If you’re a fan of science fiction or if you’re just looking for a great book to read, S.J. Kincaid’s The Diabolic should be on your reading list. I haven’t been this excited and impressed with a book in ages. I’d even dare to call it perfect because I really don’t have anything bad to say about it.
The Diabolic revolves around the story of Nemesis, a diabolic—a powerful engineered humanoid designed to protect the person it is created for. She belongs to Sidonia, an heir to a galactic Senator. As tensions rise in the galaxy, the cruel and power-hungry Emperor summons Sidonia to the court as his hostage. To protect her, Nemesis takes her place, pretending to be her. She must fool not only politicians and their children but ultimately the Emperor that poses a threat to anyone who crosses him. It’s up to Nemesis to find in herself her humanity if she wishes to play a convincing role.
The world-building in this story is incredible. It’s a very creative and unique world with rules and social expectations. It even touches on the debate between science and religion. Readers get a glimpse into how the elite live and how the poor lives. Some live in the galaxy on planets and some humans still live on Earth, which is frowned upon by galactic folk because of the strain and wear it has on people. Wrinkles and tans seem like a foreign thing for people in space. Royals have magnificent ships with detailed and elaborate designs. Also, for anyone who can afford it, people can manipulate the way they look—never having to look old.
The writing and the pacing were both on point. I always wanted to come back for more. No word or sentence was a waste of space. The writing either divulged more information about the world or propelled the story forward. Also, sentences were kept short and to the point to help create the effect of fast pacing. I never grew bored. This is the kind of writing I always look for in books, which always tends to hold my attention.
All the characters had distinctive personalities and motives. Nemesis pleasantly evolved throughout the story. She was so devoted to Sidonia, but it was lovely to see her find her own footing and her own voice as the story progressed. She is the type of strong female character I can always root for. Sure, she has physical strength, but her emotional ties to the people she loves gives her strength too. My second favourite character is Tyrus, nephew and successor to the emperor who is known for his madness. But you quickly learn it may just be a clever ruse. He is one of the smartest characters in the book, always thinking ten steps ahead of everyone. Like an intense game of chess, it was impressive to watch his every move and see how everything fell into place in the end.
I am rarely surprised by books, television shows or movies, but The Diabolic had a few unexpected turns that I quite enjoyed. It’s great whenever I’m unable to guess something. It’s quite the compliment to an author that they’re creative and crafty enough to throw in a few surprises for readers. After reading this book, I’d highly recommend it to anyone. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series and I’m personally keen on reading anything else that S.J. Kincaid has written.
*Disclosure: An advance reading copy was provided from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions within this review are solely my own, not that of the publisher or the author.