The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid

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Title: The Diabolic

Author: S. J. Kincaid

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Rating: *****

Review: The opening to The Diabolic was brilliant we meet Nemesis who has been create to serve and protect the Impyrean family especially their daughter Sidonia. Almost immediately after meeting Donia and Nemesis bond and Donia becomes Nemesis’ whole world to protect. We then jump forward in time to a period where Diabolic have been banned and exterminated but Donia’s family protect Nemesis from this fate and in return she keeps their daughter safe and protects their secrets. Donia’s father a senator has been researching this against The Living Cosmos (whatever this is) and it is Nemesis who helps hide the evidence.

While only one chapter into this novel I was already invested in the characters especially Nemesis but I wasn’t quite sure on the state and purpose of their society yet. We slowly learn of the political and religious systems and through this we learns that the senator has turned the Emperor against the Impyrean family. The betrayal the senator was involved him has caused the Emperor to summon Sidonia to the Imperial Court which will surely be her death so Donia’s mother decides to send Nemesis in her place; a decoy. As the time for Nemesis to leave draws closer and closer Donia almost refuses to accept her best friend isn’t human and was designed to do things too damaging for “normal” people.

As we approach the ¼ mark in the novel we see Nemesis disguised as Donia travel to the Imperial Court where she is almost immediately propositioned to be allies – which she refuses because she intends to make no friends. After accepting an offer from an influential couple who attempt to drug and rape “Donia”, Nemesis reacts in the only way she knows how leaving the couple virtually comatose and in doing so she does make an ally in someone who had already suffered this fate. In this section I am beginning to understand the world a little more but there doesn’t seem to be that much drive in the novel, rather the characters just do what they want with very little restrictions.

As we cross the ¼ mark in the novel we see Nemesis struggling to understand what it means to be human and control her diabolic instincts that have been ingrained in her since her creation. Although we do see Nemesis use human gestures like compassion and laughter which unsettles her. As she attempts to gather the pieces to the puzzle in order to understand why the Emperor has been collecting the heirs to influential families Nemesis is trying to be Donia but is at the same time uncovering her own humanity and is slowly becoming her own person beyond her role as a diabolic.

As we approach the halfway mark in the novel some dramatic things take place leaving Nemesis in an unfamiliar situation with her true identity almost being revealed. In order to get what she wants Nemesis agrees to become Tyrus’ bride but in doing so she loses her only ally and in her mind it is a fair trade. I was really intrigued at this point because Nemesis’ role has gone beyond disguise and more is at risk than she first thought.

As we cross into the second half of the novel we see Tyrus and Nemesis work together to win over the different colonies within the empire and gain allies in order to bring down the Emperor. In between all the mayhem, chaos and betrayal Nemesis and Tyrus (although more Tyrus) start to feel genuinely attracted to one another despite the plot. As the tension and suspense are ramped up as well move towards the final section of the novel I was dying to find out whether Nemesis and Tyrus would succeed and what will become of the Empire should the Emperor be dethroned.

As we approach the ¾ mark in the novel we see many different players working to achieve victory in this deadly game of cat and mouse and in a shock twist the stakes are raised once again almost resulting in someone’s death. As everything heads towards the climax of the novel I was truly wondering whether Nemesis would become Tyrus’ Empress and rule as his wife by admitting she feels something for him or whether she will allow everything to fall apart at the hands of some political viper.

As we cross into the final section of the novel we see everything come together, we see who is evil and who is good and although it comes at quite a high cost Tyrus does become Emperor with Nemesis as his bride. There are so many twists and turns throughout this novel at times it was hard to keep up but once you get on board with the strange and dark events constantly working away in the background this is an brilliant read.

Overall, I found the Diabolic to be absolutely perfect. It is mysterious, dark yet laced with a hope that is a very rare find in a book like this. I would highly recommend The Diabolic to all fantasy/sci-fi lovers. The first time I read this book I DNF’d it at only 40% but reading it a second time gave me a completely different view on this novel and I can’t wait to read The Empress as soon as it is available.

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