December 30, 2013

The Torturer's Daughter (Internal Defense #1) by Zoe Cannon

Title: The Torturer's Daughter (Internal Defense #1)
Author: Zoe Cannon
Publisher: Createspace
Publish Date: December 11, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

When her best friend Heather calls in the middle of the night, Becca Dalcourt assumes it's the usual drama. Wrong. Heather's parents have been arrested as dissidents - and Becca's mother, the dystopian regime's most infamous torturer, has already executed them for their crimes against the state. 
To stop Heather from getting herself killed trying to prove her parents' innocence, Becca hunts for proof of their guilt. She doesn't expect to find evidence that leaves her questioning everything she thought she knew about the dissidents... and about her mother. 
When she risks her life to save a dissident, she learns her mother isn't the only one with secrets - and the plot she uncovers will threaten the lives of the people she loves most. For Becca, it's no longer just a choice between risking execution and ignoring the regime's crimes; she has to decide whose life to save and whose to sacrifice. 
It's easy to be a hero when you can save the world, but what about when all you can do is choose how you live in it? THE TORTURER'S DAUGHTER is a story about ordinary life amidst the realities of living under an oppressive regime... and the extraordinary courage it takes to do what's right in a world gone wrong.

It's hard for me to articulate my thoughts about this book. They're very mixed. Part of me thinks I liked it more than I actually did but another part of me thinks it was worse than I think it was. So it's difficult for me to really say.

One thing I do know is that I was really confused for the entire first half of the novel. The author doesn't give us any background whatsoever on this new world we've been thrown into, so it's almost like stumbling around in the dark. You have to dig around and find out for yourself what it's like using a few clues. This bothered me a lot, and I found myself distracted by trying to figure out the world when I should have just focused on what I was reading.

Secondly, I felt like the characters were a bit impersonal. I didn't know much about any of them, because we were so focused on the plot and the fact that Becca was a dissident there wasn't room for anything else. I wish the author had stopped stressing that fact that Becca was a dissident. The revelation seemed to take up half the book. I got to the point where I just wanted to move on.

The writing wasn't anything amazing, but it definitely wasn't bad. I'd put it somewhere around mediocre, maybe average.

One thing I really did like about this book was the conflict. There was a lot of it, which is good, because I've recently read quite a few books where there is little to no conflict at all. Even when one thing seemed to be solved, another thing popped up. I think this was one element that really added to the story.

Another thing I enjoyed was the cliffhanger at the end. This book wasn't all that suspenseful, so when I read the cliffhanger I was pleasantly surprised. (Not that I love cliffhangers or anything, but it just created a suspense that hadn't been there during the rest of the novel.)

Overall, this book isn't the greatest YA dystopian novel I've read, and I definitely had some issues with it. But there were also things I liked about it. So if you're favorite genre is young adult dystopian you're probably going to enjoy reading this, even if it's not your favorite book in the world.


  1. I usually like dystopians...but I love characters. Like, a LOT. So if the characters lack a little, then I'm not so keen. Which is a pity, because the premise is quite awesome. (And creepy. That cover is just...creepy, yes.)

    1. I agree. The characters need to be great for me to love a book.

  2. Oh, that's too bad. This one sounded pretty good (and creepy). Excellent review!