The Tyrant’s Daughter by J.C. Carleson

The Tyrant's DaughterFor another Great review of this book go here:


When her father is killed in a coup, 15-year-old Laila flees from the war-torn middle east to a life of exile and anonymity in the U.S. Gradually she adjusts to a new school, new friends, and a new culture, but while Laila sees opportunity in her new life, her mother is focused on the past. She’s conspiring with CIA operatives and rebel factions to regain the throne their family lost. Laila can’t bear to stand still as an international crisis takes shape around her, but how can one girl stop a conflict that spans generations?

J.C. Carleson delivers a fascinating account of a girl—and a country—on the brink, and a rare glimpse at the personal side of international politics.

*Bonus Backmatter includes a note about the author’s CIA past, and a commentary by RAND researcher and president of ARCH International, Dr. Cheryl Benard. Recommendations for further reading are also included. The Tyrant’s Daughter by J.C. Carleson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was an interesting book, but not one that I would have ever thought of as intended for a younger than adult audience if I hadn’t read the blurb first. The portions of this book that deal with teen angst and the struggle to find a place to fit in were definitely age appropriate, but I’m not sure how much the average teen would get out of the rest of it.

The narrator’s voice in this book is very strong. Laila is a character that breaks down the walls surrounding her life and lets the reader in, but at the same time I felt the author was being guarded with how much she put into this book. Perhaps that was because of the intended age group.

Learning about the world that this family came from was interesting, although it was never actually clear exactly where they were supposed to be from (the author explains this in the after thoughts.) The use of current events in this book made it seem very real and at times I forgot that I wasn’t reading a true account of a young woman’s life.

My favourite character was Ian. I would have liked to have seen a better closure to the relationship with him though. Amir was another very memorable character. The author did an excellent job of displaying his emotions and giving him a reason to be the solemn, angry boy that he was.

I did not like the mother of the main character. She came off on multiple occasions as intentionally cruel and deceitful. I didn’t feel this was just to protect the interests of her family or even for revenge. She simply had a mean streak.

Still, this was an attention grabbing book and the author clearly had a lot of material at her disposal to write a solid book. I would read another book by this author.

Overall, I found this to be an intense book that gave me a lot of reasons to stop and think about culture, life and loyalty.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from Netgalley and provided by the publisher.

View all my reviews


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