“THE DIABOLIC” by S.J. Kincaid || Review

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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 received this for free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review* There will be some spoilers in this review as I discuss some slightly problematic content.

I remember hearing about THE DIABOLIC when it came out. I added it to my TBR but didn’t pay much attention to it due to being in a weird slump. It wasn’t a great time. So, imagine my surprise when I was scrolling through NetGalley one day and saw it up for request, as well as a sequel I had no idea was even in the works.

THE DIABOLIC is such a intriguing sci-fi novel. The entire story is told through our main character’s POV — Nemesis. Nemesis is a Diabolic. This means she’s a genetically altered humanoid who’s sole purpose is to protect the person they are bonded to. I really loved seeing her growth and change throughout the story, as she moves from someone who thinks of herself as a monster with no soul, to someone realising she deserves happiness ad respect.

Her growth was one of the best things about the novel, which is really amazing because the rest of the book was incredible. It does take a while to get into the good stuff as the first few chapters are setting the scene, really. They’re well written enough to be intiguing, to keep you hooked and patiently waiting for the action to start.

I really loved how brutal this world was — I really did not expect that at all. We normally see books pitched as being dark but very rarely deliver. But in this we see innocents get killed, a tyrinical Emperor rule by fear that we see first hand. And twists and turns that even I did not see coming. Especially that one death. Oh my God!

I loved how fleshed out the secondary characters were as well, especially Tyrus who is my precious baby. I did love him a lot — I loved how clever and devoted he was but I did have a problem with his character. He’s considered insane by the entire population of this world. Everyone thinks he’s “mad”. The casually ableist language can be quite harmful itself, but when it’s paired with the fact that he’s not really dealing with any mental health issues, it’s just an act to keep him safe from his Gran/Uncle who kill their relatives with no remorse.

I can understand the reasoning. Under such circumstances, when you’re growing up with people who killed your parents and siblings, yeah, I think I would do anything to survive. But the problem I have is that, when he explains, there’s not really a “I feel a little bad pretending to have this illness when I know people genuinely do suffer from it” moment. It’s just seen as all right. Accepted. And that didn’t really sit right with me.

I wish we had seen more of Sidonia who is the girl Nemesis is bonded to. I really loved her and Nemesis’ relationship and as I was reading the first few chapters, all I could think was “this is gay. This is so gay.” even though I knew that it never would be because hey, I’ve seen the synopsis for THE EMPRESS.

Now, I did like the fact that it was comfirmed that Sidonia was in love with Nemesis. In a romantic way. And she would never do anything because she knew that Nemesis didn’t have a choice about her feelings — the consent surrounding that would be extremely iffy, and I liked the way it was handled. I did wish it had worked out because hey, I’m a queer girl dying for queer girl rep, but I also really enjoyed Nemesis and Tyrus’ relationship.

But sadly, I have a problem with this as well… and it’s because Sidonia very clearly admits to being in love with Nemesis. Really, she’s the only person Donia has had feelings for. She’s the only queer character officially stated in the book — and she dies. This is a huge spoiler, I know, it was that death I spoke of earlier. And it’s not just once, it’s twice.

We’re lead to believe that she dies early on in the book which is what brings Nemesis and Tyrus together. Then it turns out she lives, gets reunited with Nemesis and eventually gets killed in order to break Nemesis and Tyrus apart. Like I said, the book is dark and brutal and it’s not out of place to kill innocents to further schemes of characters or undermine them… but why did the only queer girl have to die? And why did she have to die just to drive a stake between Nemesis and Tyrus; to further the Plot? I’m sorry, I really did enjoy this book, you can tell by my rating and rambling, but as a queer girl, I am sick of this kind of thing. I deserve more than this.

And maybe it would have been all right — not all right, but not as bad — had THE DIABOLIC just been a standalone. But now there are two more books in this series. I need to be reminded of the fact that I wasn’t deemed worthy enough to survive for the rest of the series.

I did enjoy this book. I did. And I probably will continue with the series. But I just… I hate this. It’s not fair to me. And it’s especially not fair to younger queer girls who are growing up with this kind of narrative.

I started this knowing it was going to be a M/F romance. And when I started reading, I really thought I was in for some serious queerbating so I was over the moon when Sidonia’s feelings were confirmed. I mean, I’ve fallen for allocishet girls before, I know that feeling — that’s normal. What’s not normal is to be overjoyed with a sliver of rep and then to be killed off a few chapters later.

All in all, this was a gritty, dark novel that I enjoyed but had some problematic content that upset me and I know would upset others.

Until next time,
~Charlotte.x PINTEREST || INSTAGRAM || TWITTER || YOUTUBE || WEBSITE || PATREON || KOFI Advertisements Share this:
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