The Tyrant’s Daughter by J.C. Carleson

Note: I received a copy of The Tyrant’s Daughter through NetGalley in exchange for a review.

Honestly I’m not entirely certain why I picked The Tyrant’s Daughter off of the NetGalley website because it’s not a genre that I typically choose. I’m usually drawn primarily to fantasy, historical fiction, or mystery and I would not consider The Tyrant’s Daughter to be any of the above. Instead it was a very realistic examination of how a teenage girl named Laila deals with some very big changes in her life.

When the story begins Laila and her family, exiles from an unnamed Muslim country, are getting used to their recent move to the United States. Soon enough Laila, who grew up believing her father to be a King soon learns that others called him by much worse names such as tyrant, dictator and that he was the reason why hundreds were killed back in her home country. So not only does she have to deal with learning a very different, very unfamiliar culture she is also worried about what she’s learning about her father and as to why her mother keeps alternating between meeting with CIA agents and meeting with rebels who would have violently opposed her father’s rule.

What I really liked was the emotional growth that Laila went through during the course of the novel. It was interesting because it was so realistic, meaning that at the very base of things she had thoughts that would be very common for teenagers everywhere but she also had the views associated with being a fish out of water, a girl trying to fit into a country that was not her own. She was a relatable and very fleshed out character as were most of her friends and family members.

I especially liked how throughout the novel she wavered as to what she truly wanted to embrace, her Muslim values and upbringing or her chance at a different life in America, and at the end she made the best of both choices by taking matters into her hands. So although I wasn’t as interested in this as I have been in other books I’m still glad I took the chance to read it.

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