The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid
Summary from Netgalley
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.
Don’t you just love this cover! I saw this on Netgalley and just knew I had to read it just from the cover alone. Then I read the description and I was hooked.
Unfortunately the story did not live up to the cover. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it, it has a lot going for it, there was just something missing that would make it an awesome book.
To begin with, this story has a somewhat spilt personality. It couldn’t decide if it wanted to be a science fiction book or a fairy tale. There were lots of moments when it was only one or the other but rarely both. I also had a real issue with ball gowns on a space station, even one with artificial gravity, it just didn’t fit my sense of what living in space would be like. Except for the elaborate contraption that Nemesis wears to meet the emperor for the first time, that sounded awesome. Also the zero gravity ball sounds amazing, but again a gown? Wouldn’t that just get in the way?
Well despite all of that, this was an interesting story with a great narrator. I loved Nemesis as a character. The premise of her being a genetically manufactured humanoid and therefore devoid of human feelings and emotions was very intriguing. Her perception of the world and of how people behave was very clinical and allowed her to judge people based on their actions rather than on what they had to say. She has to overcome so much throughout the story to become the person she is by the end. I also like her friend, Neveni. She had a lot to do with how Nemesis develops. As does Prince Tyrus. I have mixed feelings about Tyrus, and even at the end I’m not entirely sure I liked and trusted him as much as Nemesis does.
I feel that I should warn you that there is quite a bit of violence and death in this book. It is not at all gratuitous, but some of it is quite graphic and disturbing. But given the premise of the book and what Nemesis is, I would have been very surprised if there hadn’t been any violence.
I like the video. It gives a nice sense of what the book is like with the music and the butterfly flying about.