ARC Review: The Tyrant's Daughter by J.C Carleson

The Tyrant's Daughter
J.C. Carleson
Published February 11th 2014
E-book 304 pages
E-book copy provided by Netgalley in exchange of an honest review
Genre Young Adult 

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. 

The Tyrant's Daughter is unlike any book I have ever read. Laila is a 15 year old girl who is uprooted from her lavished (and royal) lifestyle after her father is killed. Her family leaves their Country (an unknown place in the middle east) to live in exile in Washington.
Laila goes from being part of the royal family to absolutely nobody in a flash. 

So now Laila is in a new country trying to fit in, make friends, and on top of it she learns her father is not at al who she thought he was. 

This book had a lot of oppurtunity to shine. Unfortunately I am one of the few that felt this book was a bit bland. I couldn't connect with Laila because she had no emotion pouring through her. It felt as if Laila was having an out of body experience watching herself just make it in America and recounting it all to us. I didn't feel bad for her and I wanted to, my gosh the girl had been through quite an ordeal,  but her character didn't convince me of it at all. At times I felt the details were drug out. If this novel was in diary form from Lailas point of view I could understand all the unnecessary details.

I enjoyed Bastien the little Prince. He was a breath of fresh air. A little bossy some what annoying, but hey isnt that what am little brother is?
I think her mothers character was done correctly. I didn't like her. I found her to be self centered and selfish.

The only other thing I dislike about this book is its very shallow. It only scratches the very surface of something that could have easily gone more in depth. I mean this is a very controversial matter, get in there and get dirty. Dig deeper. I wanted to know more a lot more than just the surface of whats going on. 

With that being said there were a lot of aspects I enjoyed. The book is well written, a tinge too descriptive but still well written.  The characters developed beautifully. I loved Emmy the instant I met her. Some characters scared me a bit. But they did what they were created for! The author did an excellent job on her first novel and I look forward to reading more. I also feel she was very ballsy to write on a topic that is so controversial.  

This isnt your typical YA book there isn't romance and you don't have your fairytale ending. The book is real. And I can definitely appreciate that!


  1. Glad the story had a real feel and left out the sometimes over used romance aspect. This sounds like a very good read despite the potentially bland character.

  2. It really is, its very interesting. I just had problems connecting with the emotions in the book. But I def. Give the author Kudos for the risky subject material!


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