Author: S.J. Kincaid
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Source: Simon & Schuster via NetGalley
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.Review by Nara
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 loved S.J. Kincaid's Insignia trilogy, and so when she revealed that she'd be writing another scifi novel I was incredibly excited. Especially considering that it was a standalone, which we really don't get enough of in YA SFF.
And I'm going to immediately contradict that statement by saying that while The Diabolic was really good as a standalone and nicely concluded, to be honest, I wouldn't have minded more books in the series. The world was quite well developed and it would be interesting to see other aspects of the Empire. Perhaps companion novels rather than sequels would be alright (*hint hint* haha).
Nemesis was an interesting character to have as protagonist because her view of right and wrong was so skewed towards her singular goal of keeping Sidonia safe. She doesn't really care what happens to others as long as Sidonia is fine. I loved her journey of how she comes to terms with whether or not she considers herself to be human, and whether she's "allowed" to have human emotions.
The following paragraph may contain what some people would refer to as a spoiler (personally I'm on the side of saying not really a spoiler because it's quite obvious from the point that you're introduced to this character but giving a heads up if you want to avoid the paragraph just in case). Tyrus was also a fantastic character, and I quite enjoyed reading about his relationship with Nemesis. They were quite well suited to each other in terms of how cunning and intelligent they both were, and it's rather interesting to consider what would have happened if they were enemies. I don't know if it was just me, but I feel like I could see some influence of Hamlet in his character, and the general situation, which I won't go into too much because of the aforementioned possible minor spoilers, but I'm sure you'll read the book for yourselves and then you can tell me what you think.
Considering the novel is a standalone, I wanted to say as little about the plot in this review as possible (as you might have noticed by now, I'm also an advocate of going into books blind). So to conclude, all I will say that if you're a fan of sci-fi novels this is certainly one you should read. If you're not as much a fan of sci-fi, it might be on the "heavy" side of YA (although definitely nowhere near some adult SFF novels) but I would still encourage you to give it a go. It may surprise you.
World Building: 4/5