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The Diabolic Hardcover – November 1, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Nemesis is a Diabolic. More important, she is Sidonia's Diabolic, trained to protect her at any cost. Diabolics are engineered to bond with one person and to spend their lives guarding them. They have no emotions, needs, or desires except for keeping their charges safe. Sidonia, a senator's heir, is at great risk, since her father is considered a heretic. In a galaxy where the Emperor and his family rule through fear, Nemesis will do anything to protect Sidonia, even if it means impersonating her. When Sidonia is summoned to court, Nemesis must pose as her to keep her away from the dangerous members of court. In a place filled with lies, deceit, and greed, Nemesis tries to determine who she can trust and who is an enemy. However, pretending to be fully human is starting to affect Nemesis. She is beginning to care for people other than Sidonia, although she was not created to care. Could Diabolics possibly possess the ability to love? Kincaid has crafted incredible characters who readers can relate to and care for even if they range from privileged, bratty children to creations designed to kill. The imagery used in establishing these protagonists and the complex setting will thrill the YA audience. VERDICT Fans of Marissa Meyer's "The Lunar Chronicles" will enjoy Kincaid's latest. This story of friendship, love, loss, suspense, and galactic beings will grab the attention of sci-fi fans and general readers alike.—Jessica Strefling, US Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit Library
"Exploring what it is to question society’s definition of what you are and who you should be...the first-person narration makes the story immediate, and the political plotline could yield some thought-provoking discussion." (Booklist August 2016)
"Philosophical, twisty, and addictive." (Kirkus Reviews August 2016)
"Kincaid has crafted incredible characters who readers can relate to and care for...these protagonists and the complex setting will thrill the YA audience. VERDICT Fans of Marissa Meyer’s “The Lunar Chronicles” will enjoy Kincaid’s latest. This story of friendship, love, loss, suspense, and galactic beings will grab the attention of sci-fi fans and general readers alike." (School Library Journal September 2016)
"Sings with intrigue...With unpredictable twists and mounting suspense, The Diabolic is a breathless journey into the very center of what it means to be human" (Shelf Awareness November 4, 2016)
"You start loving Kincaid's second science fiction novel on Page 2...Watching Nemesis cut a violent swath through the vile, duplicitous aristocracy is a joy...the tension is nearly always high, the characters memorable, and the bond between Nemesis and· Sidonia genuinely moving. "Diabolic," itself a genetic experiment blending "I, Claudius" and "The Terminator," appeals to both our better and more devious angels." (The New York Times Book Review November 13, 2016)
"The Diabolic is a solid young adult sci-fi adventure that is sure to appeal to the masses...Highly recommended for high school readers and collections." (The El Paso Times 11/6/16)
"The perfect kind of high-pressure adventure" (TeenVogue.com 11/1/16)
"The world building is excellent...readers will soak in the nuances of this complex post-Earth society" (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books December 2016)
"Readers who love a good dystopian plot with violence, twists, and romance will enjoy this novel." (VOYA December 2016)
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I can’t believe this novel is a stand alone! This galactic court S. J. Kincaid has created is a whole world just waiting to be unearthed. The elites live on decaying starships, while the remaining humans live on planets scattered throughout space. I really enjoyed reading about Nemesis as she struggled to keep her abilities hidden while forging new relationships. She is a humanoid and was created to serve a purpose. While doing what she thinks is best for Sidonia’s survival, Nemesis learns that there is more to her life than she could have imagined.
Romance is a prevalent theme as the story progresses. Nemesis meets Tyrus, the deranged nephew of the current Emperor. As Nemesis spends time with him, she begins to have feelings and emotions that she can’t understand. She wasn’t created to have the capacity to love others. I thought S. J. Kincaid did a wonderful job writing the romance. As the reader, you understand the struggle Nemesis is going through. It is because of who she is, we get more reserved yet passionate moments between her and Tyrus. I also liked that we didn’t quite get the full image of who Tyrus really was. He was unpredictable in so many ways. He could be kind and merciful one moment or cunning the next. In my humble opinion, their personalities made Nemesis and Tyrus an amazing couple.
The action, suspense, and serious Twists made The Diabolic one of my favorite books this year! Could it be turned into a series? Absolutely! However, I was beyond happy with the ending. I could read this over and over again with that ending! I totally had some major feels! Maybe a novella of Tyrus and Nemesis in the future?! I wouldn’t mind that! I highly recommend The Diabolic for a thrilling science fiction romance that won't disappoint!
There are a lot of YA SFF reads out there. This is definitely one of those that's worth picking up. It's set far in the future where people mostly live in space, aboard intergalactic spaceships. Those who live on planets are called Excess, because well, in the future, planet dwellers aren't important. Humans and animals alike are engineered and tailored to suit the needs of the wealthy and powerful.
Bring in Nemesis. She's a Diabolic. Diabolics are basically superhuman assassins who will protect their one bonded human at any cost, even their own life. They'll do it happily, because, well, that's all they know how to do. Nemesis's bonded human is Sidonia Impryean, a Senator's daughter. Nemesis isn't treated like a human by anyone but Sidonia, and even Nemesis herself does not think of herself as a human.
I won't spoil any of the plot because it's filled with dramatic twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the end. I will say that if you look at the basic structure of the plot, it's pretty typical YA. Nothing incredibly new here.
But what makes this story great are the characters. Nemesis's perspective is fresh and interesting, because like I stated above, she doesn't think of herself as human. She has one sole purpose in this world, and that is to protect Sidonia at all costs. Anything else is above her status in life. She has super strength, super speed, super reflexes. She's sort of like a superhero without emotion. She's not evil, but not necessarily good, morally gray. Indifferent to anyone except Sidonia.
The writing was excellent, poetic in places but all relatable and easy to digest. There is a romance in the book, which to be honest, I've grown a little sick of lately, but this one is incredibly well done. It isn't filled with needless angst. The characters don't behave like idiots. It's not a case of instalove. And it creates a very interesting dynamic for this cast of characters. The setting was also beautiful and it often reminded me of the movie Passengers. Sprawling spaceships with all sorts of luxuries, anti gravity chambers, salt baths, viewing windows to the stars, indoor rivers and trees, etc.
All in all- don't dismiss this as just another YA novel. It was an awesome read that I'd recommend to anyone who enjoys the genre.