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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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Top customer reviews
I enjoyed the fact that Nemesis ended being such a dynamic and round character, for it was something that I was not expecting to happen at all. I was not thrilled that there were romantic undertones to this novel, even though a full blown romance was never fully developed, but I thought that even the idea of a possible romance seemed to take away from the relationship that Nemesis had with Sedonia. I was also particularly disturbed by a scene involving an animal, but I actually thought the harshness of this scene helped to further the plot and keep me engaged. I gave this book a three star rating because I really liked the revolutionary concept of this novel, but I definitely had some issues following the plot line. I felt that Kincaid could be unnecessarily wordy at times, but I felt the fact that this novel is so character driven that it helped to enhance the plot and overall made it a good read. I would highly recommend this book to any young adult reader who loves a good science fiction novel.
In addition to having all the luxury the elites are also able to modify pretty much anything about themselves that they wish with nanos. Sickness? Virtually unheard of, their technology takes care of everything. Leaving the elite to become self-serving, loathsome, back-biting narcissists who actually have no more scientific advances because they have outlawed the spreading of scientific knowledge and follow a religion that is all about worshipping the cosmos.
Prior to the banning of scientific pursuits though, scientists had been tinkering with genetic engineering and had created the diabolics. A diabolic is considered a creature in this story. A creature made through genetic manipulation with a few things missing. In the beginning, they start off no better than feral animals. Taught to kill without remorse. They have no feelings beyond the basic primal feelings of hunger, fear, and rage.
The idea behind the diabolics was that they were to be the ultimate bodyguards for the one person they were bonded with. In order to be bonded with their “person” they were put through a process that modified the connections within their brain in order to make them “love” their person so intensely that they would do anything to see them not come to harm. Nemesis had been created for her person, Sidonia Impyrean, her entire existence since they were children was to keep her safe from harm.
This story is told from Nemesis’s point of view. I really enjoyed her thoughts on how she interpreted her situation before she was modified and how she felt as a diabolic after. Her total commitment to Sidonia was in part that she was created that way but also because Sidonia had treated her as more than a creature. How she was so callous and viewed the actions of those around her with such a singular focus was fascinating. I especially loved that the author was able to show that Nemesis was a diabolic but that there was something more there. She did not necessarily understand the world around her but to make Sidonia happy she tried to.
Many years after the inception of the diabolics there were a number of incidents where some diabolics had been killing off perceived enemies of their person for the slightest reasons or because it was felt that their person would advance if the competition was eliminated. For this reason and more diabolics had been banned and were supposed to be eliminated. Sidonia begged her father, Senator Von Impyrean, not to harm Nemesis and he was happy to go along with her wishes as he hated anything to do with the Emperor. He thought it would be a simple matter but it brought the scrutiny of the Courts down on them.
Later when Sidonia’s father made a fatal error in judgment and pushed the Emperor of the Imperial Court too far in his quest for the sharing of scientific knowledge, things took a disastrous turn and Sidonia was summoned to what was surely to be her death. Sidonia’s mother has always cleaned up the Senator’s mess but in this case, there is little she can do. Desperate not to lose her only daughter the Matriarch comes up with a plan that is treason, plain and simple. She decides that she will defy the Emperor and send Nemesis in Sidonia’s place.
This is no simple task and I utterly enjoyed reading how Nemesis was transformed into a person passable for Sidonia. Nemesis had to study and train in order to fake being human with emotions and feelings. Nemesis was willing to do whatever it took to protect Sidonia and what really endeared me to this character was that she truly loved Sidonia for reasons beyond the bond but she had no way to understand that she truly loved Sidonia. I know that sounds weird but Nemesis believed that she was nothing more than a creature and it was just beautiful to watch her come to her own realizations and understandings of who she was throughout this story.
Once Nemesis was taken to the Imperial Court she was schooled in court politics. No matter how prepared she was it was understanding human behaviors and emotions that were the most troublesome for her. I laughed a few times because she was so naïve and I could see the bad choices that she was making. She became embroiled in a plot that sounds like freedom for those who need it most but it could also be just another type of political manipulation. I spent most of the read not knowing who to trust and swearing at those that she chose to trust. I was definitely kept on the edge of my seat throughout this story and I absolutely loved every single second. Even when my feelings were tied up in knots.
This story is amazing because it is about Nemesis finding humanity when she supposedly has none. She has no one to help her navigate her inner conflicts and seeing the conclusions that she comes to, very rewarding. I knew from the start that I was going to enjoy reading this story just based on the world building but the evolution of Nemesis was beautiful, heartbreaking, and rewarding. I highly recommend this book and I will absolutely be purchasing the next installment in The Diabolic series. I loved this book! Loved It!
Most recent customer reviews
When I think of humanity and what makes us human, I think about where our "soul" ends and begins...Read more
There are a lot of YA SFF reads out there. This is definitely one of those that's worth picking up.Read more
It has so many components of a hit YA science fiction/dystopian novel:
1.) Blood and guts (Nemesis is bad a--.Read more