The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

Posted July 6, 2017 by Minx

The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid
Series: The Diabolic #1
Also in this series:The Empress
Also by this author: The Empress
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Pages: 416
ISBN: 1481472674
ASIN: 1481472674
Purchase at: Amazon Barnes & Noble Book Depository Google Play Kobo IndieBound
Minx's Rating:

A 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. Nothing else.

For Nemesis, that person is Sidonia, heir to the galactic Senate. The two grew up side by side, and there’s no one Nemesis wouldn’t kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the Imperial 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 corrupt politicians and two-faced Senators’ children, and Nemesis must find within herself the one thing she’s been told she doesn’t have—humanity. With the Empire beginning to fracture and rebellion looming, that could be the one thing that saves her and the Empire itself.


I always dig any book where the story is set on another planet or in outer space. In this book, I have all that plus the planets are terraformed and colonized by humans who would rather have the hardships than be ruled by tyranny. The rest of society, the elite, all live on space stations built with all their needs in mind. Everything they need is cultivate or simulated. Ohh, the idea makes me jealous, living on a space station??! Yes, please!

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!


About S.J. Kincaid

Author S.J. Kincaid

S.J. Kincaid originally wanted to be an astronaut, but a dearth of mathematical skills turned her interest to science fiction instead. Her debut novel, Insignia, was shortlisted for the Waterstones prize. Its sequels, Vortex and Catalyst, have received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Booklist. Her next book, The Diabolic, comes out in the Fall of 2016. She’s chronically restless and has lived in California, Alabama, New Hampshire, Oregon, Chicago, and Scotland with no signs of staying in one place anytime soon.

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