Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 2062
Diverse YA!
Overall rating 
 
3.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
What I Liked:
Yet again, I picked up a book on audio that I wouldn’t have read under ordinary conditions. I like to experiment and push my boundaries with audiobooks. While I love books set in other countries and about other cultures, the focus of The Tyrant’s Daughter is more political than I generally like to read. I was totally right about the book being very political, but it was also thought-provoking, and I feel pretty good about my decision to branch out of my comfort zone.

In the wake of her father’s assassination during a coup, Laila and her family flee to the U.S. Very intentionally, as the author’s note clarifies, The Tyrant’s Daughter doesn’t take place in any specific country. Rather, it’s an amalgam of various Middle Eastern experiences. Using Laila’s family as representative, Carleson allows the reader to consider what life might be like and what the children of a tyrant might actually know. How culpable are they in the atrocities committed in their country?

Laila, at 15, has trouble settling into her new country, but her younger brother, age 6, falls into the new life fairly easily. Laila’s mother struggles with the idea of having to earn money and encounters difficulties with substance abuse. America is a shock to them, the sheer mass of available products, the clothing, and the gender roles are all overwhelming.

At first, Laila’s a bit disgusted by the U.S. and its culture, but as she researches her own country through American books and the internet, she gets a new view on what her own country was actually like. She learns, for the first time, that her father was actually a dictator, and that he allowed for massacres of his own people. She comes to question the loving father that she knew. She makes some friends: Emmy and Ian, with whom she has a bit of a romance, and comes to embrace a bit about this new world

Despite all that she learns, the U.S. never truly feels like home. Even her brother, who is most settled, never really sees the U.S. as where he belongs. They don’t feel as though they fit in, and want to make it back to their country. I love that Carleson did this, because I think it would have been so easy to write a story about them coming to America and being impressed, but I think the way that they love their country despite its myriad faults is more realistic. People are complex.

The plot focuses on the political struggles back home and the way they affect Laila and her mother. I really am not especially into politics, or I would have enjoyed the book more than I did. It’s well done, I think, particularly the juxtaposition between a terrorist bombing at home and a surprise vacation day from school in the U.S. because a bomb threat was called in to the school, which was viewed as a thing to celebrate by the students.

What Left Me Wanting More:
Meera’s narration works very well for Laila and family. However, I really didn’t care for the way she did the voices of the few American characters. They all had the exact same weird speech pattern that was almost valley girl, rather than a generic American accent. Both Laila’s American friends and Ian talked like that, and it was distracting and annoying. Otherwise, the audio was well done. I especially enjoyed the segments at the end from the author and Benard about the political events that informed the novel.

The Final Verdict:
The Tyrant’s Daughter is a character study of what it would be like to be in the family of a tyrant. It’s an excellent choice for readers who want to consider the ethics of such a situation or those who enjoy studying foreign cultures and politics.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Thomas Edison: Lighting the Way
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Learn about the life of Thomas Edison in this early...
Cuddle Close, Little Koala
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
A reassuring bedtime story about the special bond between a...
Pete the Cat: 5-Minute Bedtime Stories: Includes 12 Cozy Stories!
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Join Pete the Cat for 12 groovy, cozy stories perfect...
Rage and Ruin (The Harbinger, #2)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Half-angel Trinity and her bonded gargoyle protector, Zayne, have been...
Ty's Travels: All Aboard!
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Join Ty on his imaginative adventures in Ty's Travels: All...
Literally: Amazing Words and Where They Come From
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A stunning non-fiction picture book about the origins of the...
Sabina: In the Eye of the Storm
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
As in Anne Frank's "Diary of a Young Girl" and...
Ghost Wood Song
 
0.0
 
4.0 (1)
Sawkill Girls meets Beautiful Creatures in this lush and eerie...
My Love is All Around
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Mommy Bear shows Baby Bear how love is all around...
I'm not a Mouse!
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Olivia really doesn't like her nickname - mostly because it...
My Panda Sweater
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The other kids may laugh, but I always feel safe...
One Day on our Blue Planet... In the Outback
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
From breakfast to dinner, dusk to dawn, children will love...
Mrs Bibi's Elephant
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A heartwarming story with a message as big as an...
The State of Us
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
"Dre and Dean have got my vote!"—Adib Khorram, award-winning...
My Calamity Jane
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Welcome to 1876 America, a place bursting with gunslingers,...
Little Creeping Things
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
A compulsively readable debut with a narrator you just...

Latest Member Reviews

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids
 
4.7
"Elyse d’Abreau was on her way to becoming a star with her twin sister, a singing duo, when a tragic..."
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids
 
5.0
"You know that book. The one you want to soak up, but savor at the same time. The one..."
 
4.0
"The summer, California coast setting makes this a fun, winter read. The plot utilized a nice twist, with Matt's demise..."
The Book of Broken Hearts
 
4.3
"The Book of Broken Hearts is my first Sarah Ockler book and it definitely didn’t disappoint. I dived into this..."
The Book of Broken Hearts
 
5.0
"Love, love, love this book! It was unputdownable from the first page, up to the last. Sarah Ockler is one..."
 
5.0
"Twenty Boy Summer is one of the most emotional and moving contemporaries I’ve read in a long time. It’s the..."
The Book of Broken Hearts
 
5.0
"Well it looks like my first Sarah Ockler experience was a success! I was definitely captivated by the motorcycle hotness,..."
Bittersweet
 
4.0
"By the look of this cover, I was expecting something very girly and sweet. And that's exactly what I got...."
The Book of Broken Hearts
 
5.0
"This was a review that was very hard to write. I had so many feelings while reading this, I felt..."
Bittersweet
 
5.0
"Hudson Avery is dealing with…things. Things like her parents’ divorce, the collapse of her skating career, the loss of her..."
The Book of Broken Hearts
 
4.3
JenJen
"What I loved: I expected this to be just another tragic love story between a "good girl" and a "bad..."
Bittersweet
 
5.0
"I’m a huge Sarah Ockler fangirl, and while Bittersweet wasn’t as heartwrenching as her previous books, it was adorable and..."
Fixing Delilah
 
4.3
"I loved Sarah Ockler's other book, Twenty-Boy Summer, and I expected the same beautiful writing and heartfelt story for Fixing..."
Bittersweet
 
5.0
"Bittersweet is the perfect book to curl up with on a dreary winter day. I adored everything about Bittersweet..."
 
5.0
"Before this book, it had been a long time since a piece of literature made me cry. And not just..."
Bittersweet
 
3.0
"Hudson Avery was a fantastic skater, but when her father has an affair and leaves the family in New York..."
Bittersweet
 
4.0
"Hockey, cupcakes and a love story! What's not to like? I loved this book. It was my first Sarah..."
 
4.0
"Matt and his sister Francesca (Frankie) have been best friends with neighbor Anna forever. Anna’s been in love with..."
 
5.0
"Reader reviewed by The Library Lurker Wow. This book was...wow. I don't even know what to say, other than that..."
 
5.0
"Reader reviewed by Julie I love this book. Before I read it, I only stuck to fantasy and science fiction..."