The Diabolic (The Diabolic, book 1) by S.J. Kincaid
Nemesis is a Diabolic. Created to protect a galactic Senator's daughter, Sidonia. The girl who has grown up by her side and who is as much as sister as a master. There's no one Nemesis wouldn't kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the galactic 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 corruption and Nemesis has to hide her true abilities or risk everything. As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns that there is something stronger than her deadly force: the one thing she's been told she doesn't have - humanity. And, amidst all the danger, action and intrigue, her humanity might be the only thing that can save her, Sidonia and the entire Empire...
Everyone believed Diabolics were fearless, but in my earliest years, all I knew was fear. -Nemisis
Going into The Diabolic I tried to know as little as possible about it. I knew the general basics: There's genetically made beings called Diabolics that are made to love and protect one person. Oh, and it's in space! Yeah! Sounded totally amazing to me. Upon the first sentence (see above) I was hooked. Consumed even.
Nemesis is the Diabolic and Sidonia the girl she is to protect. Nemesis and Sidonia's relationship is awesome to explore. They're devotion to each other is tantalizing, not to mention that one is given freely and the other engineered to feel that way. Yet, around every turn the story became better and better. Taking higher roads and staying away from plot tropes (well for a bit, I'll get to that). Soon there was a Princess Decoy plot where Nemesis must pose as Sidonia to protect her. Then there's revolutions, poignant ideas about humanity, altering/creating humans, class systems, and eventually a romance. At times the story was so unique, but unfortunately took a turn for the predictable.
In one of my updates I praised The Diabolic for having all the trappings of a romance, but for not going there. Yeah, see how long that lasted. Though in all honesty the romance was not instalove and actually took it's time to develop. As it should because Nemesis is for the first time being allowed to experience living and actually develop a personality and explore emotions. Even better is that the romantic interest is worthy of her. He's an idealist who wants a better world, but he's in the muck with Nemesis. Both of them are not saints, they have—and get—blood on their hands the course of this book. The world is harsh and their realities cruel.
The Diabolic manages to touch on very important topics and make your brain explore ideas. What I love is that it's not heavy handed about it. S.J. Kincaid's writing style is at times simplistic and others breathtakingly beautiful. Creating a potent combination. My ebook copy has so many highlights. (Oh, did I have to control myself to not put tons of quotes all up in this review. Check out my Goodreads review to see all the quotes though!)
Sadly the downfall from a 5 star read to a 4 star was two big things. Firstly is the combination of being predictable and a plot twist that was so predictable that it annoyed me. (Kind of take back shocker if you will.) Secondly that Nemesis trusted the man she loved with her biggest secrets, and swiftly doubted him when his enemies came to play mind games. Ugh. Bookworms why is this a thing!!? It kind of took away from the happy ending for me.
The Diabolic is a nonstop rush! The world building is what I keep begging for out of the YA genre. It feels like science fiction and high fantasy tends to get a pass on world building because it's YA and readers just want romance, instalove, angst, and pining. Well not all of us and I was smitten by the depth of world building from the beliefs of these people in the stars and the dying technology. Big ideas are tactfully explored. The insight on human emotions truly swept me off my feet. The romance is well developed. The love triangle isn't one, but is, and I enjoyed the complexity of it. While predictable for readers good at guessing plots, it still managed to be awesome.
Content Warning: Mild making out and alluding to sexual assaults. The lead and other characters actually kill people. Some characters are even tortured and the fights can be graphic.
4/5 - A true obsession!
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The Diabolic (1)
The Diabolic (1)