A Reading Recap: The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

Hello bookish friends,

To be honest, I don’t know where I found the time to read this book recently what with all the exciting planning I’ve been doing for your October and November Book Box Club boxes! I was really excited to get my hands on an ARC of The Disbolic, 1.) because all the lovely people over at Simon & Schuster couldn’t stop talking about it, 2.) because it is being described as a sort of Hunger Games meets Star Wars and 3.) because it is just so god damn stylish..I mean, just look at it!

I don’t know whether it’s just me but when I read a book really fast I tend to forget major threads of the plot afterwards. I think I read The Diabolic in an intense three days and since reading some of the reviews of it online I think I need to give it a re read. On the whole I really enjoyed this book, I mean, I must have done if it kept me gripped so completely. There were some parts that I felt just didn’t quite come together but more about them later.

The Diabolic follows the main character, Nemesis, a Diabolic created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. A Diabolic who has one purpose; to protect their ward, whatever the cost. When Sidonia’s father is accused of being a rebel and Sidonia is summoned to the Galactic court by the Emperor, Nemisis takes her place to keep her out of harms way. She is forced to hide who she really is from everyone and navigate her way through life at court with only a few social outcasts to call her friends.

“I would be a Diabolic who forged a new future. Not just for myself but for all the real people too. And in that way I would have the truest revenge of all: I would make my life mean something.”

I really enjoyed the setting of this book. I don’t usually choose to read sci fi, in fact, I would say I usually avoid books set in space at all costs. I’m not particularly enamoured with technology and usually I find that sci-fi is laboured with techy jargon that switches me off straight away. This Empire was very much like The Capitol in Hunger Games, the people of the court choose to alter their appearance so that they are barely recognisable and wear very elaborate costumes daily. There are also very Hunger Games-esque rumblings of rebellion going on in the background by subjects interested in studying the sciences instead of the Empires religion which seems to ignore all mention of science at all. Although I think the settings at courts needed to be more delicately described, I enjoyed the unique hierarchy and court politics.  It made me think of the Roman senate in space. Very unique.

The action was awesome. I am not shy of violence in my YA books, which is definitely a blessing here. I was staying up late at night, reading on my walk to work, brushing my teeth reading this one to find out what was going to happen. There were a few shocking plot twists (even really early on in the book) and I really didn’t know if some of the main characters would live to see the end of the book! Let’s just say, don’t get too attached to any characters!

Sorry to all of those people on good reads who have described Nemisis as a ‘Kick-Ass heroine’; I’m afraid I wasn’t 100% convinced by Nemisis’ character. I know she was bred to kill and to serve but I found her transformation into thoughtful saver of the world a little bit too quick. Is that just me? Did I miss something (I did read it super fast so that might well be the case!)? Surely if you grew up in a cage being forced to kill anyone in your path (including children) you would have a bigger chip on your shoulder, or perhaps I’m taking it too literally.

The other thing I had a slight issue with is the romance. I don’t want to say too much more in case of spoilers but let’s just say I really wasn’t into this one. The jump was too big there and the couple seemed awkward and pushed together like a mismatched jigsaw. I don’t know, am I being harsh? Did anyone else love this pairing? Maybe DM me if you did so we can discuss away from the eyes of people who haven’t read it yet.

So all in all I think the Diabolic is well worth a read. Lots of interesting themes in there like exploring what it means to be human as well as questions about religion, politics and scandal. I’d love to hear what you all think about it. I know it’s technically not out until the 1st November but I’ve seen so many ARCs out and about for this so it might be that some of you have read it already and if not I’m prepared to wait. I really do recommend you get it on your TBR pile. Part of me is sad I won’t have a finished copy. My proof copy is lovely but I just know the hardback will be beautiful!

Have a lovely bookish evening everyone.

Love, Libby



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