Blurb from Goodreads:
Nemesis is a Diabolic. Created to protect a galactic Senator’s daughter, Sidonia. 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…
Let’s talk about this beast of a book that is The Diabolic. This is my first encounter with S. J. Kincaid’s writing and the first thing I could think of after reading this is that it’s good… and it’s brutal! Anyway I loved it. This book presents a battle between cunning minds, backstabbing royalties, and dark machinations. This gripping futuristic story had me holding my breath for most part of the book! All of Kincaid’s characters were very calculating and dangerous and I love how each of them tries to outsmart the others throughout the book, making this more than just interesting—it’s gritty and nail-biting too.
Despite having a slow start, I found a lot of things to love in this book. The characters were masterfully crafted. The world-building was enthralling. Even the complicated political maneuverings will draw you into the story. Then there’s the series of plot twists that were so cleverly placed—some of it I saw coming, some had unexpectedly surprised me. But what I really love on top of all is the idea of a humanoid protagonist designed to be lethal for the sole purpose of protecting the one person they were scientifically bonded with.
We looked like people, to be sure. We had the DNA of people, but we were something else: creatures fashioned to be utterly ruthless and totally loyal to a single individual. We would gladly kill for that person, and only for them.
Nemesis is a Diabolic tasked to guard and protect the Senator’s daughter—Sidonia Impyrean—at all cost. Diabolics were engineered to be predatory and emotionless to better do their job which includes killing anyone who tries to harm their master. But soon Diabolics were seen as a problem as they so easily kills—even family members—over the slightest misunderstanding. It was then that their leaders decided to eradicate Nemesis’s kind and owning Diabolics became illegal. But the Impyreans aren’t the most obedient people. And because of that they feared that the Emperor was planning to punish them through Sidonia who was being summoned to the Chrysanthemum. They then decided to disguise Nemesis and send her to the Emperor in place of their daughter. And so Nemesis’s journey into a world filled with deception and political intrigue begun.
“I’ve always believed love is the most volatile substance in the universe. It erupts, it incinerates, and then it simply flames out. . . .”
Nemesis is a very intriguing character. The fact that she’s a protagonist who doesn’t care about anyone at all except for Sidonia made her different from a whole lot of other protagonists in this genre who wanted to save everybody. I didn’t like her right from the start but I eventually grow on her as the plot deepens. She was made with an advanced brain to make her learn things faster but there were no manuals to teach her of the ways of the court and how to survive its devious politicians. Still, how she managed in that pit of vipers was impressive.
Having a heart that burned with emotion meant having a flame that could be doused in an instant by forces you could not fight, perils you could not see. To care was to be helpless in the worst possible way.
I didn’t have much issue on Nemesis developing some human emotions but still I would’ve preferred that she didn’t, because her lack of emotion is the most unique part of the story. But since its happening, I would love to have a solid explanation on how she suddenly developed feelings towards someone who isn’t Sidonia.
Moving on to my favorite character in this book—Tyrus Domitrian. How is he my favorite? He’s got a brilliant mind, for one. He started off as this character that is so predictable that I’m on the verge of calling him boring. The second half of the book completely altered the way I see him though. My opinion of him changes from “Man, you’re so easy to read!” to “Can I fucking trust you?” It’s as if this guy’s mind never stops plotting, it’s wheels never stops turning, as he aims to free his people from their long suffering under the Domitrian rule. But how long until he plots against these same people so he could get what he wants?
“Woe to you all, for you are now ruled by a most clever fiend.”
Tyrus and Nemesis as a team is a powerhouse. Nemesis is smart but she doesn’t machinate like Tyrus does. Tyrus is strong but not as ruthless as a Diabolic. Putting them together on the same side makes the perfect tandem. They’re both shrewd and dangerous in their own way that it’s quite intriguing to think of them being enemies.
“Some might call us a monstrous pair, and they would be right.”
I’m not a massive sci-fi reader but I love how Kincaid painted her world—with space fortresses, Senators governing an entire planet, a disintegrating empire, and people who longs for progress and to break free from the Emperor’s stagnant governance. The story was in a futuristic setting but the people were stocked with their ancient starships, unable to develop new technologies, due to the Helionic beliefs of the higher officials. Anyone who attempts to study new things or question the Helionic faith were considered blasphemers and were then punished gravely. Oppression and a rising rebellion always come side by side in stories and it’s no different in this book. The good thing is, Kincaid managed to turn this commonly used theme into something that is actually interesting and worth caring about.
The Dibolic is a mix of action, romance, and a lot of political scheming. I think this was a good standalone but I saw that they’re making this a series and I’m honestly a bit worried that the coming sequels might mess the story. Still I would recommend this book to sci-fi and space opera lovers and even to those who doesn’t often go to this genre (like me) because there’s more than just sci-fi in this book. It has many other elements to fit everybody’s taste.
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