The Tyrant’s Daughter is an intense book of a royal family torn apart by the civil war in their country. As the title suggests the book is written in 15-year old Laila’s voice. Her family flees their home country in middle-east after the assassination of the “king”- her father. While living in exile in the US, Laila struggles with the differences between this land of plenty and her own oppressed home country. As she is trying to separate her new life from her old one, her past and present continue to collide in school and at home.
The author has a done a wonderful job with Laila’s character. A 15-year old coming to grips with her father’s deeds, struggling with an American lifestyle and trying to find a balance between the two colliding worlds; is expressed beautifully by J C Carleton. The side characters of Bastein, Emmy, Ian and Amir are also expressed quite well. As an immigrant to US myself, I could identify with many aspects of societal behavior which are confusing to Laila.
Though I wish we could have known about Laila’s mother, there’s almost nothing to character except that she’s cunning, manipulative but loves her children and wants to be on the top. I did like the way it leaves Laila’s future life to the imagination of the readers. But I wish the author wouldn’t have ended all their problems so abruptly. All in all, I would recommend this book to someone who wants to read about the collateral damages of any war. It’s not the dead who suffer, it’s the living who continue to suffer during and after any kind of civil war.