Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Tyrant's Daughter by J.C. Carleson (Book Review)

*Disclosure of material connection-I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinionsstated are 100% my own.

About the book:

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:

I thought this was a very different premise for a YA novel and I liked the thought of that. The book was easy to read through fairly quickly as well, always a good thing in my book. I do think that many times kids/teenagers don't really understand each other's problems because they are so innately self absorbed and I think this book might open their eyes to what someone else might go through. This book was suspenseful and kept you wondering throughout exactly what it is Laila's father did in their home country and it also keeps you on edge trying to figure out if her mother was involved, but the most interesting parts of the story to me where the parts where Laila was trying to navigate through all of the changes around her from moving. I think it would be tough for anyone who hasn't moved to a different country to really wrap their heads around what a huge change it could be, especially someone moving from a repressed Middle Eastern area to the very lax by comparison United States, especially as a vulnerable teenager. I enjoyed the rest of the cast of characters too, the naïve and innocent Bastien, Laila's six year old brother, Laila's new classmates at school and her efforts to relate to them and Amir, someone around the same age from the same country as Laila, but her social inferior back home. The character development in this novel was outstanding, I really believed that each of these characters could be real people. I believe that the author, a former CIA agent, definitely used her prior job and her time living in the Middle East herself to come up with a believable cast of characters with a story that definitely could reflect real life in several ways. I felt like the ending was slightly predictable, but that is nothing that should stop anyone from reading this story. It was nice to have something different to read for a change, so I would recommend The Tyrant's Daughter to anyone who is looking for something slightly different than the norm, but still great fiction.

About the author:

J. C. CARLESON is a former undercover CIA officer who has navigated war zones, jumped out of airplanes, and worked on the frontlines of international conflicts. She now lives and writes in Virginia with her husband and two young sons. Her previous publications include the novel Cloaks and Veils, and Work Like a Spy: Business Tips from a Former CIA Officer.

Connect with J.C. Carleson on Goodreads

The Tyrant's Daughter will be available for purchase on February 11. You can pre-order your copy on

1 comment:

  1. This is a great, quick read; a real page-turner, but one that defies stereotypes. Recommended!

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