Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: November 1st, 2016
Synopsis: 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 sister. 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.
The Diabolic has been receiving a lot of publicity and attention in YA book circles, and it’s being compared to The Hunger Games and Red Queen. After reading it I can understand why–because it’s fantastic! From the very first moment that Nemesis is introduced, I instantly connected with her. In the beginning she’s cold and detached to everyone except Sidonia, who she’s been bonded to. Because of the opening scene which is heartbreaking, you can’t help but feel empathy for her, even when she murders someone in order to protect Sidonia. None of this is her fault. She was created to do what ever it takes to safeguard Sidonia. But as the story unfolds, a transformation begins, and Nemesis slowly begins to develop deeper human emotions. These are completely foreign to her, so watching her try to understand and deal with them was one of the most interesting aspects of the book. Except for the first and latter parts of the novel, Sidonia actually isn’t in a lot of scenes, but that said, she still has a huge impact on metamorphosis of Nemesis. It’s Sidonia who keeps telling her that she’s not is worthy of love and for all of Nemesis’s physical strength and fierceness, Sidonia is equally protective and loyal to her. Tyrus who becomes Nemesis’s love interest is also an intriguing character who is more than an equal partner for Nemesis. Their relationship isn’t your typical sweet romance but that doesn’t make it any less compelling. The world-building is very creative and adds a lot of unique qualities that makes it stand out from the usual space operas. The story starts out a little slow, but the action really picks up once Nemesis arrives at the Court, and keeps going with many twists and turns that kept me guessing right up until the end. While I don’t think the conclusion perfectly wraps things up, overall, it satisfied me. The Diabolic is a standalone, which is actually a little disappointing because I wound up liking the characters so much. I’m kind of hoping with all the positive reviews it’s already receiving, that maybe the author will reconsider and write a sequel. I highly recommend this book for teens and adults even if you don’t usually read science fiction. This is storytelling at it’s very best.
* In case you’re wondering why I used such a large image of the cover, it’s because not only is it gorgeous, but it’s also perfectly describes the development of Nemesis’s humanity.
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