The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

Posted January 31, 2020 by Amber in Reviews / 2 Comments

The Diabolic

The Diabolic

by S.J. Kincaid

Series: The Diabolic #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster on November 1, 2016
Genre: Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction
Target Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: ★★★★★

Check out this book on 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...


I love books with all this political intrigue.  I never know who’s being honest and who is plotting and I still think there may be more plotting and honestly I’m just quite pleased about all things.  The Diabolic was a delightful read and really, the only thing I’m upset about is that I didn’t read it sooner.

Okay, so, this is a dystopia.  I know most people are sick of dystopias, but this is one of the good ones.  The stakes are high, the world is well-built, and the characters are interesting and unpredictable.  When many books decided to emulate The Hunger Games, so many of them mimicked the love triangle (often over-exaggerating it) while failing to build a truly fascinating world.  I love the setting in The Diabolic.  S.J. Kincaid has created a world with politics and religion woven carefully together in such ways as emulate history.  Her creation is not so extreme that it’s unbelievable, but not so simple as to be unoriginal.  As a science fiction novel, The Diabolic embraces a space setting, but also dabbles in genetic engineering.  Yes, there are nods to The Hunger Games (the beauty bots come for mind) but it is it’s own thing, and I enjoyed the immersion.

The plot itself is twisty.  A lot of the twists are predictable,  but this is one of those stories that there are so many lies and betrayals that you start to second guess your own theories.  Like, “So-and-so is probably lying, BUT MAYBE THAT’S JUST WHAT SHE WANTS ME TO THINK.”  I love those types of books, so this is such a great fit for me, plot-wise.  I see some similarities (like I mentioned) to The Hunger Games and I also feel like there is a similar feel to Red Queen.  There’s a clearly defined social class structure and there are royals and rebellions.  All a great deal of fun to read.

The characters were less rounded than I like, but I think this is largely because the POV is emotionally flat on purpose… at least in the beginning.  As Nemesis evolves, Kincaid brilliantly transitions into more complicated character-building.  So I can’t judge the characters too harshly.  For example, I believe if Sidonia had been introduced later in the book, she would have felt like a more intricate character because our first impression of her would have been different according to how Nemesis had grown in that time.  In fact, I even appreciated the love triangle here because even though I thought it was a weak plot point, the uniqueness in it was interesting and refreshing.  And I never thought I’d use “love triangle” and “unique” in the same sentence.

All in all, I liked the writing and I liked the story and I’m definitely here for books two and three.  If you’re a fan of dystopias and are looking for a properly decent one, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend The Diabolic.  The only thing I would ask any reader be aware of is that there are some violent moments in this book.  I didn’t find them particularly gory, but they could be alarming.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★★
Plot: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★
Writing: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★
Narrator: ★★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★★★


Have you ever loved somebody so much that you would both kill for them and die for them?  From me, I think that’s a dangerous, inadvisable kind of love.  But I do love someone else so much that I often feel it would be easier to die than live without him.  Tell me of all your great loves in the comments!

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2 responses to “The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

    • Amber

      Ahhhh I’m so glad to have been one of the people who inspired that choice! I hope you enjoy it! I’m not sure I would have liked it as much if I had read it during the dystopia buzz… but I definitely enjoyed in now. I’d love to hear what you think when you finish!