The Tyrant’s Daughter by JC Carleson


JCCarleson-The-Tyrant's-DaughterI was in the mood for a good heart breaking read and I totally found it in The Tyrant’s Daughter by J. C. Carleson. Now it’s not part of LE’s usual fare, there are no werewolves or vampires or robots, instead it’s loosely based on factual events and the world we actually live in. This novel is eye opening and depressing. Trust me, it will touch your heart with its horrifying realism.

THERE: In an unnamed Middle Eastern country, fifteen-year-old Laila has always lived like royalty. Her father is a dictator of sorts, though she knows him as King—just as his father was, and just as her little brother Bastien will be one day. Then everything changes: Laila’s father is killed in a coup.

HERE: As war surges, Laila flees to a life of exile in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Overnight she becomes a nobody. Even as she adjusts to a new school and new friends, she is haunted by the past. Was her father really a dictator like the American newspapers say? What was the cost of her family’s privilege?

Far from feeling guilty, her mother is determined to regain their position of power. So she’s engineering a power play—conspiring with CIA operatives and rebel factions to gain a foothold to the throne. Laila can’t bear to stand still as yet another international crisis takes shape around her. But how can one girl stop a conflict that spans generations?

First of all, I’m going to be a bit vague about this novel. It’s one of those if I give too much away it steals the power type situations. I don’t want to lessen the impact for you so I’m going to skip major details.  Please forgive me.

Anyway, like the synopsis says, Laila and her family are from the Middle East and they must relocate to the U.S. for protection. I love that we see how drastically different these two places/cultures are. Laila is used to wearing veils, not having much contact with boys outside of her immediate family, and having strict rules to follow. (Other than that though, she’s a normal teenager.) Coming to the U.S. is a huge shock on her because everything is the opposite of how she was raised.  Seriously, just walking down the crowded hallway at school sends her into a panic attack! While she’s trying to adjust, she’s also learning the truth about her family and her homeland.  There everything is restricted and must be approved before seeing or reading it, so she never had the opportunity to find out what was really going on.  In the U.S. she has access to all of the truth, and sadly, Laila learns the hard way that appearances can be deceiving. Watching her struggle, with adjusting and learning the truth, is truly heartrending.

As for the backbones of the storyline, I really liked that each chapter is relatively short and to the point. There are descriptions and inner monologue of course, but none are drawn out for paragraphs with unneeded fluff.  You are given just enough information to grasp the situation and the emotions, before the story moves on. Surprisingly though, the characters are dimensional and constantly evolving. Ms. Carelson does a great job at making them appear real with individual quirks and ‘voices’ with such simplicity.  Even the situations she puts them in are straightforward and to the point, but have great impact just the same.  That’s not to say everything is morose, it’s not. Carleson gives a nice mix of hope and despair, which keeps the storyline from being too depressing, or too easy.

I’d like to point out that there wasn’t a lot of action, per say, in The Tyrant’s Daughter; this isn’t one of those jumps from extreme emergency to the next type of plot lines. The majority of the action is based around Laila adapting and learning the truth, which is intense enough. Personally I think her and her family go through plenty that an endless supply of bloody fight scenes or dangerous situations were not needed. So if you want bomb threats or gun shots on every page, this isn’t the novel for you.

The Tyrant’s Daughter brings to life the dark and dangerous world that we only see on the news.  It will make you thankful for what you have, and make you wish that you could help the people experiencing this sad and scary kind of life.  I know it left it’s mark on my heart, and I’m positive if you give this novel a chance, it will leave one on yours as well.

About Nikki R 120 Articles
SAHM of 2, happily married bookworm, blogger and aspiring author. If I could read/write all day, every day, I would. Luckily I have a very understanding, and patient, husband who lets me get away with it as much as possible. Now if only the kids would understand my obsession, and the house would clean itself, then I'd be all set.