ARC Review: The Torturer’s Daughter by Zoe Cannon


Title: The Torturer’s Daughter
Author: Zoe Cannon
Publisher/Year: CreateSpace Independent Publishing 12/11/13
Length:  274 pages



When her best friend Heather calls in the middle of the night, Becca 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 teenage 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

My Thoughts

I was in the market for a new dystopian to get into, since i’m always interested in what POV they would take things – would it be a society that’s formed based on over throwing the government or was it a result of disease or war?  In this case we learn that it’s in response to something political, but that’s about as far as we get.

We are first introduced to Becca when her best friend Heather calls her to get her out of 117 which is a processing center where ‘dissidents’ are taken once they are arrested.  Dissidents here are the ones that are against the government and must be killed or held captive until they are proven to be useful. 

This night is really the turning point for Becca since her life begins to change from here.  While her friend Heather is released, Heather’s parents are not, and it’s from Becca’s mother that she learns that Heather’s parents were dissidents.  this opens Becca’s eyes to the fact that maybe all that she knows isn’t the truth, and she begins to question everything.  She wonders if her mom is lying to her about everything and what can be believed.  While she tried to stand up for Heather in school since everyone now thinks that she’s one of the opposition, Becca finds herself in the line of fire as well.  It’s through the help of a boy – Jake that she feels like someone is on their side. 

Jake has a past of his own, he used to live in their town and ‘disappeared’ for a few years, only to return now.  Becca is quite skeptical of his presence, and wonders if he’s a spy or is looking to do more harm than good, even when he seems interested in her. 

So, what we get here is a story that’s quite YA in nature, with bits of Dystopia peppered in. 

What frustrates me about this story though is that we get ZERO backstory.  what i mean by this is that we have no idea why society is the way that it is and what happened to make it this way.  We also really only get to scratch the surface on anything.  meaning relationships and the sort.  It took me a little time to get into the story at first since i kept waiting for something to happen.  with the opening being as exciting as it was, Becca running in the middle of the night to save her friend, we go downhill from there.  I still to this moment have no idea what the dissidents actually do, if they are talking about overthrowing anything, or what exactly the deal is.  

If this is a series (i’m not sure if it is, although the ending implied more to come) then i think that the 2nd installment really needs to take us a step back to understand things.  I also think that there needs to be a bit more character development since we get a tease of what life was like when Becca’s parents were together, but i’m curious if her father will play a bigger role in the future?

so…all in all, average – i’d love to get someone else’s opinion on this.  The good news for you guys if you don’t get ARCs, it’s available for $0.99 today online if you want to pick it up and see for yourself! 


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