Title: The Diabolic
Author: S. J. Kincaid
No. of Pages: 416
Genre: Science Fiction
Origins: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: 1 November 2016
“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.”
My Thoughts: The first few chapters of The Diabolic are rough. The writing is simplistic. The science is a bit sketchy. The characters are one-dimensional archetypes. Something interesting happens though when Nemesis reaches the Galactic court, about a third of the way through the novel. The story not only becomes much more interesting, but suddenly the archetypes start to disappear. What once was mundane now becomes compelling. What was inhumane now becomes more human than those actual humans who surround her. What used to be predictable now becomes a free-for-all in unpredictability.
It is at the point where Nemesis starts questioning human emotion and the Emperor’s machinations start making themselves known when the story takes off on a roller coaster ride of action, drama, and emotion. The Emperor and his family prove themselves to be coldly calculating and callous of human life; the actions of the Court are chilling this regard. They prove an excellent counterpoint to Nemesis, someone who was created to be equally cold and unfeeling but proves to be so worthy of so much more. The dichotomy between the two are obvious but still very effective.
The same holds true with the story’s trajectory. Nothing about the overarching plot will come as a great surprise. There are a few twists which will catch readers offguard, and certain events do not happen when expected. However, one can predict the major plot points fairly early on in the novel. Yet, this is not necessarily a disparagement of the story. In fact, knowing what is going to happen and discovering how the characters reach certain points is half the fun of the novel. Just like most action-adventure movies, watching the action unfold is just as satisfying as being surprised by said action. Plus, like a good superhero movie, the ending leaves you on tenterhooks wondering what, if anything, is coming next.
Readers are going to struggle with the slow start to The Diabolic. They may even be inclined to set it down in favor of something that grabs their attention sooner. However, to do so means ignoring what is a fairly creative and entirely enjoyable story. It may be predictable, but that does not stop you from enjoying the action and danger. The characters are also simple but have a way of getting under your skin and making you care about them more than you ever thought you would. The slow start soon fades into heart-pounding adventure with the addition of poignancy interspersed throughout the story, all of which creates a rich and emotional story that thrills, scares, delights, and entertains. To ignore The Diabolic would be to miss out on all of that, which is the saddest thought of all.
I will have to check this out at some point!
I think you would like it!
I’ve been so curious about this since BEA. I will have to add it to my library list for sure.
I really enjoyed it as what some would term a guilty pleasure. It is not a great novel, but it is certainly entertaining!