The Diabolic – By S.J. Kincaid

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Synopsis2A 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.

My reviewSet against an intergalactic background, this dystopian fantasy was just pure adrenaline rush!!! To be honest, I haven’t read too many fantasies set in space, so I don’t know how this novel measures up to some of the others in its genre, but just speaking as someone who was a bit bored with dystopian fiction, this was just what I needed to get back into the genre again. It had all the elements one would be familiar with, right from political coups, murderous monarchies, forbidden love, a whole lot of “post-apocalyptic” mess and a ruling elite family that thrives on renouncing past history to hold onto power. But there was something so fresh and fluid about the storytelling, that all the sheen of exciting descriptions – of the world, the humanoids, the spaceships, technology – doesn’t take your attention away from what forms the crux of the book – Just how transcendental are the lines between love, loyalty and servitude? In the beginning, I was a bit worried that Nemesis will get boring as the book progresses, for being (literally!) robotic. But, I just fell in love with how the author, S.J. Kincaid, managed to strike the balance between her being an “invention” to her actually having the capacity to develop humane feelings. It never felt ridiculous because Kincaid sets up the details and groundwork pretty well. The Diabolic’s entire “construction” is based on loyalty to one person.

Nemesis and Sidonia’s relationship was beautiful and as Sidonia keeps trying to convince Nemesis, just because she was “designed” to feel loyal to her, it doesn’t mean that “forced” love isn’t real. This is something Nemesis struggles with throughout the book, whether she can really submit herself to another person’s cause and beliefs, especially after circumstances end up bringing her and Tyrus Domitrian (the corrupt Emperor’s nephew) together as they team up and try to bring down the Domitrian clan. I was surprised that the love story didn’t bother me at all in this book though it did take up a significant part of the story. Maybe because it was written in a way that wasn’t distracting and actually felt very integral to the objectives of the main story – whether it is revenge, political power-play or just survival. It just felt natural that there had to be a Nemesis and Tyrus partnership.

I absolutely loved the female characters in this book, not just Nemesis and Sidonia but a whole lot of others. In fact, it is probably the women more than the men who not just wielded actual power, but also knew how to manipulate and use it for their version of the “greater good”.  I also liked how clear the class demarcations were vis-à-vis the planet and space dwellers. I was just so happy and .. impressed with how neat everything was – the world-building , history, tech-stuff, sci-fi, politics and power-hungry families. Was it perfect? Well, maybe not. But it was as neat as one can expect from a standalone fantasy. I was satisfied with – this is a bit of a shocker – not just the love story but also the love triangle (yup, there is one, a very unusual one).

I was a bit taken aback with the sort-of-happy ending which came after some very twisted maneuvers and shocking revelations. I would have probably preferred a darker ending which would have fit in perfectly with the rest of the book. Nevertheless, it was a really good way to end the book. Kincaid finishes it off in a way which leaves you with a slight doubt about what exactly happened and who is telling the truth. That just about sums up what a lot of the book was about – finding a way to keep your love alive amidst a whole lot of backstabbing.


16 thoughts on “The Diabolic – By S.J. Kincaid

  1. Jasmine November 22, 2016 / 6:58 pm

    I like adrenaline rush books. I guess the ending makes you wait for book 2?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ishita November 25, 2016 / 9:53 pm

      Yeaa!!! I dont know whether the author is planning a series yet, but she was toying with some ideas (on twitter) for a spin-off book based on another character so if that happens, I would love to read it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. rantandraveaboutbooks November 22, 2016 / 7:27 pm

    Glad you liked this book. I asked for an ARC on two sites and was told no. I wasn’t planning to read it after that, but your review makes a very compelling case to read it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ishita November 25, 2016 / 9:51 pm

      Thank you! I actually managed to get a digital copy of this book for free via . I received a link through Simon and Schuster newsletter.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. wonderfilledreads November 22, 2016 / 8:23 pm

    I agree with almost everything you said! I would’ve liked there to have been a bit of a darker ending too, but I guess Nemesis’ entire life has been fairly dark so it was time for her to have something good to look forward to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ishita November 25, 2016 / 9:47 pm

      Yes, that is possibly a good reason! Moreover, with this one not being a series, the author probably wanted to not leave anything too vague..

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reg @ She Latitude November 23, 2016 / 11:17 am

    Ahh I’m glad you liked this one! I finished it a while ago and didn’t love it, but found it fast-paced and gripping enough that the story just carried me through. For some reason I could see the twists and turns coming a mile before they came, though, and I think that took the suspense away. I agree with you RE: the ending – it was a bit too neat given the circumstances. Great review. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ishita November 25, 2016 / 9:43 pm

      Thank you! Hmm.. if I had seen the twists coming I would have probably been a bit underwhelmed by it too…
      Yea, the ending felt like as if the author was torn between making it a dark ending and a happy ending lol..


      • Reg @ She Latitude November 26, 2016 / 6:06 pm

        And it happened so fast too! It felt like I was missing a whole chunk or even a chapter or something – one minute we’re still in the middle of some action and the next it’s the end. Too abrupt, imo. 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. LizScanlon November 23, 2016 / 2:25 pm

    What a great, detailed, well-worded review.. I just read a review for the same book by another blogger and… it seems to be the day for The Diabolic because I think I have another review of it waiting in my inbox… definitely makes me want to grab for it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ishita November 25, 2016 / 9:40 pm

      Thank you !! It is a pretty good book if you are in a dystopian slump and want to get out of it by reading a standalone.. hehe

      Liked by 1 person

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