Review: The Terrorist’s Daughters

Title: The Terrorist’s Daughters
Author: Brian Arthur Levene
Format: Paperback
Notes: I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.

When the PR person from Gully Gods publishing asked me if I would like a copy of The Terrorist’s Daughters in exchange for an honest review, my thought process went: Hey, that’s a nice cover! It looks like something from an Isabel Allende novel. Maybe this will be a thought-provoking story!

In retrospect, I really should have checked the book out before I said yes.

Far from being a thought-provoking story about gender politics in the Middle East, The Terrorist’s Daughters by Brian Arthur Levene is a racist, Islamaphobic, badly-written horror show of a story which took me three goes to actually finish.

The plot concerns the daughters of a terrorist, Omar, who moved to Pakistan from the U.S. some years before the start of the novel. After the oldest daughter, Ambriel, disappears, the two younger girls, Aalia and Zarah, run away from home. It turns out that Zarah was brainwashed by Ambriel into a stone-cold killing machine, and, relying on her skills, the girls manage to escape Pakistan. Once out, they meet several new people, including a Chinese hacker, and begin their vendetta to bring down Omar.

This book is pretty bad; I put the book down twice because I just couldn’t stand it, but I had accepted it from the publisher, so I determined to finish it and marathoned through to the ending.

The bad

  • There’s no getting away from the racism and Islamaphobia in this thing. It’s on every page. Not only is Omar a top guy in al Qaeda, he’s also the head of a heroin cartel (naturally); all of Pakistan is portrayed as being dirty, violent, and populated solely by Muslim radicals who would happily kidnap the girls and take them back to their father, who not only beats but sexually abuses them. Pretty much everyone who is Muslim in the book turns out to be evil, and early on in the story, the girls read the Christian bible to escape mentally. The hacker the girls meet is a Chinese immigrant in Dubai who is there illegally; her family are filthy and live in a tiny hovel, and they hitch a ride on a cargo ship which turns out to be a sex ring operation. The girls go to Mexico: the only two Mexicans you meet are Pancho, a pilot who turns out to be a pot smuggler, and Armando, a sexy, married man who nevertheless flirts with the Zahra and Aalia’s long-lost half-sister.
  • Even if it weren’t horribly racist, the book is also badly written. There’s pretty much no character growth, plot twists come out of nowhere with no foreshadowing, none of the characters are really empathetic, though they’re obviously meant to be, and the ending is bizarre and makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
  • Most of the characters are caricatures: Lili is an Asian hacker straight out of a bad 80s movie, Nawreh’s the sweet old biddy, Taylor is the American ditz, and Zahra is the brainwashed, kick-butt assassin. To add insult to injury, they’re not even well-done caricatures, and Aalia, one of the main, viewpoint characters, falls completely flat and seems to have little, if any, personality.


The meh

  • To top the sundae off with a cherry, there are several very notable grammar and spelling mistakes, including several instances of a character’s name being misspelled.


The good

  • As previously mentioned, the cover’s kind of pretty, although the author’s name and title are awkwardly placed. That is literally the only nice thing I can say about this book.

In conclusion, The Terrorist’s Daughters is just a badly-written, racist book, and the only reason I finished it was because I felt I owed it to the publisher, who sent me a free copy. I would not recommend it to anyone; in fact, if possible, I would anti-recommend it. Flipping to the last page of this book was the only thing part of this reading experience that I enjoyed.


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