[Review] The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid


Title: The Diabolic
Author: S.J. Kincaid 
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 
Release Date: November 1st 2016 

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

Thank you to Shelly of Read.Sleep.Repeat for lending me her copy of The Diabolic!

The novel is about Nemesis -- a Diabolic. Diabolics are genetically engineered humans created to be the perfect body guards for the aristocracy, called the Grandiloquy. They are bonded to their humans to love only them and to do anything to protect their charge and their interests. Nemesis is the Diabolic of Sidonia, the daughter of one of the aristocrats. However, when the emperor finds out that Sidonia's father is participating in treasonous affairs, he summons Sidonia to the capital. Nemesis must take her place in order to protect Sidonia from the emperor and the other aristocrats who would do Sidonia harm.

This book reminds me of Red Rising, with less warfare and more political intrigue. The book takes place in space with space ships and different planets, but no aliens. There's also a huge world that is inferred to, with the humans having created an empire in space involving multiple planets. We don't get to see a lot of it though, since most of the story takes place in the capital of the Empire -- the Chrysanthemum. I don't mind too much though because the political intrigue had me flipping the pages, and devouring the words.

Nemesis is a genetically engineered humanoid. Poisons and opiates don't affect her and she's stronger than humans. She was taught to be vicious and violent -- to do anything to protect her charge. She doesn't believe that she is capable of truly being a human and that is challenged when she is sent to the capital to impersonate Sidonia. She needs to learn to blend in and to learn social cues if she wants to stay hidden amongst the Grandiloquy.

It's clear that a lot of effort went into creating the world that we see in The Diabolic. There is an encompassing religion -- Helionism. It's a little complicated to explain, but it revolves around the belief that humans have a divine spark within them and that knowledge and science are blasphemous. The whole society is detailed too with the Grandiloquy and the dancing, as well as the open use of recreational opiate use and using "beauty bots" to transform their skin colour, eye colour, hair colour, facial structure, etc.

Since this novel is a standalone, the ending is satisfying and everything I could have wished for. To be honest, I would have loved for this novel to be a series, if only to explore more of the world and to have more obstacles thrown at my fave characters, and also basically to read more of the characters.

The Diabolic is a novel that I never knew I needed in my life until I started reading it, and I'm so so glad that I have. This novel is easily one of my top 5 novels of this year and one of my favourite books of all time. It has space, political intrigue, action and romance! I fricking love this book.

Happy Reading!
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  1. Hmmm, I'm not sure why despite so many of my bloggy besties being super excited for this one I was so meh about it at BEA and didn't get an ARC, but the more reviews I read for it, the more I think I MUST read it!

  2. Oooh, seems interesting! I may just have to add this to my TBR...-Jessica

  3. Neither the cover, nor the synopsis of The Diabolic really grabbed my attention, but everyone is saying all these positive things about it, so now I'm thinking about adding it to my tbr. The world building and the characters are equally important for me in fantasy reviews and it sounds like The Diabolic succeeded in being wonderful in both these aspects. Another thing that makes me want to really read this is that it's a standalone - GOOD fantasy standalones are SO RARE.
    Wonderful review! :)

    Veronika @ The Regal Critiques

  4. I'm a little overwhelmed with this book and I don't know why. Maybe because a lot of people are saying good stuff about this book and I'm a little anxious that if I read it, I'd have a different reaction. Haha! Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed this book. Maybe I'll bump it up my TBR


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