The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid (ARC Review)

the_diabolic-3Title: The Diabolic
Author: S.J. Kincaid
Type: Fiction
Genre: Science Fiction, YA
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Date published: November 1, 2016
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 403
Source: Publisher

A physical copy of the book was kindly provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

Summary: 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.

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Such a great book! I wish that I could forget it just so I could read and experience it all over again!

I will begin this review, as I usually do, with my comments about the cover. While at first glance, I was not the biggest fan of the simple white background, I came to like the cover for the centerpiece. The butterfly with serrated knives for bottom wings is exceptionally detailed, and the metallic sheen on the metal parts of the butterfly add to the quality and effect of the illustration. Once I’ve read the book, I also realized just how well this butterfly represents Nemesis the Diabolic.

the-diabolic-2The story itself was very original (and I say this based on the books and films which I have encountered in my lifetime), and it was also unpredictable. I caught on to some things before certain characters, but I was unable to predict how most major plot points wrapped themselves up, as well as the story’s ending. The story in The Diabolic kept me intrigued as well as on the edge of my seat. I was unable to put the book down for long periods at a time.

The writing was very good, and easy to read. I found myself captivated by the writing as well as the story numerous times. And I ended up reading the entire book in less than 2 days, despite being busy with getting ready for a long journey from Romania to Canada. I’m also grateful that it was there for me when I was anxious about the trip and unable to sleep, haha.

the-diabolic-1The characters were interesting, diverse, and multifaceted. They were also realistic in that they were not always predictable, and did not stick to any stereotypes. There was a lot of work put into fleshing out these characters, and I was able to recognize and appreciate it, as a reader. Character relationships were also interesting and unpredictable.

As for the setting, it was almost one of my favourite aspects of this book. All of the settings were imaginative, and some of the history behind each place was also explained in some detail. I especially enjoyed the Galactic court, as I believe it to be very original and imaginative. Kincaid also used language very effectively to describe places such as the Galactic court, to the point where a reader can be transported to that place, experiencing the setting as if they were a character in the story themselves.

Overall, this book was fantastic and I highly recommend it to those who enjoy sci-fi, politics, court life, and romance.

Book Trailer:


a1kewtpoml-_ux250_S.J. Kincaid originally wanted to be an astronaut, but a dearth of mathematical skills turned her interest to science fiction instead. Her debut novel, Insignia, was shortlisted for the Waterstones prize. Its sequels, Vortex and Catalyst, have received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Booklist. Her next book, The Diabolic, comes out in the Fall of 2016. She’s chronically restless and has lived in California, Alabama, New Hampshire, Oregon, Chicago, and Scotland with no signs of staying in one place anytime soon.

You can visit her online at or follow her on Twitter (@sjkincaidbooks).

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12 thoughts on “The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid (ARC Review)

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