The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid – Review

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Photo courtesy of Goodreads

It’s been almost a month since I’ve posted a review, and while I’ve read a few novels since then, I failed to make time for writing about them. So, I thought it would be a great idea to jot down my thoughts about my most recent read: The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid.

Summary (provided by Goodreads): 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…

Dee’s Review: I’ll start off by saying that science fiction novels are usually not my cup of tea. While I’ve always enjoyed fantasy novels, science fiction is the genre I typically stay away from, only because I’ve had such poor experiences with it in the past.

But what makes the online book community so amazing is that these feelings towards a certain genre can be broken based on a good recommendation. It’s no surprise that I watch Sasha Alsberg and Regan, two popular Booktubers, and when they announced that The Diabolic would be their Perustopia Bookclub book for the month of November, I knew that I needed to look more into this novel. Needless to say, I got this book for Christmas and read it within a week of starting it.

I want to address the point of view first. Most of you know I am not a big fan of first person point of view because of how limiting it can be to the reader. I respect authors who can successfully utilize the first person point of view because as a writer, it’s never been something I’ve been able to achieve or like in my own writing for that matter. However, The Diabolic is told from the point of view of our main character Nemesis.

One of the major conflicts in this novel is the prejudices that come with being a humanoid creature (Diabolics, Servitors, etc.). In this world, society looks down upon these creatures because they were made for the sole purpose of protecting or serving actual human beings. I liked that the novel was told from Nemesis’s point of view because it was interesting not only to see her reactions to how society viewed her, but also how their opinions influenced her feelings towards herself.

Another problem I have with first person point of view is that I typically end up not liking the main character (not sure why this happens, but I have noticed a pattern). Nemesis was really easy to like, however. As a reader, it’s always nice to have a main character who is strong and willing to stick up for themselves, and I got that impression from Nemesis right away since she was designed to be strong, but to protect Sidonia—not herself.

One of my favorite parts of reading this novel was watching Nemesis discover her ability to feel human emotions such as anger, jealousy, fear, but most importantly—love for another person that she was not chemically bonded with. I also enjoyed her reactions to the different emotions she was feeling, as well as her attempts at trying to understand why she was feeling these emotions. I think that’s what made her extremely relatable, even though she’s supposed to be perceived as this inhumane being. Can you name one person out there that hasn’t questioned why he or she is reacting or feeling a certain way? It was also one of the major moments where the reader could see Nemesis in a vulnerable state, which was rare given what she was created to do.

In terms of pace, there were times while I was reading when I questioned whether or not certain scenes really needed to be there. It wasn’t that they felt like filler, per say—I enjoyed reading them, but I wasn’t understanding how they helped push the story forward. This novel also contained a lot of action, which really helped me plow through it. There were moments where I couldn’t physically put it down and kept flipping page after page after page. I think that helped in terms of the scenes where I couldn’t identify their significance, meaning there was never really a time when I was bored, so it didn’t take away from my reading experience.

In regards to the romance (yes, there was one of those), I thought that Kincaid incorporated it very nicely throughout the story. A romance was extremely important to Nemesis and this assumption that creatures like her couldn’t feel human emotions (without being chemically forced to, that is). However, it didn’t take focus from the plot of the story, nor did it really distract either party from the actions/plans they set out to do. Romances in young adult fiction are either a hit or miss, and this romance, thankfully, did not annoy me.

Rating: I ended up giving this is 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads, which is only a bit below its average rating of 4.07. If you’re a big fan of Sci-Fi, I have no doubt that you’ll enjoy this book. And if you’re like me and are usually skeptical towards the genre, give this book a try—it might be the one that changes your mind! It definitely changed mine.

Make sure to add me on Goodreads to stay up-to-date with what I’m currently reading/what I’d like to read, and leave a comment below if you’ve read this novel!

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