Title: The Diabolic
Author: S.J. Kincaid
Publication Date: November 1st 2016
Note: I was provided an advanced copy by the publisher, but opinions are my own.
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Synopsis: Nemesis was engineered for one purpose: to keep Sedonia, the daughter of a galactic senator, safe. When it becomes clear the emperor plans to hold Sedonia hostage, the only way for Nemesis to keep Sedonia safe is to impersonate her.
Nemesis is a genetically Diabolic, not a human, yet the more time Nemesis spends pretending to be human the less it feels like an act. Everything Nemesis thought she knew is thrown into question as she begins to wonder how different human and Diabolics really are.
As the Empire starts to fall to ruin, Nemesis’s new understanding might give her the ability to end the chaos.
Thoughts: This book helped get me out of one of the longest reading slumps I’ve had in years. Part of what allowed me to do this is the novel’s fast pace. There is a lot of plot in a relatively short time. The amount of plot in this book could have been an entire trilogy.
The trade-off of this is that the book ends up feeling too fast at times. I would have liked more time for character development and world-building, but managed to understand and enjoy the novel’s sequence of events regardless.
I would like to note that this novel is very different from S.J. Kincaid’s Insignia trilogy. This novel is on the edge between YA and adult whereas the Insignia trilogy is on the edge of middle grade and young adult.
I read this novel before Insignia. As a result, I found myself surprised at the different feel of the two works. I would have liked to know going in that her other works were for a different audience.
My favorite aspect of Nemesis’s character was her identity struggle. Nemesis struggles with her own humanity and what she believes she deserves. I enjoy the trope where a character from one group has to pretend to belong to another group. That the character was imitating someone else while searching for her own identity further heightened her identity crisis.
I’ve read books with elements of the world building contained within this book before. It has a very space opera feel with some fantasy elements thrown in with the science fiction ones such as the the monarchy and long term technological stagnation before the story began. That said, these are elements that I really enjoy, particularly as this novel used some of these elements in ways I haven’t seen done a lot before.
I read most of this book believing it to be a series, and was disappointed when I learned it was a standalone. The book does have a satisfying ending, but I would really like a sequel.
Rating: I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to fans of space opera, political intrigue, and plots where a character from one group must disguise themselves as a member of another.