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 sisters. 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.
Description taken from Goodreads.
No one is more disappointed by my disappointment in this book than me.
Initially, I loved The Diabolic. The premise is fantastic, and the book started out perfectly. It was everything I wanted it to be: edgy, sharp, realistic, and just deep enough to make it worthwhile. Unfortunately, that sentiment didn’t last very long. In fact, it started to go south when I was reminded of Finnick.
I won’t quote anything because the book hasn’t been released yet, per S&S’s guidelines, but the long and short of it is that in the beginning, Nemesis steps into a virtual reality for the rich and powerful heirs of the galaxy’s most powerful families. She ends up meeting a mostly-naked boy (by the way, this only works when Suzanne Collins does it), who’s cool and enigmatic and generally a special snowflake, and he turns out to be the Emperor’s nephew.
At this point, the writing started getting to me. I know that Nemesis isn’t supposed to have human feelings, but maybe the writing was just a little bit too stiff and robotic for me? There was nothing flowing about it, and the majority of it was tell instead of show. I appreciated it in the beginning, excited by it even, but it was grating after a while. Nemesis had little to no personality, and all of her actions that would’ve been remotely revealing or pleasantly surprising were ruined when she felt the need to explain them to us.
And then there was the similarity of it all. This is SFF… on Earth. It may seem different on the surface because a good deal of the world is named differently, but none of the overall plot is unfamiliar. There was nothing new or exciting or extraordinary about the characters, the story, the romance, the plot, the twists, or anything in between. The only thing that could’ve saved the story and set it apart was the writing, and that fell through for me.
Now that I think about it, the themes of The Diabolic were very reminiscent of Jessica Khoury’s The Forbidden Wish for me. If you lean more toward science fiction, I would recommend The Diabolic, but if you lean more towards legends-and-myths fantasy, then I would recommend The Forbidden Wish. Compared, I would go with Jessica Khoury. Her writing is much more elegant, the characters more thought out, and the story line complete.
Overall, I think my problems with The Diabolic are a case of it being me, not the book. There’s nearly overwhelming love for this story, and I can see the appeal with the romance and the ideas, but it just wasn’t all that for me. 2 stars.