Title: The Diabolic
Author: S.J. Kincaid
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Publication Date: November 1st, 2016
Pages: 403 (Hardback)
Publishers: Simon & Schuster
A Diabolic is ruthless. A Diabolic is powerful. A Diabolic has a single task: Kill in order to protect the person you’ve been created for. Nothing else.
For Nemesis, that person is Sidonia, heir to the galactic Senate. The two grew up side by side, and there’s no one Nemesis wouldn’t kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the Imperial Court as a hostage, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia.
She must become her.
Now one of the galaxy’s most dangerous weapons is masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced Senators’ children, and Nemesis must find within herself the one thing she’s been told she doesn’t have—humanity. With the Empire beginning to fracture and rebellion looming, that could be the one thing that saves her and the Empire itself.
Okay, so I’m going to try something a little bit different for this review! I saw someone else do this on their blog, I don’t remember who it was or I would credit them as that’s where I first saw it.
What I’m going to do is do both a spoiler free & spoilery version of this review. The Spoiler free parts will be in black and the spoilery parts will be in purple. This is a review that I simply don’t think I can fully write with only spoiler free. I won’t be giving away massive spoilers but just some things that can be counted as spoilery!
I really like this cover! It’s so beautiful and matches Nemesis perfectly in this story! I can’t find a pic the exact one I have as my hardback copy says “Designed to protect. destined to destroy…” written under the butterfly. I love that little piece of text as well. I went into this book knowing 0 things about it, so that little quote intrigued me.
The writing was well done! I have seen a fair few people adding this book to their DNF shelf on goodreads and some reviews from people who DNF are saying they did it because this book is slow paced and they couldn’t connect with Nemesis. As for being slow paced at the start, I wouldn’t say that, granted it wasn’t action packed every second, but there is nothing wrong with that! In life there isn’t going to be action all the time, it just doesn’t happen and it’s not realistic, even for a fictional world. So I have no issue with the slower pace at the start, we learnt things about the world and the people in it and built up for the intense rest of the book, to me, that’s good writing. As for not connecting with Nemesis, sorry did anyone else read the part about her being genetically modified human being that are designed to have no emotions? Was I the only one that got that bit, because taking that into account, to me it makes complete sense that you didn’t connect with the character! We as readers are human, we have feelings, we have experiences. She is not meant to have feelings or a personality, that is the point. How can we connect with a character that isn’t meant to have a personality? Rant over, moving on!
I did really enjoy this plot! I loved the setting as well, I don’t read very many books set in space for some reason, but I really enjoyed it in this book. To me this book had some Beauty and the Beast vibes too. Nemesis being the ‘foul creature who doesn’t know love’ and someone coming into her life that changes that even if it was a struggle for her! Definite Beauty and the Beast vibes with that, but I’m not mad at it. Besides the fact that Beauty in the Beast is a massive thing I haven’t read many books that use that trope. Well except the fact that I just read A Court of Thorns and Roses and it touches on the same trope.
This books was also FULL of twists and turns! There was a couple times where I literally had to close the book, sit it down and take a second to think about what just happened. Plost twist galore! Usually I’m okay at getting a rough idea of what might be coming next but this book definitely threw me off my game! I would definitely not read this next bit if you haven’t read the book!! First Sidonia and her family gets killed, and then Tyrus turns out not to be a madman, Tyrus & Nemesis nearly die from a missile and then Sidonia appears ALIVE and then Elantra tried to kill Nemesis and Sidonia and then Cyga kills her son and then when Nemesis thought she was going to be sent to her death Tyrus comes around and sends Cyga to her death instead?!?! Like WHAT just happened?!
There is one little sentence that struck me as odd in this book and that was in chapter 37 where *someone* is looking through books and they are using a translation bot to translate from obsolete languages including “Latin”, “Russian” and “English”. I don’t know why but the fact that it implies that they are speaking some new or other language intrigued me when the book is written in English. I don’t know why that struck me as so odd, but it did.
So if you read the spoilery part above talking about connecting with Nemesis then you know that obviously I didn’t connect with her, because of reasons above. Anyway, I did still like Nemesis as a character that internal struggle with her was interesting. Sidonia was an enjoyable character too. I like how she cared so much about Nemesis, especially at the end we find out just how much she cared. I’m still not 100% sure that that part was meant to imply whether she just simply cared and loved Nemesis like a friend or more. It wasn’t directly specified but I got the hint of more than a friend. I liked the first time we met Tyrus through the, I can’t think what they called it, but the virtual reality type thing. That part made me laugh and set him as an interesting character from the start. Even if he was a madman to begin with. Senator Von Impyrean wasn’t really there enough to comment on as we only really knew him from the facts that Sidonia and Nemesis said not him personally. The Matriarch may not have cared for Nemesis but she was just trying to do what was best for her daughter by sending Nemesis instead of Sidonia. There was a lot more hated characters in this book than loved ones, but that’s just how it is when you’re surrounded by people who are simply power hungry and will kill anyone that stands in their way. So there was characters like Elantra, the Emperor and Cyga who you just wanted to punch from the start. There was also people like Glaggic who were just pathetic and followed higher powered people around like puppy dogs. Then there was Salivar and Devineé and I couldn’t be more happy to what came to them considering what they did to most of the young girls that came to the Chrysanthemum alone. It’s disgusting.
I really enjoyed this book, it had meaning, it has a message and was well done. This is definitely book I can see myself reread and picking up on even more stuff that I didn’t pick up the first time.
Also, this book was meant to be a standalone, some of the editions on goodreads still appear as a standalone but on the goodreads authors page in the question someone asked and S.J. Kincaid has said that there will be 2 sequels coming! And now that I have checked there is some editions that come up saying that this is book #1 of The Diabolic series. So that’s really exciting! I’m keen to find out what happens next!
Now to decide what to pick up next!
Also curious I have been considering doing a video bookshelf tour as I love watching them on YouTube!?!? Would you be interested?!