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The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid
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The Diabolic

by S. J. Kincaid

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5582928,458 (3.99)3
"The perfect kind of high-pressure adventure." --TeenVogue.com A New York Times bestseller! Red Queen meets The Hunger Games in this epic novel about what happens when a senator's daughter is summoned to the galactic court as a hostage, but she's really the galaxy's most dangerous weapon in disguise. 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.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
Wonderfully done. Despite being the first in a trilogy, I don't feel bullied into reading the second by an annoying cliffhanger. ( )
  fionaanne | Dec 6, 2019 |
This book is really probably more like 4.5 stars. The politics of the world Kincaid has created are wonderful, very Game of Thrones, and the setting is well-imagined, with only one glaring exception that makes it difficult for me to give it a 5-star rating.

I am troubled by the central political conflict, because this takes place in a futuristic human society that is entirely reliant on technology, but is controlled by a leadership that refuses to let anyone learn about technology. Instead the leaders preach a sort of blind reliance on religion. I get that this is a solid basis for conflict, with echoes of human history, but I just couldn't find it plausible that a technology-driven human society could actually have any success, or accomplish the things they do (including a good bit of genetic engineering) without human intervention, let alone that they could do so for many generations.

I think a far more reasonable conflict would have been the suppression of knowledge within certain classes, which I think could have worked well with the story without losing any of the things that are so wonderful about it. I'd also have liked to know more about the Helionic religion, as I think that could also have lent more believability to the conflict.

But the first person narrator, Nemesis, is a stroke of genius because she is a "person" who considers herself nonhuman, while all the time coaxing the reader into sympathizing with her in the course of her very human predicaments that evoke very human emotions. So well done!

While not perfect, this was a really wonderful read that was hard to put down. I definitely look forward to reading the follow-up. ( )
  Sarah_Angleton | Aug 16, 2019 |
4.5

It took me quite a while to really get into this story, but I was glad I pushed through. I've had this book sitting on my shelf forever and on my TBR list longer. I am very anxious to see where the series will go after this. ( )
  jawink22 | Feb 6, 2019 |
Nemesis, has been crafted in a lab, trained to kill, programmed to feel nothing other than her undying devotion for her master, a willingness to protect at all costs, but when circumstances require Nemesis to impersonate her master under dangerous circumstances, she begins to feel things that she never knew were possible, she begins to question whether she really is the monster she was always said to be.

I don’t want to go much more into the detail of story because there are twists and turns aplenty, some predictable, others not, I will say that this book is violent at times, though it felt like any graphic scenes were necessary to illustrate Nemesis’s growth and also necessary for world-building, to establish just how cruel those in power are and why someone might risk everything to overthrow them.

There is romance, sort of two (one is unrequited), I liked the chemistry, but more than that, I liked that the romance as well as the friendships and the interactions between Nemesis and a pet were so beautifully paced, how gradually she has these revelations about what’s right, about what it is to love, be loved and learn to love herself.

As much as I found the sci-fi plot entertaining and exciting, what really captured my attention here is the gamut of believable real-world emotions Nemesis experiences, particularly in the moments of loss and the moments involving the corrals, when she’s forced to face the harsh treatment she and others like her have received. As action packed as this is, it’s emotion packed, too. ( )
  SJGirl | Jan 21, 2019 |
I thought the book started out a bit slow, but as Nemesis learns more about society, the plot begins to pick up. A lot of the information about this new world is dumped on the reader at the beginning, and there were elements later in the novel that I didn't feel I had enough information on and this tripped me up a bit. The world building could have been done a bit more cleanly.

There's also a lot of violence in this book that seemed to turn people off, but I thought it fit for the world that Kincaid has created. The opening scene shows Nemesis killing someone in order to show her worth to the family that wants to buy her. She's been engineered to kill in order to protect the person that she's connected to. The violence makes sense, in a world run by a family that literally kills each other to stay in power. Since this was originally intended as a standalone novel, the many deaths in the novel absolutely make sense. I'm curious to see where the story is taken in the second book.

To read more of my thoughts, check out my post at between-the-shelves.com! ( )
  Amanda7 | Oct 12, 2018 |
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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. Created to protect a galactic Senator's daughter, Sidonia. The girl who has grown up by her side and who is as much a 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...
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