February 10, 2014

Book Review: The Tyrant's Daughter

The Tyrant's DaughterTitle: The Tyrant's Daughter.
Author: J.C. Carleson.
Series: no.
Pages: 304.
Source: Netgalley.
Publisher: Knopf Books.
Published Date: 2/11/14.
Barnes and Noble.


"From a former CIA officer comes the riveting account of a royal Middle Eastern family exiled to the American suburbs. 

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? "

My Thoughts:

Fifteen year old Laila didn't know her father was a tyrant. She didn't know her father was a dictator. She didn't know her father was killing people daily. She didn't believe it. What fifteen year old would?

When her father was murdered by her abusive uncle, Laila, her mother and her little brother, who thinks he's king, were all moved to the suburbs in America. They are now living a completely different life, than what they are used to. Laila every inch of her body, to prevent anything from showing, she attends school, talks to boys and does a lot of other things she would never be able to do back at home.

But things aren't as simple as they seem. Laila quickly learns who her father is and what he has done both through the news and through the internet. Not only is she dealing with the entire change of lifestyle and scenery, but also with her mother who has turned to alcohol, and her baby brother who doesn't know what's TRULY going on, but is just LOVING America...especially the cereal.

Her mother isn't tell Laila what's going on, or who the people are that keep showing up in their new home. So she decides to take her upon herself to figure things out, and get back what belonged to her and her family.

Final Verdict:

I went into reading this book, having no idea what it was about, except that I LOVED the cover.

Laila was young, only fifteen years old, dealing with a huge amount of pressure pushing down on her shoulders, and acted extremely mature; which I liked. This was actually my biggest worry! With such serious issues and problems, I was nervous about having a main character that was only fifteen. I was worried that it would become more about high school drama, than the real situation at hand...But thank goodness Laila was far from that.

Overall I truly enjoyed the story! I liked watching Laila and her little brother open up to a whole different type of society and way of living. Her thoughts at the beginning of the book, about what the girls in her new high school were wearing, and how they were so exposed, was EXTREMELY interesting. It shows just how different their thinking is to the thinking of Americans.

The Tyrant's Daughter was a type of book that I would never pick up, but I'm really happy I did! Carleson's writing style was so intricate and detailed about the middle eastern thoughts, ideas and way of living. The ending was truly phenomenal, and I can't wait to pick up more books from this author!


  1. This book sounds reeeally cool and amazing and scary. ;) I've seen it around a bit but hadn't read a review yet. So thank you. XD I love books that are kind of "different" and this doesn't sound like the average YA highschool drama, so I'm totally in.

  2. Whoa this premise sounds really cool and unique, setting apart from all the rest of YAs. I would think the story has a lot more dark elements than others, revealing truths about wars, about changes. Though seeing that Laila is only 15, I'm not sure the mature voice I pictured in my head right now would exactly fit the actual teenage girl's perspective, but I will look out for it :) Thanks Lisa!

  3. I don't think this book would be something I enjoy, but I am glad that you gave it a chance!


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