The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

f55 stars 

A thrilling science-fiction novel that examines humanity, love, and friendship.

S.J. Kincaid’s newest sci-fi novel, The Diabolic, is about a “Diabolic” named Nemesis. Diabolics are humanoids created with one purpose: to protect their one person.

They’re created to kill, deadly and made to be a weapon, and also recently outlawed.

Nemesis’ “person” is Sidonia, the daughter of an outspoken Senator who has the unpopular opinion of educating & learning about the world, contrary to what the emperor thinks.

It’s apparent that their world is slowly diminishing from their lack of progress and generations of losing knowledge about how to fix the advanced machinery that’s breaking down one by one.

When Sidonia is called to the galactic court as a hostage, Nemesis can protect Sidonia from the vicious court-life by pretending to be her.

The court is a brutal place and Nemesis has to blend in and act like Sidonia while encountering her brethren. As rebellion looms closer and the empire fractures, Nemesis must learn what is to have humanity if she’ll be able to protect herself and Sidonia.

Here’s the official summary:

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 LOVED reading The Diabolic. When I read it (I bought a copy that morning for 4.99 USD #blessed), I took the book off my shelf (sans dust cover), sat on my bed, and then started binge-reading for the next two hours without moving a foot. No joke.

There’s something about it that just pulls you in. The plot is fast paced from the beginning, and we already see death and murder of innocent humanoids in the first few chapters.

Kincaid manages to introduce us to this science fiction intergalactic world (or should I say, worlds) very nicely. With so many topics to get used to, like humanoids, the intergalactic political balance, and court life, it can be either overwhelming or underwhelming in some novels. Kincaid does a wonderful job with building up this exciting universe that’s slowly deteriorating.

From how much I’ve said it, you can see how the political balance & how it relates to the system’s deterioration due to a lack of knowledge is one of my favorite parts of the book. This adds an entirely new level of depth into the plot–this isn’t just a frou-frou love story about a humanoid who learns humanity, there’s also knowledge and politics and fragile balances that are sometimes forgotten in novels, but not in the Diabolic.

It’s so interesting to see a system that shuns knowledge, one of our greatest tools. That was definitely a really strong point of this novel for me, and I know it’ll be prominent in the sequels.

Back to the plot and pacing, you’re never bored reading the Diabolic. There’s so much going on, murders, assassins, crazy emperors, insane (insanely hot!) princes. You’re not overwhelmed since Kincaid does such a good job of working us into this world, and all you want to do is follow along and find out what’s happening next.

Another strong point would be how Kincaid developed the characters. We get flashes of what it was like for Nemesis before she bonded with Sidonia and how cruelly she was–is–treated as a second class citizen. She’s not perfect and she learns what it’s like to be treated like a human.

Nemesis is just such a ruthless badass but a big softie on the inside. We get to see a lot of her thought process and how her mind & humanoid self conflicts with the human lifestyle. I love her character and thinking about humanity and what it really means to be human was a more complex

Tyrus, the mentally insane son of the emperor is one of my favorite characters. He’s got such a developed backstory and Kincaid uses his flaws properly, not stressing one part or another too much. I can’t spoil too much about him, but definitely keep an eye on his character.

There are definitely some LGBTQ+ themes around there, and if you’re not too perceptive you might miss what’s going on between some of our characters in the background. Either way, it makes the twists 100% better because you let out this long “Ohhhhhh” after reading the twist and all the puzzle pieces fit into place.

The Diabolic was a really well developed novel. I didn’t feel like any of the plot twists were uncalled for or something that didn’t fit into the novel, and it all made sense.

With all the action going on and Nemesis being a bred killer, there is some more PG-13 action going on with the violence. It’s nothing gory, but deaths and close calls with rape are present in the novel.

Overall, I think S.J. Kincaid’s The Diabolic is a very unique science fiction novel and one I think would help turn even the staunchest contemporary romance lovers towards a more intergalactic preference. This book is definitely one of my favorite novels and I’m very glad to have its beautiful cover on my shelf.

I have high expectations for the sequel, The Empress, and cannot wait for its release on October 31st! (It is important to note that The Diabolic was supposed to be a stand alone, so we’ll see how The Empress turns out!)

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Have you read The Diabolic? What did you think & are you as excited as I am for the sequel? Feel free to leave any questions, comments, etc. down below!



2 thoughts on “The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

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