Monday, June 8, 2020

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

A Tyrant's Daughter by C.J. Carleson

This YA novel was a quick read that kept me absorbed from the first page to the last.

Book Details:

Book Title: The Tyrant's Daughter by J.C. Carleson 
Category: YA Fiction,  304 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release date: Feb. 11, 2014
Content Rating: PG + M (Heavy kissing and references to war violence)

Book Description:

When her father is killed in a coup, Laila and her mother and brother leave their war-torn homeland for a fresh start in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.

At her new high school, Laila makes mistakes, makes friends, and even meets a boy who catches her eye. But this new life brings unsettling facts to light. The American newspapers call her father a brutal dictator and suggest that her family’s privilege came at the expense of innocent lives. Meanwhile, her mother would like nothing more than to avenge his death, and she’ll go to great lengths to regain their position of power.

As an international crisis takes shape around her, Laila is pulled in one direction, then another, but there’s no time to sort out her feelings. She has to pick a side now, and her decision will affect not just her own life, but countless others. . . .

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

The Tyrant's Daughter explores a teen Middle-Eastern princess' disrupted life when everything she's known is suddenly gone and she is thrust into a country and culture very different from her own. When her father is assassinated, Laila along with her 6-year-old brother Bastien and her mother are whisked to the US. Gone is her privileged life with servants, bodyguards, and tutors. She now lives in an apartment building, attends high school, and needs to learn to navigate a whole different world, all while coming to terms with her father's murder and her mother's schemes to get revenge on the new regime so they could have their life back.

This YA novel was a quick read that kept me absorbed from the first page to the last. Laila was a complex character, who reveals what is going on in layers as she experiences the sudden changes to her life and to the way she sees the world. She lives through periods of fear, panic, uncertainly, anger, and wild abandon as she comes to terms with a father who loved her and his family, but who was also a dictator despised by many. 

I enjoy books that make the reader see our world through different eyes. Laila was an immigrant and she came from a high social status. She sees her culture through the eyes of Americans and we see her culture through her young innocent eyes. This new perspective forces her to open her eyes, to learn about politics in her country, to grow up. Gone is the once sheltered girl who was used to being driven in limousines. Instead, Laila is exposed to truths that embolden her to take action.

In a world where racism is still a big problem, books like The Tyrant's Daughter help readers to see both sides of the picture. Told in the first-person POV, we journey with Laila as she builds resilience to cope with the ravages of war and the death of her naiveté. A very compelling read.

Disclosure: I borrowed this from the library. I was not compensated in any way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

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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 writes when she’s not traveling the globe with her husband and two young sons. Her previous publications include The Tyrant’s Daughter, Placebo Junkies, Cloaks and Veils, and Work Like a Spy: Business Tips from a Former CIA Officer.

Connect with J.C: Website

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