Bookgab: The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

by - January 23, 2018

Publisher/year: November 1st 2016 by Simon & Schuster
Genre: Science Fiction/ Fantasy

What's it about?

Nemesis is a Diabolic. Created to protect a galactic Senator's daughter, Sidonia. 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...

The Review

“Perhaps scorpions were the only ones who could save each other.

Whatever lay ahead, it would always be the two of us above the rest of the universe, and woe to any who dared step in our path.”
― S.J. KincaidThe Diabolic
In the name of transparency and honesty, I have to start out by saying that I completely understand people who DNF'd this book. It took me so much longer than I anticipated to even reach the middle of the book, because the beginning felt so nauseatingly slow. This was not the fast paced page turner I expected to delve into, but as I made it toward the end I realised that it wasn't horrible either. I'm not sure if that's just because I put so much time into it that my brain refuses to let me see it as a waste, but I'm glad that I pushed past the first half of the book. Because as it turns out, the second half was exactly what I was hoping to find. It is, however, unfortunate that I had to be more than 200 pages in before the story started exciting me. I will also add that the whole plot was predictable to me. I'm not sure if it was the twists that were made too obvious from the beginning or if I was just paying really close attention. But all of the key moments were things that I had anticipated as soon as a character was introduced. I think we can all agree that we'd rather not have that experience while picking up a new book.  With my initial thoughts aside, I think it's time to break this puppy down.
(Disclaimer: No real puppies were harmed in the making of this review)

The Setting:

This book was set in space and if you're familiar with the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer then you will find the atmosphere really familiar in a sense. I can't put my finger on what it was exactly, but the whole time I was reading this I was constantly reminded of Meyer's series. Not that it's a good or bad thing, it's just something worth noting. The setting did play a role in a few scenes and it managed to add to the tension at times, but there was nothing that really stood out to me about the world they were living in. The only time I was paying attention to the setting was when they ended up on a planet called Lumina. The description of lightning bolts that set trees on fire was a great moment because it showed just how these people who lived on space ships were used to artificial living environments where things like bugs, rain and weather elements were created to suite specific needs and machinery that allowed them to emulate nature without the negative and uncontrollable elements that come along with it. Seeing nature organically from the perspective of Nemesis somehow reminded me of what a privilege and a risk it is to get to experience it at all. It just highlighted the beauty in a subtle moment that I enjoyed.

The characters:

Unfortunately, I think what bothered me the most about this book had to do with the characters. Diabolics like Nemesis, bonded with their owner and by doing so they protect them and love them (a weird form of love) with everything they had. The way this was written, however, had me recoiling from New Moon induced PTSD. The whole 'imprinting' aspect made things incredibly over dramatic at times and also a bit too predictable. I didn't like the relationship between Sidonia and Nemesis in the first half of the book, because Sidonia came off as incredibly childish and she came across as this 'object' that everyone needed to protect. As the story unfolded however the relationship became more natural. I didn't find it annoying anymore, but they didn't make me feel anything at all, which might be worse?

I enjoyed Cygna, the Emperor's mother. She was a worthier antagonist than the Emperor who in fact bored me with his incredibly dumb decisions. Like Geoffrey in GOT, only much less entertaining.

The character I liked most though is hands down Tyrus, the emperor's nephew. He didn't manage to surprise me, but he was the smartest potato and I applaud him for that. He also seemed the most developed. I was rooting for him and I was against him on various occasions. Basically, I just wanted to hug him lots.


Okay, raise your hand if you didn't see this one coming from the first time Nemesis meets the love interest as a virtual Avatar. For the most part I wasn't against this relationship, but it did become annoying when everyone wanted to sacrifice their lives for Nemesis on several occasions. I don't know, does not wanting to die make you a bad person? Because that's the feeling I got from this story. Everyone wanted to die at some stage or they wanted to sacrifice their life for someone who was constantly trying to become a sacrifice.

The actual relationship in the story that was focused on however did make me feel the things which was great, but in a second love kind of way. Like I enjoyed it, but it didn't blow me away and I don't think it will last either despite the many declarations of undying love...

Final thoughts:

It took me a long time to get into this one and even once I got into it, I wasn't exactly blown away. It had lots of tropes that a less avid reader might see and really enjoy, but it just wasn't the ruthless heart pounding story that I thought I had signed up for.
Rating: 2.5 / 5

Who should read the book?

If you don't read that much Science Fiction Fantasy then you might find this book really entertaining. If I couldn't see the twists for what they were I would have had a much better time with this read. Also, if you find the first half to drag a little but you don't like not finishing books then hold on until the second half and I promise you you'll be so much more entertained.

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