The Tyrant’s Daughter by JC Carleson | Audiobook Review

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Tyrant’s Daughter by JC Carleson | Audiobook ReviewThe Tyrant's Daughter by J.C. Carleson
Narrator: Meera Simhan
Length: 8 Hours 32 Minutes
Published by Random House LLC on 2014-02-11
Genres: Emigration & Immigration, Middle East, People & Places, Royalty, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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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?

Why Did I Listen To This Book?

I listened to The Tyrant’s Daughter by JC Carleson first and foremost because a link to it came in my email, if we are being totally honest here. And second of all, because Christina at Reader Of Fictions reviewed it and while she did not love it, the reasons that she pointed out as to why she did not love it were things that appeal to me, mainly the political things. Friends, I love books with political themes and so, I began reading this book and was incredibly impressed by Carleson’s depiction of Laila, a girl who is coming to terms with how outsiders view her father. 

What’s The Story Here?

Laila’s dad is leader of an unnamed nation in the Middle East. He is killed in a coup and so Laila and her family flee to America. Her mother and brother Bastian have a hard time adjusting. Laila fits in okay with her classmates, though. Yet, Laila misses her old life of tutors and luxury. However, she begins to see that maybe her dad was not the great guy that she thought he was and so, Laila spends much of the book learning about what exactly he did in her old country. She also spends time making a friend named Emmy who teaches Laila what it means to be a real friend and also about one super important thing, DANCING. She also meets this guy, whose name I blank on because it’s been a few months since I listened to this audiobook. ALSO! Laila is busy interacting with lower class ex patriots of her old country, people whom she is only talking with now because her family has fallen so low. Also, there’s CIA operatives interested in Laila, too. Oh yeah and her Uncle is a total religious tyrant and he’s starting to take over and rule Laila’s country. There’s a whole lot going on in The Tyrant’s Daughter by JC Carleson and I promise it is totally not nearly as convoluted as I make it out to be.

How Is The Writing?

Carleson’s writing really works for me. I felt very drawn into Laila’s tale. I loved learning about her old country. I loved the bits she would drop in of Laila’s memory. I liked that Laila was having cognitive dissonance regarding her perceptions of her father and the world’s perceptions of her father. This book is not overly complicated or hard to follow which I think is a good thing to be when you are listening to an audiobook.

How Is The Narration?

The very best thing about JC Carleson’s The Tyrant’s Daughter is the audiobook narration. Meera Simhan is utterly perfect. She has this haughty accent and still manages to sound like a teenager at the same time. Albeit, a very refined teenager. Simhan nails pacing and emotion. I am so impressed with her narration. If you are looking for a great audiobook that’s not over the top or annoying, listen to this one. It’s also a really quick listen to. OH and it is published by Listening Library and they know what they are doing, so this is guaranteed to have good production values.

Who Would I Recommend This Book To?

  • Readers who like politics
  • Readers who like conflicted characters
  • People with an interest in refugees and ex-patriots

Sum It Up With A GIF:

Basically, yes this is perfect to describe Laila and her feels upon learning all the bad news.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I added this to my Amazon wishlist a few months ago on a whim so I’m glad to come across a positive review for it. The story sounds like something I would wish for in a tv show or a plotline in Homeland so I’m excited to pick up a copy soon. Great review, April.

  2. Poor Laila. How hard would it be to lose everything you have and then to also learn that your father, who you love and adore, isn’t who you thought he was. What a horrible wake-up call.

  3. I liked this book. I reviewed it for my blog too. I’m blanking on his name too since it’s been awhile, but I expected the boy from her country to be like a spy and be the one that was gathering intel from her and her family.

  4. I am very intrigued by The Tyrant’s Daughter. It sounds like an incredible story, and I’m very interested to see how Laila manages to handle everything that’s put on her shoulders. Glad to hear that you enjoyed this one!

  5. I’ve been intrigued about this book, so I’m glad to see that it’s as good as it sounds. It’s not the type of book I typically read, but it sounds like something that might make me want to branch out a bit. And audiobook seems like it might be the way to go with this one!