Monday, February 10, 2014

Title: The Tyrant's Daughter
Author: J.C. Carlson
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Random House Children's
Publication Date: February 11th, 2014
Source: received from publisher via NetGalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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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? 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.
Every once in a while, I’ll get the urge to read something I normally wouldn’t. When I got an email about The Tyrants Daughter, I almost passed it up, but then I could not stop thinking about it. It was a gamble but in the end, I decided to give it a shot.

The Tyrants Daughter is not an easy read. It’s written beautifully, but it’s a hard subject. This stuff usually doesn’t interest me. The World News is never on in my house. Out of sight, out of mind, but this stuff told from the pov of a teenager? Well it worked for me and I really liked it.

Laila is ripped from her home in the Middle East immediately following the murder of her father. Her mother is a wreck, and her little brother is for the most part clueless about what really went down. They were both brought up like royalty, believing their father was a king.

Now adjusting to American life, Laila is faced with news reports and Internet articles telling her otherwise. Was her father a Monster or a King? He’s not around to defend himself, so what is she to believe? Watching Laila struggle with all these truths was heartbreaking.

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This story isn’t just about the grief of losing her father though, there are still a lot of politics at play. I can’t go into too much detail without spoiling, but I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see how it would all end up.

One of my favorite things was Laila adjusting to life in America. There is one scene where she tells her new friends a story from her home, and it really showed how different their cultures were. I loved how we got to see how America is viewed through Laila’s eyes. It really felt authentic.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Tyrant's Daughter. It’s not for everyone, and I’m surprised it was even for me but sometimes reading out of your comfort zone can pay off! 

J.C. CarlesonAbout the author:

J.C. Carleson never intended to be an author. Although she was always a proficient writer of term papers, reports, and other necessary but mundane documents, she didn't consider herself
cut out for the creative life. Nearly a decade as an officer in the CIA's clandestine service changed that. With her head now brimming with stories of intrigue, scandal, and exotic locales, Carleson was finally ready to give writing a shot. Her fiction and non-fiction works alike tap into her unique experiences, drawing readers into the highly charged, real world of espionage.

Find J.C. Carleson:

Website | Goodreads


  1. This book would definitely interest me. I'm a bit into world politics nowadays so it'll be interesting to see this story unfold. I guess if Kadafi was alive and had a daughter who did not know how much of a monster her father is, this would probably be her story? Really excited to read this now.

    Great review!

  2. This looks really interesting, I'll have to check it out. Great review! P.S.-- Your blog design is SUPER pretty! :)

  3. I got a copy of this from ALA and though it looked really interesting. I'm glad to see that you enjoyed the story. Politics isn't my favorite element, but I do like the culture clashes and differences in Laila's former home and America. This one sounds fascinating!

  4. I'm glad to see that overall you enjoyed this book. I got that email and decided to pass it up because I was afraid it might be too heavy. I am glad to know the writing was beautifully done. I'd be interested in seeing America from a different perspective. Great review April!

  5. It's so true that reading out of your normal comfort zone can really pay off. I'm really not that into politics or world news, for the most part, either. There are just so many bad things happening in the world, and it is hard to stomach it all. I like the idea of seeing America through a non-native's eyes, and I love books that give you an edge-of-your-seat feeling. I may have to check this one out. Great review!

  6. I love these kinds of books! I've had my eye on this one for a while, so I should really look into it more seriously. The cultural aspects are always HUGELY interesting for me. It's like getting a sneak peek into someone's "real"ish sort of life. Interesting. :)

  7. I enjoyed this one. I did wish that it had been based on a real country rather than a composite, but I thought it was interesting and well-done overall.
    Jen @ YA Romantics


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