Wednesday, November 16, 2016

ARC & Audiobook Review: The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

Title: The Diabolic
Written by: S.J. Kincaid
Published: November 1, 2016 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: 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. 

Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe. 

When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia—a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything. 

As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns there is something more to her than just deadly force. She finds a humanity truer than what she encounters from most humans. Amidst all the danger, action, and intrigue, her humanity just might be the thing that saves her life—and the empire.

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher at BEA. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

Oh wow, I had heard great things about this book and yet I still wasn't really prepared at how fantastic it was. This is a seriously thrilling book full of adventure, mystery, and complex characters.

The first thing that struck me about this book is the world. For one thing, this is a book full of political intrigue. It's a society similar to a high fantasy or even dystopian where an elite group of people are in power over they're fighting among one another to keep that power. And like any book with a strong political undercurrent, there is a lot of death and destruction but there is a lot of intrigue and mystery. And seriously, there was so much plotting to this book. It may have rivaled Game of Thrones in that respect, but if it didn't it came damn close. So much scheming. But more in that later.

But in case it's not clear from the synopsis, this is a science fiction book and the world absolutely reflects that. It's full of cyborgs, space ships, and faraway planets. You spend a lot of the book exploring the classic Sci-Fi idea of what it's like when humanity interacts with technology. Throughout the book there's a great undercurrent of science around religion, what is true, and what is best for the people. A lot of that is the basis for the political intrigue too so the two different things worked really well together. But I think in general it had this great Battlestar Gallactica kind of feel in the way it explore humanity and technology which I loved.

Much of the theme of humanity and technology was reflected in the main character of Nemesis who is a Diabolic. She is specifically engineered to protect someone and because of that she's super strong and bred to be violent. But throughout the book you see that there might be more to her and her feelings than initially expected. Nemesis was a really fantastic heroine. From the get go she comes off as a typical strong female protagonist but she is pretty layered in that she is surprisingly vulnerable and caught unaware at times. Her strength isn't necessarily intelligence and  I was rally rooting for her though and Kincaid did a great job in making me connect with her.

But there were so many other great and complex characters here. I think every single one we encountered had some kind of secret and card up their sleeve. It made for a book full of odious people I didn't trust and I seriously loved that. The only one I did actually trust and like was Sidonia. She was a great foil for Nemesis in that she was all intelligence. They had a really great friendship and even though she wasn't in a lot of the book, she made a good impression. Another really great secondary characters though was the love interest, Tyrus. Tyrus in general was really complex and interesting being another really great foil for Nemesis in that he was all about the political maneuvers but had some serious secrets to keep. Plus... guys, I actually really loved this romance. It was complicated, interesting, and added a lot to the plot of the book.

And speaking of the plot, oh man, I cannot say enough how amazingly well-plotted this book was. I already mentioned how this was a world full of scheming and so it should come as no surprise that there were all kinds of crazy surprises and twists. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, there was something new to catch me off guard. There was no way to predict everything here and I spent the last 10% with my jaw on the floor, confused and totally enthralled. Not to mention it all really built to a thrilling conclusion. There was a lot to it and a few reveals throughout the middle kept the action coming. I seriously couldn't put it down. This is a standalone and it works well as a standalone but if I'm being entirely honest, I wish there was more. There was a resolution to the plot but I still want to know what happens next. And that to me is the mark of a great read.

Honestly this was a really fantastic read. I've been in a bit of a book slump but this one totally cured me. It had an amazing world, great characters, and a thrilling plot. If you are like me you have been seeing rave reviews of this book and they are all absolutely warranted. This is definitely one of my favorite books of the year. It was amazing.

I give The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid 10 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: BUY! Totally buy this book. If you like YA science fiction and are looking for one that has some complex themes about technology and humanity, check it out. Or if you are into political intrigue and crazy twists, oh is this the book for you. Or you're just in the mood for something super thrilling. What I'm saying is, read this book. I'm not all for the comparisons but this was Battlestar Galactica meets Game of Thrones and it was amazing. I would absolutely recommend it.

Have you read The Diabolic? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. Yayyyy Cassi! I'm so happy to hear you loved it! The story was so exciting and I ship Nemesis and Tyrus so hard <3 Loooooove this book!

    1. YES! I really did love it. So many people (you included) had amazing things to say so I knew it was going to be great. I ship them too and I spent a lot of time worrying about how that was going to burn me.

  2. I hadn't heard of this one before now but I'm glad I stopped by. It sounds so different from the other standalone YAs out there at it's nice to see one that isn't going to be a series. It seems like series are popping up everywhere. The characters and story sound great. Awesome review.

    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

    1. Oh man! I'm so glad I could introduce it to you. It's seriously fantastic. And I agree that there seems to be a lot of series, I usually say more standalones but when I love a book, like this one, I want more.

  3. WHAT?! Battlestar Galactica meets Game of Thrones?!?! OK, NOW I NEED IT ASAP!
    I'll probably get the audiobook too...

    1. Pili! You must. It totally is BSG meets GoT. Imagine if there were cylons in Westeros. That's basically how this feels. You will love love love it.

  4. Ooh nice! I am just about convinced on this one! I already added it to my wishlist! It sounds like a very intriguing read and I've read nothing but good reviews on it! Definitely want to give this one a try at some point! Great review!

    1. Thanks Jessica! It's really amazing. The good reviews were not wrong. I guess this is a case where I would say you should believe the hype. I loved it. I hope you get a copy and enjoy.