The Diabolic is one of those novels where I already really enjoyed it when I read it, but I started liking it even more when I had finished and had moved on to recommending it to and discussing it with other readers. It was a very strong science fiction read, particularly for someone like me who doesn’t read a lot of sci-fi in general. Nemesis is the titular Diabolic, a genetically modified human being who is designed to be bonded to one person for life in a way that ensures they will protect them, even if they have to kill for them. Nemesis will do anything for her bonded, Sidonia, a Senator’s daughter, and that includes impersonating her to take her place as a hostage of the Emperor in his home. While she’s disguised as Sidonia, Nemesis discovers that there are threads of tension and rebellion running through the Empire. And the only thing that can help her now is the one thing that she supposedly no longer has: humanity.
Unlike many of the other readers who have read this novel, I actually found The Diabolic to be a slow starter. It really took me a while to grasp the lay of the land (though that could likely be because, again, I don’t read a ton of science fiction). But once Nemesis was given the task of impersonating Sidonia in order to take her place, I was totally hooked! I could barely set it down, caught up as I was in the thrumming tension, high stakes political (and societal) maneuvers, the budding romance, the complicated relationships and the self-examination and discovery Nemesis experiences. Conceptually, the book is incredibly strong as it really explains what it means to be a Diabolic, the political structure and the history of the current world in a way that is easy to understand and organic to the narrative. Additionally, Kincaid’s writing style is incredibly readable, and I was compelled to keep my eyes glued to the page from start to finish. The elements of plot and character and setting truly came together to forge a formidable combination, and I’m truly pleased with the outcome.
I truly enjoyed The Diabolic! It is an excellent stand-alone novel with a pretty satisfying conclusion, though I personally have more questions about certain elements and would not be averse to another novel featuring these characters and their world. If you’re on the hunt for a new science fiction read, I would certainly recommend giving this one a shot.
The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | Publication Date: November 1, 2016
Source: ARC received from the publisher (Thanks!)