Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on November 1st 2016
Source: Author Review Copy
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Romance, 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.
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.
Welcome to our stop of The Diabolic blog tour! I adored The Diabolic, a fun-filled science fiction story sent in the future, years from now, where our characters explore the political climate of a declining empire and learn humanity. I’m excited to share a guest post from the author, reasons why you should definitely pick this book up, and finally, a giveaway!
I came into this book with reservations because it seemed like it was getting mixed reviews. The beginning impressed me, but I was still wary. Fifty pages into the book, though, I was truly immersed in the world that Kincaid writes and felt for the main character, Nemesis. But here’s what ultimately convinced me to give this book such a high rating:
1. Nemesis was an amazing character who develops immensely throughout the story.
The Diabolic is not a person, but a creature. It bonds with a human and protects them to the best of their capabilities. They have human DNA, but they don’t have emotions. We start the story with seeing Nemesis bonded with Sidonia, and her vehement conviction of living only for the person she bonded with. Later on, the emperor proclaims the banishment of Diabolics, ordering them all to be killed. Sidonia’s family goes against his wishes, though, and keeps Nemesis alive. But due to the supposed treachery of Sidonia’s father, she is called to the galactic court as a hostage. Instead of sending her, the family sends Nemesis, who has to figure out how to weave through the political machinations around her while trying to take the emperor’s wrath from Sidonia’s family. From here, we see Nemesis go from the creature that has to think to show emotions to someone more – someone that does things in accordance to what she feels. It’s a vast contrast that I loved seeing in Nemesis’s character development, as well as the realistic denials she had of it when she first exhibited emotion.
“‘The Emperor wishes me to send my innocent little lamb to the slaughter. No. Instead, I’ll send him my anaconda.'”
2. The world was as infinite as space – which makes sense, since it takes place in space.
I love the world that Kincaid created! Granted, as a science fiction lover I’m welcome to anything and everything that takes place in the future in space, but the reasoning behind the government and hegemonic powers makes a lot of sense. In the future, people who explore science and knowledge, like Sidonia’s father, are treacherous. The Emperor rules through religious ideals, the church, and science is all but forgotten due to the “will of the gods.” When humanity kept expanding to space and beyond, a sudden catastrophic event took place where they were wiped out. Since then, the reigning caste – Grandiloquy – use only the old technology that had already been invented to conduct things. They don’t create or innovate, making for a society that does not move forward at all. The author also adds different groups of people, like the Excess and Servitors, that further create a three-dimensional world.
“We Grandiloquy are a far more savage sort than we pretend.”
3. There was never a boring moment within these 400 pages.
From the very first page, everything was going and going and going, nonstop. And I liked it! I can’t abide those stagnant plots that slow down in the middle with some frivolous drama or secondary plot element that the book would be better without. Fortunately enough, everything in The Diabolic had a purpose as this story was packed into a tight 400 pages. Kincaid writes every scene with a purpose, so there’s never a waste of time or words. It’s enough to get a reader finishing up the book in one sitting! I also adore stand-alones as well, so having such an action-packed story start and finish within one book was awesome for me. Somehow there’s so much to be said from one book sometimes than three of them with drawn out stories.
4. Fabulous storyline that had all kinds of twists and turns.
How do you go from being zero to hero? Or, if not hero, then at least one of the catalysts that marks the start of a new era for society? Nemesis starts out as a Diabolic girl that is generally unwanted and unliked, except for Sidonia, but she truly finds herself when she ventures out to the galactic courts. There, she meets allies and enemies alike as she maneuvers around these two-faced schemers. Although court machinations are a big part of plot progression, there’s also action and adrenaline-inducing scenes! Nemesis is quite merciless with her approach with death, which is quite refreshing. But there are also characters that have a problem with killing people, as well, creating a spectrum of perspectives added on. Ultimately, people who enjoy seeing fights breaking out and assassinations won’t be disappointed as well. I mean, the very first thing the Emperor did when meeting Nemesis-pretending-to-be-Sidonia is tell her to make one of her workers skin herself. Kincaid isn’t afraid to get dirty with her characters.
“A Diabolic. A being who was made to live and die for only one person, yet my life could influence the fate of trillions.”
5. Exploration of the feeling of love and humanity that makes humans so unique in the world.
I love romance, but the feeling of love in this book extends to so much more than romantic love. There’s the love of friends, a platonic love, and a familial love to someone who’s been with you, by your side, since you were young. The Diabolic explores these types of love – and more emotions – as readers go through Nemesis’s first person narrative and see her develop. There’s a linear romance that is quite sweet, despite all the high-stakes plots surrounding the characters, and offers Nemesis to see a new side of her “humanity” that she believes she doesn’t have. Nemesis discovers that she’s worth something, and her emotions and feelings are important. For someone who has been bred to become a vicious creature, that’s an important epiphany. I also really appreciate her denials to feelings when she first experiences them, adding a realistic taste to how she reacts. But in the end, we realize that human lives are precious – whether you’re truly labeled as “human” or not – no matter your social standing or religion.
I came into The Diabolic with reservations, but ended up enjoying every moment of it. Kincaid really packs a punch with this story, addressing the ways the ways that humans can act – whether based on greed, pride, vanity, love, or selfishness – all while witnessing the rise and fall of an empire. I think the only small complaint I have with it is the fact that it’s just so much within one book. The author tries to put a lot, and I feel as if some aspects of the story could have been explored more instead of glossed over in the quick pace that this book has. Either way though, it’s ultimately a success with pages that readers will soak up like a sponge! I adored Nemesis’s character and all the growth she goes through, as well as the whole storyline regarding heretics and chasing for knowledge in a society that forbids it. It only takes a couple of open minds to spark the change that could change the future.
Thank you Simon & Schuster for the review copy!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Guest Post: Sci-Fi Gadgets/Inventions I Wish Really Existed by SJ Kincaid
The transporter. I absolutely love traveling, but sitting on a plane drives me mad with boredom. For some reason, I can sit and do nothing anywhere else, no problem (in fact, I’m quite skilled at it), yet on a plane I get so restless, it’s insane. Usually, I try to stay up the night before a flight, or failing that, to take a couple Benadryls and sleep through it. Misery = being wide awake an entire flight. Especially a long one! Transporter solves that instantly.
Universal translator: I would love to be able to speak any language at will, and hopefully also to understand a bit of what animals have to say as well. My parents have a dog, Fred, who often stares at me very dolefully and I can never figure out what he wants. I like to think I’d utilize such an invention to undercover Fred’s deep-seated motives.
Warp drive and/or hyperspace drive: Anything that enables us to viably reach another solar system would be absolutely amazing. It’s depressing sometimes to contemplate just how enormous and vast space is, and our current incapability of ever reaching another habitable planet, especially at the alarming rate we’re using resources.
That thing in Total Recall (the Arnold version) where it touches the nails and instantly changes their color without nail polish. Because it would be cool.
And if I may reference my own book, THE DIABOLIC— beauty bots. Everyone would love a beauty bot. As for my other book, INSIGNIA, the neural processor in the brain might be kind of cool, too, since I could instantly learn anything, download any knowledge, and basically get the universal translator in there too… Provided no one learns how to hack my brain. That might be scary.
About the Author:
S.J. Kincaid was born in Alabama, grew up in California, and attended high school in New Hampshire, but it was while living beside a haunted graveyard in Scotland that she realized that she wanted to be a writer. Her debut, Insignia, came out in July of 2012. The second book in the series, Vortex was released in July of 2013. The final book in the trilogy, Catalyst, came out October 28, 2014. Her standalone novel The Diabolic will be released in fall 2016.
Giveaway – Win a copy of The Diabolic courtesy of Simon & Schuster Australia! (Australians only).
Giveaway ends 13 November 2016 and will be sent out from the publisher. Winner must respond within 48 hours and will be displayed below.
Verified entries only – we check every entry!
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