The Diabolic by S. J. KincaidThe Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid

The Diabolic

byS. J. Kincaid

Paperback | August 29, 2017

Pricing and Purchase Info

$13.67 online 
$14.99 list price save 8%
Earn 68 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


“The perfect kind of high-pressure adventure.” —
A New York Times bestseller!

Red Queen meets The Hunger Games in this epic novel about what happens when a senator’s daughter is summoned to the galactic court as a hostage, but she’s really the galaxy’s most dangerous weapon in disguise.

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.
Title:The DiabolicFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:432 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.1 inShipping dimensions:9 × 6 × 1.1 inPublished:August 29, 2017Publisher:Simon & Schuster Books for Young ReadersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1481472682

ISBN - 13:9781481472685

Appropriate for ages: 14


Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVED this book. now that's a bloody ending! there were some luls in the pacing but the last 1/3 was insane!
Date published: 2018-04-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Disappointed Ughhhhh. This book was AT LEAST 1.5x longer than it needed to be. I'm sad about that, because I really, really wanted to like it. The premise is super interesting, and I want to know more about the world in which it's set. The society's structure is fascinating, the settings are beautiful, and there's so much one could do with the idea of a sub-class of humanoid creatures designed/bred for one purpose and denied humanity. There was SO much potential here, but... Oh my GOD was I bored. So bored. Almost the whole time. I felt zero connection to any of the characters, I cared next to nothing about the plot, and the writing was mediocre at best. Characters: In books, TV shows, and movies, I know things have gotten bad when I'm rooting for a character to die. I'm thinking, thank goodness, one less person to deal with. I didn't care about what happened to any of the characters, and while they were well-rounded and each had their own unique voice (which, points for that, because it is HARD), I just... didn't connect with them. I can't put my finger on why. Plot: Battle between science and religion? Cool, sign me up! Political intrigue and murder plots? Maybe, I'll check it out. Which random member of a crappy family gets to sit on the throne? Hardest of passes. Unfortunately, this book leaned way too hard on the latter two and barely skimmed over the first. I want to hear more about the Hellionic* religion! I want to know more about the disaster that destroyed all knowledge! How did the humans survive the event? How did some books survive it? Why is it so important that knowledge be suppressed? Give me all of these details! I don't care about a cheesy love story and somebody complaining about not knowing what to do with her life and who-plotted-what! The basic conflict, the main thing that, at the beginning, seemed like it would tie the whole story together, was totally forgotten within a few chapters. Writing: I am not one of those writers/reviewers who abhors adverbs in general. They absolutely (ha) have their place, and I think it's silly to "ban" them altogether. However... I see the rationale behind the advice. Once I realized that this book used so many adverbs, I couldn't. stop. hearing. them. I'm not going to pick a specific example from the book, but there were many (many!!!!) times where I mentally substituted a stronger verb instead of the adverb+verb combo that I read. The writing was also sooooo repetitive. There were SO many "sharp glances" and "searching gazes" and "searching faces" and "long moments." SO MANY. I think - for example - that the exact phrase "scorned lover" was used THREE TIMES in ONE PARAGRAPH, with one more use on the following page. Mix it up a little, please! I'm sure this contributed to my overall boredom. This could've easily gotten another star with a little bit stronger writing. Again, I'm disappointed in this book, since I wanted to like it so badly. I bought it based on the description and the cover (...ok, mostly the cover), and it did not live up to my expectations. It's not terrible; just don't go in with sky-high hopes. *forgive any spelling errors; I listened to the audiobook.
Date published: 2018-02-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great to see S J Kincaid grow as an author I have been Kincaid's fan ever since the Insignia trilogy, not because her writing is phemonmenal but because she has an ability to create characters I resonate with and care for deeply. With her new book, I can definitely see her mature as a writer, yet she also stays true to her passions, interests (the fusion of psychology, neuroscience, and science fiction/dystopia). This fusion is also something that drew e to her writing. I did feel that the book use a lot of clichés pertaining to the YA and dystopian genre, which made the book relatively predictable. Also, the ending was rushed and underwhelming (I wanted more build-up). However, the book as a whole is enjoyable and it does bring up some interesting questions about human nature and what it means to be human. Overall, I am intrigued by the new direction Kincaid is taking with her writing and I cannot wait to see more of it.
Date published: 2018-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What a Great Book I have a slight book addiction and I was looking for a new series to start so I picked up this book; I definitely don't regret it. This book had an amazing storyline and twists and turns throughout the entire book. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves adventure, romance, and futuristic universes.
Date published: 2018-01-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great series Getting into this book was a little hard for me. But by the middle of the book I was eager to find out how things would play out. There were great plot twists in this book. However the next book in the series I did not enjoy as much as the first.
Date published: 2018-01-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great The writing style is very simple, but the plot more than makes up for it. Good characters as well.
Date published: 2017-12-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really good I really liked this Sci-Fi novel! It was really interesting and a little dark. I'm happy that there is another book coming out!
Date published: 2017-09-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very good even for a non sci-fi fan Didn't know what to expect but it turned out to be very good. First of all, it is NOT a series. It is one book and it ended. What a refreshing change that I do not need to buy more to find out what happened. I am not a sci-fi fan but the storyline and writing were so intriguing, it caught me attention from the start. Also if you can get the hardcover for $6, even better!
Date published: 2017-09-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from BEST SCI-FI/ROMANCE both genres were so wonderfully combined and the writing was just hands down wonderful. if you love sci-fi, this is an awesome book for you! hyped for the second book! ( i thought it was a standalone too, but im also sooo happy its a duology)
Date published: 2017-08-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Darkly Intriguing Fantasy! Her human DNA genetically altered, Nemesis “The Diabolic” in this gripping and utterly intoxicating fantasy has been trained as a fearless and inhuman predator with one purpose- to protect Senator von Impyrean’s daughter Sidonia. As this story opens not only have some diabolics gone rogue and been abolished by the Senate, but tyrannical Emperor Randevald von Domitrian hating the Senator’s scientific farsightedness has ordered Sidonia to appear in the galactic court in three months. Fearing for Sidonia’s life, Nemesis agrees to replace her, changing her physical appearance and taking on the mannerisms of the Impyrean daughter. On her arrival expecting to be killed Nemesis instead is swept up in the deadly politics of a dangerous empire where rebellion hides just below the surface, and discovers hidden human emotions she’s never experienced before. Fast-paced and action-packed S.J. Kincaid creates a deadly world that’s subservient to the terror of a paranoid and power-hungry Emperor who murders anyone who gets in his way. The suspense intensifies not only when the Emperor shows his callousness in the deadly fights he uses to amuse his friends in the arena; with his destruction of deadly factions; but with the summoning of his enemies’ heirs to his fortress. With surprising twists and turns as new power alliances are forged, and the atmosphere vibrates with lies, deception and horrifying secrets, events unfold that propel the plot quickly and smoothly to an exciting but deadly confrontation near the end. Yet amid all the death and violence, love blossoms between Nemesis and Tyrus Domitrian, the Successor Primus whose family was slaughtered by his grandmother Cygna so her son Randevald could inherit the throne. Different from a typical romance as Nemesis has never experienced an emotional connection outside of her relationship with her mistress and Tyrus is considered mad with his weak and eccentric behavior, the two begin to trust each other and plan to save the kingdom by undermining the current regime until a death and his grandmother’s scheming drives a wedge between them. In a fantasy where nothing is black or white, good or evil, S.J. Kincaid has created complex, strong and remarkable characters like Nemesis the skilled warrior who thinks of herself as a monster. She’s shrewd, reasonable, but harbors a killer instinct although compassionate and kind at times. Delicate, meek and shy Sidonia von Impyrean has an inner strength of steel that she keeps hidden. She’s kind, nonjudgmental and intellectually curious but often naïve. Tyrus Domitrian haunted by the murder of his family disguises himself as the mad heir to the throne. He’s smart, always one step ahead of his uncle and grandmother as well as resilient, calculating and coldly determined. Yet in this plot it’s the deception, conniving, and menace of Cygna Domitrian and Elantra Pasus as well as the merciless brutality and suspicious nature of the Emperor that add a dark and terrifying chill to a story that you can’t put down until finished. I thoroughly enjoyed “The Diabolic” a darkly intriguing fantasy and can’t wait to read the sequel
Date published: 2017-08-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good This book was confusing at times but overall I did enjoy it.
Date published: 2017-08-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from OMG! I wasn't sure about this book, but it turned out fabulous! Nemesis and Tyrus were amazing.
Date published: 2017-06-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A lesson in emotions This book explores emotions in a really significant way, though it's not as open about sexuality (Nemesis is very disconnected from her body but somehow cares about chastity?). The political intrigue and colonial themes connect to Nemesis' own explorations of ownership and sense of self in an interesting way.
Date published: 2017-06-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WOW! This is fantastic! Such a cool world, and just... wow.
Date published: 2017-05-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book! I bought this book about a month ago, and while I was reading it, I could not put it down! Totally recommended for people that enjoy books about sci-fi! ❣️
Date published: 2017-03-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from #plumreview This book took me a really long time to get into it was slow and confusing at times. It was ok but nothing fantastic
Date published: 2017-03-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Strange book but pretty exciting! It's kind of like Game of Thrones but in space. You can't really trust anyone and you don't know what's going to happen next.
Date published: 2017-03-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Ummmm It took awhile to go get going and then it just never went anywhere. The concept was interesting and the plot seemed good but in the end the book was boring.
Date published: 2017-03-11
Rated 2 out of 5 by from No thanks Not something i will read again
Date published: 2017-03-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thrilling Sci Fi! That was awesome! Intense and creative and unpredictable and thrilling and romantic and everything I could have asked for in a one of a kind sci fi book! The world building was great, the story unique and filled with twists and unexpected surprises, especially near the end. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough and was biting my nails in some very intense moments! Nemesis is a great character, a very unconventional hero. It was interesting to see her react to certain feelings and make mistakes with them. I loved her, but it's Tyrus who has my heart. He was AWESOME. I can't even tell you why because of the twist of his story, but he's definitely one of my favourite YA male leads. The whole book was just stellar, with the writing crisp and fast-paced and literally everything happening for a reason. No plot hole was left unopened, which I highly respect and love. The story could carry on, but this worked well as a standalone. I had a great time reading it and can't recommend it enough!
Date published: 2017-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! Absolutely one of my favourite books ever. The plot was beautiful, the characters complex, the writing amazing. Highly recommend.
Date published: 2017-03-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A Rocky Journey This book was a very rocky journey to get through. There were some parts that I despised quite a lot and others that were interesting. The only reason why I gave this book three stars *SPOILER* is because it got me emotionally hooked to Deadly and when he died, it broke my heart so much. It hurt a lot but I could actually connect with the book at that point. I didn't enjoy them 'killing off' Sidonia, then bringing her back only to kill her again. If the author really felt the need to do so, at least wait until way later until they killed her enough. I felt nothing when she died because I barely got to know her. Otherall, this book has SOOO much potential, but there a lot of things needing to be fixed for it to be perfect.
Date published: 2017-02-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thrilling and Unpredictable I can't believe it took me so long to finally read S.J. Kincaid's YA sci-fi novel The Diabolic. Thrilling. Daring. Unpredictable. The Diabolic was everything I'd hoped it would be and more. With corrupt officials, scheming ladies, and court politics—the book actually reminded me of the Chinese historical dramas I'm addicted to watching. I absolutely loved it! There were some truly diabolical moments that made gasp aloud and then grin wickedly in admiration. Nemesis is a Diabolic, a genetically modified humanoid created to protect Sidonia, daughter of Senator von Impryean, at all costs. A Diabolic is trained to be ruthless and kill their master's enemies. They lack empathy, and they're the ultimate bodyguard for the elite imperial families across the galaxy. And now Nemesis is one of the very last ones. The Emperor, fearing their singular loyalty to their masters, has recently banned Diabolics and ordered them all to be executed. But the Impryeans defy the order and keep Nemesis alive anyways, faking her death. To Sidonia, Nemesis has always been her closest friend and confident, especially since the family lives in isolation on a fortress that orbits an uninhabited gas giant. Kindhearted Sidonia may consider Nemesis an equal, but Nemesis has never forgotten her true purpose. When Senator von Impryean offends the Emperor, Sidonia is summoned to court as a hostage. Now, Nemesis must impersonate Sidonia in the Imperial Court to protect her. Rebellion is brewing and the Senate is divided into two factions: ardent Helionics and those who wish to return to scientific pursuits. The imperial royals cling to any power they can, even if that means killing their dissenters. Sidonia would never survive such a cruel place, but Nemesis has a chance if she treads carefully. She can be just as cunning and lethal if need be. Yet as unlikely as it may seem, it's actually her compassion that will keep her alive. I loved seeing Nemesis slowly realize that her life had greater meaning than just devotion to Sidonia, that she could be selfish or caring or even fall in love. Danger and intrigue. Unexpected twists. A fierce and deadly heroine. Even a dash of romance! I couldn't get enough of S.J. Kincaid's addictive The Diabolic, reading and finishing the book in one sitting. And now I absolutely can't wait to see where the story will lead us next in the sequel. If you're a YA science fiction fan, don't miss this one! Or bump it to the top of your TBR if you've put it aside. I think you'll love The Diabolic too! ** I received an ARC from Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review. **
Date published: 2017-02-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Predictable Very predictable dystopian novel. Nothing really new here.
Date published: 2017-02-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Ok Ok book but the idea has been done lots of times over. Nothing really new here
Date published: 2017-02-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Ejoyable! I really enjoyed this novel. It was interesting and compelling. The plot and the details from the space ships to the fight scenes were spot on and felt so real! I really liked all the science fiction facts and Nemesis. Tyrus and Nemesis were so right for each other and I even enjoyed the loyalty between Nemesis and Sidonia. Filled with action, betrayal and the fight for the throne, this is one novel not to be missed! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-02-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Very Enjoyable! The Diabolic follows Nemesis, a diabolic (a genetically engineered human made emotionless and deadly) who serves her mistress Sidonia. Ever since she was bonded to Sidonia, Nemesis' mission has been to protect her at all costs, even if that means killing a few dozen people (actually, that might be encouraged). So when danger arises and Sidonia is in the most danger possible, Nemesis trains to be like her so she may take her place and face the danger herself. The problems with this? 1) Sidonia finds out and strongly disagrees with such a course of action, 2) Nemesis goes anyway because the galactic court is nowhere near safe for Sidonia, and 3) Nemesis tends to only do things that would put Sidonia in danger once the act has begun because, well, she's not Sidonia and masquerading as a human being is hard when you were made to destroy everything in sight that endangers your master (or in this case, Nemesis because she must survive for Sidonia). All in all, this is a journey full of death (murder is popular), torture (why rush?), self-discovery (gotta learns something), romance (they like hearts, though usually when ripped out of the body...), and of course, political plots of demise and trickery. CHARACTERS Nemesis is a good character. She is brutal, passionate, determined, and honest (though she can lie very well if she wishes to). In the beginning she claims to hate what she is, but there are hints that she actually may not mind as she compliments herself at the same time. As time goes on within the novel and she walks around as Sidonia, she realizes how much she dislikes not being able to use her strength or intimidating stare. The more she pretends to be her mistress, the more she seems to become human. No matter what hardships Nemesis went through, she stood tall and imposing, deadly. She does have her moments of weakness however, and that makes her more human than anything else. "He yelled out in horror, but he did not escape. I was too fast." (1%) Sidonia is a character we really don't know much about. She is the sweetest, softest of everyone Nemesis meets, but how would she really react to what Nemesis sees? What makes her mad, sad, or happy? We know she and Nemesis have a bond, that they love each other, would die for each other, but where is all the proof, the examples? Who is she really? Tyrus is a cunning, manipulative little heir. Stuck in a whirl of madness of his own making, how is he to come out unaffected? Crazy, unpredictable, a mastermind at deceit. Is he trustworthy? Nemesis sure thinks so. Tyrus is a pawn and the master all in one. ROMANCE Predictable. We saw it coming, we knew it would inevitably come to be. It was well executed in the beginning, engaging and quite interesting to read. And then it was as if the two characters were thrown at each other. Merely a little nudge to move the plot along that was more of a hurtle across a football field. PLOT I found this book to be an enjoyable read. I enjoyed the twists and overall plot of action and death. However, I feel like some plot points were added in merely to show us how cunning some characters are even though we already have an abundance of examples. I also feel like many of the deaths were there simply to prove to us that people are cruel and Nemesis' opponents are worthy of her yearning to end them, though all of this is proven without the excessive deaths and torture. This is easily overlooked for me because I enjoy murder and death and violence, and found that while some manipulations and deaths were unneeded, they were enjoyable to read about and gave the story more character rather than just romance and false humanity. WRITING The beginning started off cold and distant, as you would expect from a diabolic raised to have no emotions. But even as Nemesis seemed to grow used to conveying emotions, the writing never really grew with her. It stayed lacking in the emotionally connecting department and that made it less riveting. Many of the situations were simply a list of what happens that read dull and monotonously. This definitely helped us understand just how far Nemesis had to grow in order to get to where she is in the end of the book however. This allows us to better appreciate her character's growth. "Donia might emerge from her chambers if she heard anything. I'd hate to murder her mother in front of her." (4%) OVERALL The Diabolic is engaging and not what you would expect from the synopsis. Mystery, murder, thrill, romance, complex diabolical plans, this books has it all.
Date published: 2017-02-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from First original dystopian I've read in years. A solid amalgamation of everyone's favourite YA dystopians/scifi but with enough original worldbuilding to be a completely fresh story. It's gritty and not afraid to stand up and express how messed up certain dystopian tropes are that tend to get swept under the rug in other YA stories. Could very well stand a solid chance of being the next Hunger Games.
Date published: 2017-02-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good Story Though a bit predictable at times, this book was reasonably entertaining at throughout. Some interesting perspectives on human nature and what defines it, and an interesting political climate.
Date published: 2017-02-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from convuluted take some elses idea and write a book
Date published: 2017-01-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great! I really liked it. It was interesting and fascinating and the plot was well written. The characters were also interesting. Overall, really good read.
Date published: 2017-01-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Almost great. I always love a strong female lead. No more damsels in distress. Nemesis isn't your typical protagonist. She's not bad but she isn't necessarily good either. Like most dystopian/sci-fi novels she lives in a world divided into two sides (the followers and the rebels), overseen by a ruthless Emperor. At first glance this looks like its going to be your typical plot. It's not. While the idea has similarities to many other dystopian books it is original enough to stand on its own. I particularly enjoyed the romantic interest. I found myself going back to reread their scenes together. But all of these things seemed to be ruined by an extremely rushed ending. It almost felt like the author just wanted to get it over with. I would still say it is worth the read as the majority of the book was great. Just lower your expectations near the end.
Date published: 2017-01-19
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Promising start, flopped in the second half I was really enjoying the worldbuilding in this book, but it took an action character, wrapped her up in political intrigue, then made that political intrigue completely inexplicable. The characters had fluctuating motivations and power depending on what each scene needed, it felt like. The story also made a late-book reveal or two totally meaningless. Too bad--it had potential. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-01-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I Loved this! I bought this thinking it was boring, but I read it and its great!
Date published: 2017-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great I love this book so much! would certainly recommend
Date published: 2016-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing This is an amazingly well written book. I love the fact that this is written in such a unique perspective. This book is unlike the Hunger Games and Red Queen despite what the critics say. Sure, there are similar elements, BUT there is no "chosen one" to save the world, nor is there a character in which the fate of the revolution lies on. This is a story about a person finding her humanity, in a world where everyone tells her she is but a creature not designed to love, not designed to be able to feel humanity. It's very moving and reading from her perspective and seeing her choices change herself, seeing Nemesis gain humanity - it's beautiful. I really enjoyed this book and am so glad I bought it so that I could reread this.
Date published: 2016-12-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing This is an amazingly well written book. I love the fact that this is written in such a unique perspective. This book is unlike the Hunger Games and Red Queen despite what the critics say. Sure, there are similar elements, BUT there is no "chosen one" to save the world, nor is there a character in which the fate of the revolution lies on. This is a story about a person finding her humanity, in a world where everyone tells her she is but a creature not designed to love, not designed to be able to feel humanity. It's very moving and reading from her perspective and seeing her choices change herself, seeing Nemesis gain humanity - it's beautiful. I really enjoyed this book and am so glad I bought it so that I could reread this.
Date published: 2016-12-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from 3 stars it was an amazingly well done book, I really enjoyed the book
Date published: 2016-12-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Cool and intimidating Nemesis is your next favourite So I was in the mood for a strong, hard-shelled female protagonist and, oh boy, did Nemesis satisfy. Imagine if the T-X from the Terminator series was rewritten as a (not evil) relatable young woman in a sci-fi drama and you've got Kincaid's Diabolic. As you can you probably guess with that comparison...the story is quite violent and contains some sensitive subject matter. However, the world is easy to grasp and Kincaid definitely threw in some surprising emotional turns. Good read!
Date published: 2016-12-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 5 Stars I am not normally a fan of sci-fi but I decided to give this a shot. I typically find sci-fi novels far too complicated - too much new vocabulary that sounds so weird and unnatural that I just can't remember what they mean. The Diabolic was a pleasant surprise. It is a very original idea and while it draws inspiration from present topics such as religion v.s. science, The Diabolic takes place in a future so distant that they have forgotten about Earth and what life was actually like here. We are barely a distant memory to these characters. This book is absolutely nothing like Red Queen or The Hunger Games. It actually reminded me a lot of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Nemesis is a Diabolic – a deadly, engineered being that mostly resembles a human but is fiercely strong, fast, ferocious, and relatively unfeeling. Diabolics have one mission only: to protect the human they are assigned to. Nemesis is assigned to Sidonia, the daughter of a Heretic. When Sidonia’s life is threatened, Nemesis must disguise herself as Sidonia and go live with the enemy: the royal family. The Diabolic is a sci-fi romance. I won’t give any spoilers but I ship the couple so hard. I love them as a couple and as characters. I will definitely be reading more from this author.
Date published: 2016-12-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Perfect mix of dystopia, and sweeping sci-fi with some roman elements thrown in! I'm a real sucker for any kind of epic story that takes place in space, so as soon as I heard about THE DIABOLIC, I was intrigued! Once I read the description about the Diabolics, Nemesis and Sidonia, I was even more interested! It took me a few chapters to get into THE DIABOLIC because Nemesis is a fairly detached narrator, but once I got into the narrative, then I couldn't put it down! I thought that Nemesis was really intriguing, and I loved learning about the world that S.J. Kindcaid created! From the technology, to the ships, to the intricate religious and class systems, I loved getting to know more about the world within THE DIABOLIC, and I found it all extremely fascinating to read about! While Nemesis wasn't the most affectionate of characters, she really grew on me. She was fierce, and her devotion to Sidonia was compelling, especially because of the way that the Diabolics were "designed." Most of all, I really loved seeing Nemesis's character change as she grew into herself and was able to expand beyond her dedication to protect Sidonia. I really, really loved seeing her develop relationships...especially when a certain member of the Emperor's family comes into the picture. ;) With so much going on, I wasn't sure how everything could be wrapped up in one book, but S.J. managed it! THE DIABOLIC was an interesting mix of dystopia, sci-fi adventure, and dark roman empire with political intrigue all mixed together, and I absolutely loved it! After talking to some of my friends who've also read this one (here's looking at you, Tiff!), I do think THE DIABOLIC is geared more towards readers who already enjoy sci-fi because it really isn't the type of story where you connect closely with the heroine. Nemesis struggles to accept the fact that she actually has feelings, so that does create some detachment within the narrative, but personally, I really loved Nemesis's confusion as she began to feel more and more, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing her push herself when it came to her humanity! If you're a fan of sweeping stories with characters who are fierce without any kind of sugar-coating, then I think you'll love THE DIABOLIC...and if you already love sci-fi, then you're going to enjoy this even more! * I received an ARC of THE DIABOLIC from Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. * This review also appears on my blog and other social media sites.
Date published: 2016-11-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Meh Not too bad, but not great
Date published: 2016-11-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I really enjoyed! that was really a fun read, i was on the edge of my seat most of the time!
Date published: 2016-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting Definitely on my to read list
Date published: 2016-11-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Some Things Really Worked, Others Didn't Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. I thought this one had it's ups and downs: it started off really strong but then tapered off, got strong again, and then I just stopped caring. I felt as though the plot was a little too all over the place and didn't really seem to have a direct path from A to B, we had to detour through A.A, A.B, A.C, etc. until we got there. This one started off strong with the idea that Nemesis was going to pretend to be Donia and learning the ropes of etiquette was great. I also liked that she was really ruthless, which was a highlight throughout the entire novel. However, the action seemed to taper off and Nemesis made some strange decisions that were supposed to show her "humanity" but just seemed really off balance for the narrative of the story. I felt like trying to show Nemesis's humanity was what killed this story in general: it was really forced, it always came up at an awkward time, and it really wasn't needed. I would have been 100% more okay with Nemesis just being a ruthless killer and not understanding the nuances of humanity. She didn't need to grow as a "human" because she wasn't one. The one thing that really worked for this one was the idea that humans are just as ruthless as the Diabolics that they created. I loved seeing the power play between all the elties and how they ensured the safety of themselves and those they loved and trusted. I very much like Tyrius and his quest for power. I didn't, however, like that there was so much of "this person is responsible for this -- no what actually this other person is" because it was so obvious that someone else was responsible and it was weird to me that Nemesis didn't immediately catch on considering she could so easily read other people. I honestly feel like if this story had just been about revenge, I would have liked it so much more. But alas. And I was really disappointed with the dancing scene that we got. I live for those and it was so boring. I would recommend checking this one out from the library rather than purchasing a copy for yourself.
Date published: 2016-11-11

Read from the Book

The Diabolic 1 SIDONIA had made a dangerous mistake. She was carving a statue out of a great stone slab. There was something mesmerizing about the swiping and flashing of her laser blade, bright against the dark window overlooking the starscape. She never aimed the blade where I expected, but somehow she always produced an image in the stone that my own imagination could never have conjured. Today it was a star gone supernova, a scene from Helionic history depicted vividly in rock. Yet one swipe of her blade had extracted too large a chunk from the base of the sculpture. I saw it at once and jumped to my feet, alarm prickling through me. The structure was no longer stable. At any moment, that entire statue was going to come crashing down. Donia knelt to study the visual effect she’d created. Oblivious to the danger. I approached quietly. I didn’t want to warn her—it might startle her into jerking or jumping, and cutting herself with the laser. Better to rectify the situation myself. My steps drew me across the room. Just as I reached her, the first creak sounded, fragments of dust raining down from above her as the statue tilted forward. I seized Donia and whipped her out of the way. A great crashing exploded in our ears, dust choking the stale air of the art chamber. I wrested the laser blade from Donia’s hand and switched it off. She pulled free, rubbing at her eyes. “Oh no! I didn’t see that coming.” Dismay slackened her face as she looked over the wreckage. “I’ve ruined it, haven’t I?” “Forget the statue,” I said. “Are you hurt?” She glumly waved off my question. “I can’t believe I did that. It was going so well. . . .” With one slippered foot, she kicked at a chunk of broken stone, then sighed and glanced at me. “Did I say thanks? I didn’t. Thanks, Nemesis.” Her thanks did not interest me. It was her safety that mattered. I was her Diabolic. Only people craved praise. Diabolics weren’t people. We looked like people, to be sure. We had the DNA of people, but we were something else: creatures fashioned to be utterly ruthless and totally loyal to a single individual. We would gladly kill for that person, and only for them. That’s why the elite imperial families eagerly snatched us up to serve as lifelong bodyguards for themselves and their children, and to be the bane of their enemies. But lately, it seemed, Diabolics were doing their jobs far too well. Donia often tapped into the Senate feed to watch her father at work. In recent weeks, the Imperial Senate had begun debating the “Diabolic Menace.” Senators discussed Diabolics gone rogue, killing enemies of their masters over small slights, even murdering family members of the child they were assigned to protect to advance that child’s interests. We were proving more of a threat to some families than an asset. I knew the Senate must have come to a decision about us, because this morning, the Matriarch had delivered a missive to her daughter—one directly from the Emperor. Donia had taken a single look at it and then thrown herself into carving. I’d lived with her for nearly eight years. We’d virtually grown up side by side. She only grew silent and distracted like this when worried about me. “What was in the missive, Donia?” She fingered a slab of the broken statue. “Nemesis . . . they banned Diabolics. Retroactively.” Retroactively. That meant current Diabolics. Like me. “So the Emperor expects you to dispose of me.” Donia shook her head. “I won’t do it, Nemesis.” Of course she wouldn’t. And then she’d be punished for it. An edge crept into my voice. “If you can’t bring yourself to be rid of me, then I’ll take the matter into my own hands.” “I said I won’t do it, Nemesis, and neither will you!” Her eyes flashed. She raised her chin. “I’ll find another way.” Sidonia had always been meek and shy, but it was a deceptive appearance. I’d long ago learned there was an undercurrent of steel within her. Her father, Senator von Impyrean, proved a help. He nursed a powerful animosity toward the Emperor, Randevald von Domitrian. When Sidonia pleaded for my life, a glimmer of defiance stole into the Senator’s eyes. “The Emperor demands her death, does he? Well, rest easy, my darling. You needn’t lose your Diabolic. I’ll tell the Emperor the death has been carried out, and that will be the end of the matter.” The Senator was mistaken. Like most of the powerful, the Impyreans preferred to live in isolation and socialize only in virtual spaces. The nearest Excess—those free humans scattered on planets—were systems away from Senator von Impyrean and his family. He wielded his authority over the Excess from a strategic remove. The family fortress orbited an uninhabited gas giant ringed by lifeless moons. So we were all startled weeks later when a starship arrived out of the depths of space—unannounced, unheralded. It had been dispatched by the Emperor under the pretext of “inspecting” the body of the Diabolic, but it was no mere inspector onboard. It was an Inquisitor. Senator von Impyrean had underestimated the Emperor’s hostility toward the Impyrean family. My existence gave the Emperor an excuse to put one of his own agents in the Impyrean fortress. Inquisitors were a special breed of vicar, trained to confront the worst heathens and enforce the edicts of the Helionic religion, often with violence. The Inquisitor’s very arrival should have terrified the Senator into obedience, but Sidonia’s father still circumvented the will of the Emperor. The Inquisitor had come to see a body, so a body he was shown. It simply wasn’t mine. One of the Impyreans’ Servitors had been suffering from solar sickness. Like Diabolics, Servitors had been genetically engineered for service. Unlike us, they didn’t need the capacity to make decisions, so they hadn’t been engineered to have it. The Senator took me to the ailing Servitor’s bedside and gave me the dagger. “Do what you do best, Diabolic.” I was grateful he’d sent Sidonia to her chambers. I wouldn’t want her to see this. I sank the dagger under the Servitor’s rib cage. She didn’t flinch, didn’t try to flee. She gazed at me through blank, empty eyes, and then a moment later she was dead. Only then was the Inquisitor allowed to dock with the fortress. He made a cursory inspection of the body, pausing over it merely to note, “How odd. She appears . . . freshly dead.” The Senator stood bristling at his shoulder. “The Diabolic has been dying of solar sickness for several weeks now. We’d just decided to end her suffering when you arrived in the system.” “Contrary to what your missive said,” the Inquisitor stated, swinging on him. “You claimed the death had already been carried out. Now that I see her, I wonder at her size. She’s rather small for a Diabolic.” “Now you question the body, too?” roared the Senator. “I tell you, she was wasting away for weeks.” I watched the Inquisitor from the corner. I wore a new Servitor’s gown, my size and musculature hidden beneath voluminous folds. If he saw through the ruse, then I would kill him. I hoped it wouldn’t come to that. Concealing an Inquisitor’s death might prove . . . complicated. “Perhaps if your family was more respectful of the Living Cosmos,” the Inquisitor remarked, “your household would have been spared a ghastly affliction like solar sickness.” The Senator ripped in an angry breath to reply, but at that moment the Matriarch darted forward from where she’d been lurking in the doorway. She seized her husband’s arm, forestalling him. “How right you are, Inquisitor! We are immensely grateful for your insight.” Her smile was gracious, for the Matriarch didn’t share her husband’s eagerness to defy the Emperor. She’d felt imperial wrath firsthand at a young age. Her own family had displeased the Emperor, and her mother had paid the price. Now she appeared electric with anxiety, her body quivering with eagerness to placate their guest. “I’d be ever so pleased if you’d observe our services tonight, Inquisitor. Perhaps you can note what we are doing wrong.” Her tone dripped with sweetness, the sort that sounded odd in her usual acrid voice. “I would be glad to do so, Grandeé von Impyrean,” replied the Inquisitor, now gracious. He reached out to draw her knuckles to his cheek. She pulled away. “I’ll go make the arrangements with our Servitors. I’ll take this one now. You—come.” She jerked her head for me to accompany her. I didn’t want to leave the Inquisitor. I wanted to watch his every movement, observe his every expression, but the Matriarch had left me no choice but to follow her as a Servitor would. Our steps brought us out of the chamber, far from the Inquisitor’s sight. The Matriarch picked up her pace, and I did as well. We wound together down the corridor toward the Senator’s chambers. “Madness,” she muttered. “It’s madness to take this risk right now! You should be lying dead before that Inquisitor, not walking here at my side!” I cast her a long, considering look. I’d gladly die for Donia, but if it came to my life or the Matriarch’s, I’d put myself first. “Do you intend to tell the Inquisitor what I am?” Even as I spoke, I visualized the blow I’d use to kill her. A single strike to the back of the head. . . . No need to risk her screaming. Donia might emerge from her chambers if she heard anything. I’d hate to murder her mother in front of her. The Matriarch had the survival instinct her husband and daughter lacked. Even my mild tone sent terror skittering across her face. The next moment it vanished so swiftly that I wondered whether I’d imagined it. “Of course not. The truth would condemn us all now.” So she would live. My muscles relaxed. “If you’re here,” she said darkly, “then you’ll make yourself useful to us. You’ll help me conceal my husband’s work before that Inquisitor inspects his chambers.” That I could do. We plunged into the Senator’s study, where the Matriarch hiked up her gown and shuffled through the debris strewn about the room—blasphemous database fragments that would instantly condemn this entire family if the Inquisitor laid eyes on them. “Quickly now,” she said, gesturing for me to start swiping them up. “I’ll take them to the incinerator—” “Don’t.” Her voice was bitter. “My husband will simply use their destruction as an excuse to acquire more. We simply need to clear these from sight for now.” She twisted her fingers in a crack in the wall, and the floor slid open to reveal a hidden compartment. Then she settled in the Senator’s chair, fanning herself with her hand as I heaved armful after armful of shattered fragments of what looked like computer debris and data chips into the compartment. The Senator passed days in here, repairing whatever he could salvage, uploading information into his personal database. He avidly read the materials and often discussed them with Sidonia. Those scientific theories, those technological blueprints. All blasphemous. All insults against the Living Cosmos. I stashed the Senator’s personal computer in with the debris, and then the Matriarch crossed to the wall again and twisted her finger in the nook. The floor slid closed. I heaved the Senator’s desk over so it covered the hidden compartment. I straightened again to find the Matriarch watching me narrowly. “You would have killed me back in the hallway.” Her glittering eyes challenged me to deny it. I didn’t. “You know what I am, madam.” “Oh yes, I do.” Her lips twisted. “Monster. I know what goes on behind those cold, soulless eyes of yours. This is exactly why Diabolics have been banned—they protect one and pose a threat to all others. You must never forget that Sidonia needs me. I’m her mother.” “And you must never forget that I’m her Diabolic. She needs me more.” “You cannot possibly fathom what a mother means to a child.” No. I couldn’t. I’d never had one. All I knew was that Sidonia was safer with me than with anyone else in this universe. Even her own kin. The Matriach loosed an unpleasant laugh. “Ah, but why even debate you on this? You could no more understand family than a dog could compose poetry. No, what matters is, you and I share a cause. Sidonia is kindhearted and naive. Outside this fortress, in the wider Empire . . . perhaps a creature like you will be the very thing my daughter requires to survive. But you will never—never—speak to anyone of what we’ve done today.” “Never.” “And if anyone seems ready to find out we’ve spared our Diabolic, then you will take care of the problem.” The very thought sent a sizzling, protective anger through me. “Without hesitation.” “Even if taking care of it”—her eyes were sharp and birdlike—“starts with yourself.” I didn’t condescend to answer. Of course I would die for Sidonia. She was my entire universe. I loved nothing but her and valued nothing but her existence. Without her, there was no reason for me to exist. Death would be a mercy compared to that.

Editorial Reviews

"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."