Title: The Diabolic
Author: S. J. Kincaid
Publisher: 1 November 2016 by Simon and Schuster (Australia)
Pages: 416 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: Sci Fi & Fantasy, Teens & YA, Dystopia
My Rating: 4 cups
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.
Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe.
When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia—a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything.
As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns there is something more to her than just deadly force. She finds a humanity truer than what she encounters from most humans. Amidst all the danger, action, and intrigue, her humanity just might be the thing that saves her life—and the empire.
“I had only two goals going forward: to fool people into thinking I was Sidonia, and of course, to try not to die.”
If you are looking for a good dystopian mix of action and political manoeuvering, then this is the book for you. For all its cut throat (literally!) barbarism, there is indeed another side to this story concerning all of humanity, friendship and love. With an amazing cast of characters, this tale of friendship and love versus family and politics will keep your attention.
The beginning is a little slow but the pace certainly does increase the further you get into the story. In fairness, there is a vast world to create for the reader, and to do it justice, this took time. The various planets/worlds are detailed and interesting with strains of other tales (Star Wars etc) seemingly apparent, as senators and rebels scheme against their autocratic rulers. There is a lot to take in, but the author does a great job in the creation of these worlds and how they function. As a type of ‘cat and mouse’ game ensues, you will be absorbed by the political plotting and how humanity - and Diabolics - will fair.
As some have claimed, there is a ‘Game of Thrones’ feel about some of the political jousts as planets/families jostling for recognition and power. Lots of plotting, corruption and backstabbing (literally!) take place in this struggle for dominance. There are simply loads of plot twists and turns, passion and betrayal that will keep you guessing right up to the end.
Another point I had issues with was the romance and some friendships - they did not ring true for me. It seemed at times clinical and distant, the raw emotion was stated but not felt (by me). However, this can be overlooked as this is a most worthy sci-fi saga that you will enjoy. The story and worlds are compelling and even if you are not a fantasy/sci fi/dystopian reader, there is a deeper tale of the future of humanity and what it is to be not only human, but alive.
“I’d accepted for so long that I wasn’t a real person, and I never would have questioned it but for the pain I felt now. How could a creature that wasn’t real experience the depth of anguish I’d experienced.”
This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release