So, as we know, I don’t read a lot of teen fiction. It’s not really that I dislike it, but more that I got a little overwhelmed by the dystopian everything, and when I look at the covers of books, they all look like they could be the same story. I know they aren’t, but, they look like they could be.
So snagging The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid was abnormal for me, but one of the best book decisions I’ve made since snagging a copy of Yesternight by Cat Winters.
The Diabolic is a futuristic novel set in space. The universe is ruled by an emperor, and the grandiloquy, or nobles, have their own planets and/or fortresses to govern. Many of these noble families had Diabolics grown for their children–genetically engineered humans without emotion but created to bond with one person and protect that one person, no matter the cost. So The Diabolic is the story of Nemesis, a Diabolic sent in the stead of her person, an heir to the galactic senate. Nemesis must convince everyone that she is human, or the consequences will be dire.
This book was full of intrigue, leading to several plot twists that I wasn’t anticipating. That’s right, several. Not just one. And the intrigue was written well enough that even when I could guess at what would happen, I was right there with Nemesis, wondering whether A or B was true, because each had valid evidence to support it. And in the end, while Nemesis chooses to believe one truth, the choice is obvious in her resole to take action if she finds out later that it wasn’t ever true at all.
The story was also an interesting look at what it means to be human. Is it just looks? Is it emotion? Is it physical abilities? Kincaid focuses on the emotion aspect, allowing Nemesis to discover that what she was created to be doesn’t have to define what she wants to be, nor the path of her future.
This didn’t read necessarily like a teen book, except that the issues Nemesis face are ones that, by the time we reach “adulthood” (whatever or whenever that is) we’ve mostly either dealt with them, or suppressed them enough to function. It’s a story about finding and creating yourself, which, while it may be a little cliche, it’s never outdated.