The Diabolic

The Diabolic

Title: The Diabolic

Author: S.J. Kincaid

Series: The Diabolic, #1

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK

Release Date: November 1st 2016


Four Stars

Nemesis is a Diabolic. Created to protect a galactic Senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The girl who has grown up by her side and who is as much as sister as a master. There’s no one Nemesis wouldn’t kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the galactic 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 corruption and Nemesis has to hide her true abilities or risk everything. As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns that there is something stronger than her deadly force: the one thing she’s been told she doesn’t have—humanity. And, amidst all the danger, action and intrigue, her humanity might be the only thing that can save her, Sidonia and the entire Empire…

– Blurb courtesy of

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“The Emperor wishes me to send my innocent little lamb to the slaughter. No. Instead, I’ll send him my anaconda.”

Nemesis was created for one purpose; to protect Sidonia. Ever since they were bonded the two girls have grown up together and Nemesis is willing to do anything, kill any enemies, end any threat, to protect Sidonia. When Sidonia’s father makes an enemy of the Emperor it’s Sidonia called to court to face punishment, not her father, however Sidonia’s mother doesn’t plan to send her defenceless daughter. Instead she wants to send Nemesis in Sidonia’s place.

There was a lot of background to slog through in the first few pages of this book as we saw Nemesis before she met Sidonia. It felt like the author info-dumped everything we needed to know about the purpose of Diabolic’s and how they were created into the opening pages, and while it was necessary to the story and while after the first chapter the plot dove right into the action, I do think there could have been a better way of getting that information across to the reader.

“I had only two goals going forward: to fool people into thinking I was Sidonia, and of course, to try not to die.”

At the galactic court Nemesis is Sidonia, and she knows if she’s discovered it isn’t just her life at risk but Sidonia’s and her parents as well. However the emperor has more at play than Nemesis is aware of, and when he finally plays his hand Nemesis is forced to choose between what she knows she should do as Sidonia’s Diabolic, and what she could do if she gives into the feelings she isn’t supposed to have.

The Diabolic is very fast paced and action-packed. There was always something happened and plenty of danger for Nemesis to face, however as a Diabolic Nemesis is immune to pretty much everything so I never felt worried about her because short of a nuclear explosion nothing could touch her. However most of the danger came from the secrets being held at the court, like Nemesis I was never sure who could be trusted and who was hiding secrets that could risk her plans.

…The Characters

“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 not human. She was created in a lab and even her love for Sidonia is something that was programmed into her, but even knowing this Nemesis does love Sidonia and she’s willing to do anything for the other girl. Everyone has told Nemesis that she isn’t human, that she’s a creature with no real feelings or emotions, but Sidonia sees more than that. She’s the only one who believes Nemesis can be more than what she was programmed to be.

I think the feelings Nemesis develops over the course of the book were slowly brought in in a way that felt natural. She always loved and been devoted to Sidonia but over the course of the book she develops that loyalty to other characters as well, and it’s subtle so she doesn’t realise at first what’s happening or what she’s feeling.

“Some might call us a monstrous pair, and they would be right. Tyrus and I were both scorpions in our way, dangerous creatures crossing the most treacherous of rivers together. Together we might sting—but we also would float.”

Tyrus is my favourite character in this book. He’s not at all what he seems at any point, but both he and Nemesis share an enemy in the Emperor so it makes the two of them working together an ideal partnership. Tyrus managed to survive when the rest of his family was killed, and he always seems to have some part of his plan hidden up his sleeve, but he knows he won’t survive much longer without a Diabolic by his side. Tyrus needs Nemesis, but he isn’t going to force her to his side or try and blackmail her.

Sidonia isn’t at the galactic court where the majority of this story takes place, but she still plays a large part in The Diabolic. As her Diabolic Sidonia is always on Nemesis’s mind, everything she does is to protect the other girl, and as much as Nemesis loves Sidonia Sidonia loves Nemesis as well. She doesn’t treat her as a belonging or a servant like other Diabolics have been, but as a loved member of the family.

*Spoilers for The Diabolic below*

“If he was her murderer, I had a lifetime to figure it out. I could avenge her tomorrow if I learned he’d done it. I could avenge her in ten years if I learned in ten years, and I’d have ten beautiful years before that. I would always mourn Sidonia, but I had survived this loss once and I could survive it again.”

When Nemesis believed Sidonia had been killed in the Emperor’s purge of everyone who’d been creating trouble for him but then she appeared at court, alive and well, I thought that was a great twist. I loved that it brought into question where Nemesis’s loyalty would lie, with Sidonia or with Tyrus, and I thought it was a great dynamic to throw into the book and to develop Nemesis’s character further. However the second time Sidonia died, this time for good, felt like it was just to drive a wedge between Tyrus and Nemesis and it felt really rushed to me.

*End of spoilers*

…The Setting

“We had technology we stopped learning how to use. We let machines think for us, act for us. The supernova and rise of the Helionic faith merely worsened a problem that already existed. Our ancestors sought knowledge, but we, their descendants, glorify ignorance.”

I really loved the world building in this book because there was something unique about it in terms of the sci-fi genre. Normally there’s a lot of technological advancements and scientific mumbo-jumbo I need to wrap my head around, but in The Diabolic the scientific advances have been put to a stop by an emperor who worships the Helionic faith. The only technology the people have are what was created by their ancestors, and anyone who preaches anything other than religion is quickly shut down by the Emperor and his supporters.

While I really enjoyed The Diabolic I think the ending was rushed. It felt like the author left too little space at the end to wrap everything up, so there was a lot that seemed to be crammed in before the last page. Originally The Diabolic was a standalone, and I think this book does end in a good place that it isn’t necessary for a second book to continue the story, but it does explain why the ending wasn’t as well-paced as the rest of the book was.

What did you think of The Diabolic? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

4 thoughts on “The Diabolic

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