Review: The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid
Series: The Diabolic #1
Released by Simon & Schuster on 1 November 2016
Genres: Science Fiction
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 first heard of The Diabolic through BookTube. I believe it was a book featured in a subscription box, and lots of people on BookTube had received this box and thus hauled the book. What intrigued me the most wasn’t the synopsis (though that sounded interesting), it was the comparison to The Hunger Games and Star Wars. I was wondering how those two could be combined and added the book to my TBR. Around the time the book was released, a friend was kind enough to gift me an ARC copy of the book, and I told myself I would pick it up asap. But, of course, with me being the person I am, that did not happen.
In this book we meet Nemesis, a Diabolic created to protect Sidonia – the daughter of a senator. When Senator von Impyrean makes one mistake too many, the Emperor summons his daughter to the court to keep her as a hostage. Instead, the Impyreans send Nemesis, disguised as Donia. But upon Nemesis’ arrival, she discovers not everything is at it seems at the Galactic Court.
I’d read some reviews before going into this book where people said they found it hard to like Nemesis. Personally, I found it hard to like any other characters, but Nemesis I immediately liked. Sure, she wasn’t human, and she basically had no emotions or feelings, but I really just liked her. As for the other characters, I liked Neveni, and I wished we had seen more of her throughout the book. The Emperor’s nephew, Tyrus grew on me as well, but I really felt like I couldn’t trust him at all. View Spoiler »Naturally, I didn’t trust the entire Domitrian family, and I was right in the end. They were all a bunch of backstabbing people. « Hide Spoiler
The writing was good, though I sometimes found it a bit slow going. I put the book down several times while reading because I just couldn’t get myself to read through that slow part. Action scenes were well written, but it felt too short in my opinion. For a Diabolic (even one in disguise) I had hoped for a little more action. There was one scene near the end that was incredibly brutal, but that was about it. As for the romance, I didn’t feel it at all. It felt a bit strange, and perhaps a little forced View Spoiler »then again they were only pretending at first « Hide Spoiler but in the end, I can’t say I am rooting for this pairing.
I have to say I don’t really agree with the comparison to The Hunger Games, to me it felt more like Game of Thrones meets Star Wars than anything else. A brutal royal family, in space. Yeah, that definitely sounded like the Lannisters to me (Right? I mean I’ve never seen nor read GoT but from what I’ve heard on Tumblr they are pretty brutal). Still, I tried not to compare it too much to a franchise I love because that can seriously ruin my reading experience.
One thing I did love was the world building. We didn’t get to see much of the world except for the Court, the Impyrean fortress and one planet, but I loved it. I loved the idea of the ‘important’ people living on spaceships more or less and leaving the ‘normal’ people living on planets. Maybe, hopefully, we’ll get to see more planets in the sequels. And I am really just hoping for a map of the Court because it was sometimes a bit confusing.
The Diabolic was supposed to be a standalone, which I wouldn’t have minded because I liked the way the book ended, but I believe the author is now writing two sequels. I’m wondering what those will be about, and I will definitely pick up The Empress as soon as it comes out (which is sooner than I had expected). But yeah, in the end, I did enjoy this book and I definitely recommend it for fans of both Game of Thrones and Star Wars.
My opinion in one gif