,” she said. “I can’t imagine you enjoy the silence any more than I do.”
“I’m not much of a conversationalist,” Mal replied without feeling.
“Luckily for you, I’m a captive audience.”
Mal glanced up at Rory in order to see her brief, wry smile. “That joke was terrible,” Mal said.
“I know. But it got you to look at me, didn’t it?”
The world it was set in was simple and beautifully sketched. Pretty much the entire story takes place on a spaceship, on which Mal is in charge of a small population of cryo-sleeping prisoners. This simple story is happening in a world with political drama and wars, which are vital for the story.
The thing that really started to bug me was how short it was. Only when I was almost finished with this book I realised how few pages I had left. It made me really sad, because I would have loved to read way way way more about Rory and Mal in this world. I wish everything was just a little more elaborate, I would love to know more about the world it was set in, I would love to see their relationship develop even more, I would love to know more. That is really the only thing that disappointed me in this book, that there wasn’t enough of it.
I will be giving this book ★★★★ (4 stars) because though it was short, it was awesome. I would definitely recommend this very short novel if you like science fiction stories, lgbt+ romance or retellings. The book reminded me of the movie Passengers (2016), but then in a way less creepy stalker kind of way.
She and Mal weren’t so different in the end. They were both in stasis, hanging between one state and another, with no way of knowing what the world would look like when they woke up.