ARC Review: “The Diabolic” by S.J. Kincaid

Ah, I feel so honored to be able to have an ARC! It’s described as The Hunger Games meets Red Queen, and OMG, how can you not?!

Thanks to and Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for giving me a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review! I seriously loved it!


Title: The Diabolic
Author: S.J. Kincaid
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s
Expected release date: November 1, 2016
Genre: Young adult, sci-fi, dystopian
Length: 416 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads) “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.”

My rating: 4/5 stars

Seriously, I loved this. Way more than I thought I would. And I don’t even like sci-fi that much. It isn’t my go-to genre like fantasy is but I was not disappointed with this book. And it seems like a lot of sci-fi books I pick up lately, I actually enjoy. I loved it. This book reminded me of the Red Rising series by Pierce Brown. Not a bad thing. NEVER a bad thing.

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Where do I begin?

Pros: Fast-paced. Amazing world building. Intricate plots and characters (particularly Nemesis herself and Tyrus). What does it mean to be human? World building is key when it comes to sci-fi and fantasy novels and Kincaid doesn’t leave us hanging. People live on bloody spaceships and the earth and other planets aren’t necessarily “in vogue” to live on, if you know what I mean. I love the technology here, too, but when it comes to Nemesis and other creatures, it can be kind of scary. I started to feel as if Nemesis being a humanoid was a bit of a cop-out but we can really see how important it was for a Diabolic like herself to go in Sidonia’s place because–let’s admit it–that girl wouldn’t have gotten very far.

As for Tyrus, I’m not sure I like him. I did like how he played his uncle and grandmother right into his own hands. I wasn’t fully convinced of the romantic relationship he had with Nemesis but I see why it was necessary in her case–it made her question her own lack of humanity and what it means to be human. This is part of her internal struggle and tension. She doesn’t understand her feelings for Tyrus or the way other humans deal with their emotions.

Cons: Nemesis’s lack of humanity, therefore, her void of emotions, made the narration a bit dull. You’d think that we’d follow Sidonia’s narration but nope, not when her Diabolic is thrown into the fray. Besides, I’m not even sure I actually like Sidonia as a character. She’s not exciting and her timidity doesn’t add to her character. That is, of course that’s one of her characteristics but it doesn’t endear her to me in any way.

This book is described as The Hunger Games meets Red Queen and… I’m not sure I see that. THG because people die and no one bats an eye? But Red Queen… Um, not sure at all. No one has powers! But maybe it’s the political/court aspect? I don’t know. Doesn’t matter! This book deserves any and all the hype!

The ending was crazy, and I’d be a little upset if this is just a standalone book. It really deserves a sequel!

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