Monday, July 11, 2016

The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

Publication Date: November 1, 2016


Genera(s): Dystopian Sci-fi/Space Opera

Subjects: space colonies, genetic modification, bodyguards, impersonation, royalty

Setting: In space, spaceships and space colonies

POV/Tense: 1st person, past tense: Nemesis dan Impyrean

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 403 pgs. (In ARC version, at least)

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: Simon & Schuster: BFYR

Summary/ product description: “Red Queen meets The Hunger Games in this epic novel about what happens when the galaxy’s most deadly weapon masquerades as a senator’s daughter and a hostage of the galactic court.

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.”

My Review:  I’ve had the great pleasure of reading an advance copy of this, provided by Anderson’s Bookshop and Bookfair in Naperville, Illinois. They have a pre-pub event August 22 that I had wanted to attend, but have class that night. The author will be there to sign ARCs and there will be food. If you live in Chicagoland and are interested, please contact them and pick up you ARC. Seeing as this book has not yet been released and won’t be until November first, I won’t spoil anything major, but I’ll tell you about it the best I can.

The Diabolic is a sci-fi story that takes place in space. It’s part dystopian, part space opera. Nemesis is a Diabolic, which is a genetically engineered bodyguard that is bonded to one person, and seeks to protect only that person, even if it means harming the people that person care about. Nemesis belongs to Sidonia Impyrean, the daughter of a galactic Senator.

Sidonia is summoned by the Emperor to the Chrysanthemum, the space colony where the royal court is located. Sidonia’s mother decides to have Nemesis go in her steed. Nemesis is taught etiquette and under goes genetic modifications to her appearance and to make her body seem more average in size and strength so she won’t be discovered to be a Diabolic. 

When Nemesis gets to court, she discovers that playing a Senatorial heir might be harder than she thought. She might have to take extreme measure to keep her secret and to protect the Impyrean family. She soons discovers that in the royal court, there’s always some plot, scandal or assassination attempt in the works and it’s best to trust no one.

The Emperor has three of his own Diabolics, even though they were outlawed everywhere else, and knowledge Nemesis’s mere existence could cause the execution of the Impyreans for treason. She thinks his Diabolics might be on to her. On top on that, the emperor’s nephew and heir Tyrus seems to be taking notice of her, and if rumors are true, then he’s insane, but maybe there’s something cleverer about him that she thinks.

The characters of this book are pretty interesting. Nemesis is very different from other YA heroines. She was meant to be a bodyguard and not care about her own well-being. She’s like Rose from Vampire Academy, but with the selflessness of Tris from Divergent. Sidonia is like Lissa from Vampire Academy, then. Tyrus reminds me of Nikolai from the Grisha series, though I won’t tell you why, except for some of the narcissistic and ego-related humor. Some of the characters annoyed me because they talked overly formally, like they’re from Elizabethan times to something. Some were so shallow and back-stabbing.

I thought the sci-fi stuff and technology was cool, except for the genetically modified “creatures” or “humanoids.” Nemesis is not considered humor because she was engineered. She’s very strong and fast, but they didn’t give her tear ducts, so she can’t cry. She denies that she feels thing like other people. She can kill without remorse. It’s likely because she was nurtured to kill and not part of her nature like she had believed. There are Exalted, which are hairless innocents grown and cared for during a holiday week only to be sent into a star to die. There are Harmonoids, engineered only to play music. There are Servitors who are only meant to serve and have no free will.

The cool technology includes machines that can change you appearance easily with genetic alteration. You can have any hair color, eye color, skin color, facial feature or even change your sex. There are hair stilts, which can hold you hair in any style you please. There’s also artificial youth so older folks can look young again. There are medbots to heal you.

On the uncool side of things, there are drugs, like opioid rubs, narcotics and inhaled euphorics, and they’re all legal in the empire and they use the med bots to fix any problem that occur from them. There’s also the Helionic religion, in which the worship the Living Cosmos and view any pursuit of science or mathematics as heresy.

I recommend this to those who enjoyed The Jewel by Amy Ewing, Red Queen by Victoria Avyard, any book set in space, or book about a royal court. There is a kind of Capital-esque feel to the court, so I even recommend it to Hunger Games fans.

Cover Art Review: One of the most gorgeous cover’s I’ve seen! I love butterflies. This is one beautiful yet deadly butterfly. It’s very metaphorical. I love that the knives and the title are metallic. This cover is pretty symmetrical and simple, like Red Queen’s cover.

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