A Cave in the Clouds

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 23 Oct 2019

Member Reviews

(Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a digital ARC of this book.)

A Cave in the Clouds is the true story of 18-year-old Badeeah Hassan’s kidnapping and torture by ISIS. In 2014, Daesh (a branch of ISIS) moved into Badeeah’s hometown in Iraq in an effort to commit genocide against the Ezidi people who lived there. Many women and children (including Badeeah and her young nephew) were kidnapped and forced into a human trafficking network. Along the way, Badeeah befriends another Ezidi woman, Navine, who would help her through many atrocities she’d face while kidnapped. Badeeah is eventually sold to a high-ranking ISIS commander - who was an American - where she was kept as his slave, beaten and raped repeatedly.

In order to survive the terrible conditions she is forced into, Badeeah often reflects upon her childhood memories and stories about perseverance, strength, faith, and love. Badeeah’s reflections about how her mother and father always taught her to believe that love could overpower evil were incredibly powerful and beautiful to read. I was also so intrigued while reading, as I had never really heard much about the genocide of the Ezidi people nor the history behind their religious beliefs. 

This was a mesmerizing story about how love, courage, and resilience provided Badeeah with the strength to survive the horrors of her kidnapping, reunite with her family, and empower her to share this heartbreaking story with the world.
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Thank you Netgalley and Publishers for granting me early access to "A Cave in the Clouds".

I'm currently in the middle of a major move, and will definitely come back at a later time and write out a full review and rating. 

Thank you so much!
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4 Stars
Many thanks to Netgalley and Annick Press Ltd for providing me with a free advance digital copy in exchange for an honest review.

Every now and again I come across a story that I forget isn’t fiction. Only to find myself wishing that it was. To say that this was a hard read is putting it mildly. This is a horrifying look at one girl's experiences as a victim of ISIS. She is given as a wife to an important ISIS leader, who also happens to be an American. Along with protecting her young nephew. Badeeah’s experiences were unspeakable things that no person should ever have to go through. Needless to say, her experiences left her scarred and damaged, but they also ultimately reaffirmed her faith.

I am in utter awe of of this woman. When reading books based on a true story, I can’t help but to try and put myself in their shoes. And I couldn’t do it with  Badeeah. Her acts of bravery and kindness were simply astonishing. Despite all that she suffered,  her hope for the future and love of all humanity shone through every word. I may have been able to survive what she went through but I don’t know if I could shed being a victim as graciously as she did. Now that she has shared her story with the world it is one that must be read. Highly recommended.
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This is a book that everyone should read. 

 I cannot begin to imagine how hard it was for Badeeah Hassan Ahmed to bare her soul to her co-author like this, but I'm grateful that she did. By doing so, she has enabled every human to get an inkling of the horrors she and her fellow Ezedis suffered under ISIS. Right now, with ISIS forces nearly obliterated and individual former soldiers wanting to return home and be forgiven for what they've done, her story is incredibly timely. The fact that her primary rapist was a blond and blue-eyed American with a wife and baby back home cannot be ignored.

Co-author Susan Elizabeth McLelland is to be commended for writing this story with the thinnest of veils, letting Badeeah's experiences and words shine through. This is a horrific story that's told with sensitivity, shunning all sensationalism, enabling Badeeah to keep her dignity while still educating readers about what she and her fellow captives suffered. 

Despite all that Badeeah suffered, it's her hope for the future and love of all humanity that shines through with every word. Her acts of bravery and kindness were astonishing. I am in awe.
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This is an amazing book! I wonder if this book is based on a true story? Really good job, fantastic job, and an outstanding performance done by the author who wrote this book.
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Somewhat confusing but very interesting memoir of Badeeah Ahmed, who at 18 witnessed the genocide of her people, the Ezidi by Isis forces.  She was captured by the Isis and forced into a terrible sex trafficking network then sent to Syria and sold to a high ranking Isis commander.  She was held captive, forced into slavery while also beaten and raped.  Without the presence of her nephew and friend, it is doubtful that Badeeah would have survived.  Her strength and survival are an amazing story, one she would have not have survived if not for memories and stories from her childhood along with her intelligence and inner strength.  An amazing story of survival.  Definitely recommended--a little confusing, but well worth reading!!!
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This was a heartbreaking look at political/religious unrest and trafficking in the Middle East. The power of love and family got her through so many gut wrenching situations. I wish it had been longer, with more detail...but it was still compelling and worth reading.
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This is a powerful, well-written and extremely important book.

Being similar in scope and topic, it covers a lot of the same material as Nadia Murad's "The Last Girl." (I believe the two authors may be cousins? -- not certain, but they came from the same town) It's about ISIS coming into Yazidi villages in Iraq, slaughtering all of the males and older women, and taking the younger women to be sex slaves. It's horrific and really, really disturbing. Unfortunately, it's also true.
and 
So how does Cave in the Clouds compare with The Last Girl? Should you read both? Well, the former is a bit more restrained in tone, and better suited for YA audiences. It contains less graphic brutality. For instance, Badeeah just says "rape" without going into more details.  That said, Cave in the Clouds is just as (or perhaps even more) emotionally gripping, because the author was younger than Murad when she was kidnapped. Also, she risked her life to save her little nephew, pretending to be his mother. This added a different touch to the memoir, as she was encumbered with a toddler during her attempts to escape.

You don't want to merely applaud the author for her courage in writing this book. You want to embrace her and reassure her.

Anyone interested in the Middle East, women's rights or current politics should read this book.
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DNF at 30%.  I just could not get into this book.  I was getting confused at times and it seemed like the author was jumping from one subject to another.  I will try to read this book again one day because the premise got me interested enough in the book to request an ARC from NetGalley.  Maybe I'm just not in the right set of mind to read this book. When, and if, I  read this book again, I will write an honest opinion based on the whole book.
Thank you NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this book, even though it was a miss for me.
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A quick and engaging read about a young Ezidi girl who is kidnapped by ISIS and taken to Syria. While in Syria she is given to an important ISIS leader as his wife, who also happens to be an American. Along with protecting her young nephew, she uses her wits to escape the brutality they are both forced to endure.

The Ezidi people have had to endure kidnappings, horrible violence and genocide. It was interesting to read about their language, religious beliefs, and traditions. They are a spiritual and family-oriented society and Badeeah relays a number of Ezidi foktales throughout the book. 

I normally do not read YA books, but this one caught my attention and I was pleasantly surprised. Badeeah is a brave and intelligent girl who faced a nightmare and survived.

Thank you Netgalley.
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A Cave in the Clouds
A Young Woman's Escape from ISIS
by Badeeah Hassan Ahmed
Annick Press Ltd.
Annick Press
Teens & YA
Pub Date 09 Apr 2019


I am reviewing a copy of A Cave in the Clouds through Annick Press and Netgalley:


A Cave in the Clouds is based on the true story of Badeeah Hassan Ahmed.  At the young age of eighteen in 2014 she saw first hand the horrors of the genocide of the Ezidi People by Isis forces.  Captured by Isis known as the Daesh in her local region she was among the hundreds of Ezidi women and girls forced into a brutal Sex trafflicking network.   Badeeah was taken to Syria where she is sold to a high ranking Isis commander known as Al Amiki, the American, kept as a house slave, raped, and often beaten. It was only the presence of her young nephew Eivan and her friend Navine, who were also prisoners, that kept her from hurting herself.  Whike she is being held captive , Badeaah  draws on memories and stories from her childhood to maintain a small bit of control in a volatile situation. In the end , it is her profound sense of faith and brave resistance that lead her to escape with Eivan and reunite with family.


Badeeah has brought her harrowing story of wat and survival.  Raising awareness to the little known acts of genocide against people.


I give A Cave in the Clouds five out of five stars!


Happy Reading!
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This was a hard story to read. Badeeah had a harrowing experience with Isis that left her scarred and damaged, but also ultimately reaffirmed her faith and her belief in love over anything. The writing is a bit choppy and I don't understand why they felt the need to change so many details (all of which are then detailed in the epilogue, defeating the purpose), but overall this is a very personal and heartbreaking account or a war our world is still fighting.
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