by S.J. Kincaid
Published on November 1, 2016 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
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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.
I am so excited for this book because finally, I’ve found a YA sci-fi novel that I actually liked.
It’s been a struggle in more recent years.
The Diabolic is the story of Nemesis, a being created to serve and protect her bonded mistress, Donia. She is a Diabolic, a force of nature, deemed little better than a glorified guard dog in human form. And she is exactly the kind of powerhouse to shake up the imperial court in the middle of space.
I’ve never read anything like it. I haven’t read Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard yet which this book is compared to but I have read The Hunger Games and I don’t see it. First off, I liked this 100% more. Sorry THG, just can’t compete. But also this book is about the realization that the world can call you a monster but it doesn’t make you one and I think that message really struck a chord throughout.
Nemesis was an unusual character to narrate. She’s genetically engineering not to feel. Not love, nor compassion, none of it. When she’s sold to Donia’s parents, she actually has to undergo a medical procedure that makes sure she won’t hurt her new mistress and ward. This is a young woman who sees the world through logic and action. And I loved it! Nemesis doesn’t shy away from violence but her growth as a character throughout the book was beautiful and I just want to keep reliving it.
I can’t say any of the other characters pulled me in like her and perhaps that’s because I saw everything through her, somewhat detached, eyes. But I definitely had my opinion change a number of times from beginning to end about a few. Primarily a certain Tyrus who was both absolutely bad and so beautifully cunning that I couldn’t get enough of him.
Also, can we just talk about this world for a minute? Talk. About. Expansive. I mean, I can’t imagine how Kincaid was able to keep it all straight. Plus, the writing brings everything to life at just the right moments. The Diabolic swings from heartfelt to suspenseful to hopeful to hopeless and all around again. Every moment shifted the story between murderous plots and court intrigue, to a friendship so chemically true and a budding romance that may change the universe. This book is perfect if you want to see exactly what people are willing to do for power. The schemes, the mind fucks, back and forth like it’s the air they breathe. Brilliant, really.
My biggest problem with this book is that there isn’t a sequel.
I finished it and had to think if I saw any news about another book and I hadn’t. So I checked. Still couldn’t find anything. That ending just didn’t give me the closure I wanted from a standalone. Too many things seemed up in the air and I wanted to know how they were resolved, not just assume that everything was sunshine and rainbows.
So if you don’t take anything else away from this review, here’s the short version: you need this book. You need multiple copies of this book so that you can read each one and leave a part of your soul in it (I am fond of making book horcruxes, I’ll have you know). Go. Read this book. Treasure it. The story will be over before you know it.