All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Double Review: The Diablolic & The Empress by S.J. Kincaid

on November 16, 2017

The Diabolic (The Diabolic #1)
S.J. Kincaid
Simon & Schuster UK
2016, 403p
Read from my local library

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

Nemesis is a Diabolic. Created to protect a galactic Senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The girl who has grown up by her side and who is as much as sister as a master. 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 had seen this book around since its publication last year but I’d never gotten around to really checking it out until I received a copy of The Empress, the second book in the series, for review. I decided to give it a go and picked up a copy from my local library.

It’s set in a futuristic world where most of the population now lives in space on various constructions and vessels. Technology is restricted, but at some stage alternatives to humans were developed called diabolics, mostly as servants and protectors. They look human and can ‘bond’ to a human but they are lethal killing machines and generally don’t possess the human emotions or empathy. However, the more time they spend with humans, the more their brain ‘learns’ so it’s difficult to know what is possible. All diabolics were ordered destroyed but Nemesis was one of the lucky ones. She’d bonded so much with her owner Sidonia, a Senator’s daughter that the family agreed to hide the fact that she hadn’t been destroyed so that Nemesis might go on protecting her charge. The Senator is at odds with the ruling family over his scientific beliefs and when Sidonia is summoned to the galactic court, her mother sees immediately that this is a way to punish the family and concocts a plan to disguise the fact that Nemesis is a diabolic and send her in her place.

For that, Nemesis must act human. Cleverness can hide the features that distinguish her from humans, as most people tend to alter their real selves anyway but Nemesis must be able to interact with various people without causing suspicion. When she meets Tyrus, the Emperor’s nephew who is believed to be mad, the fact that diabolics can’t feel as humans do is sorely tested. Tyrus is different and in him, Nemesis sees a future for the empire….and for her.

I enjoyed this – I was surprisingly way more into the journey of Nemesis and Tyrus than I thought I would be. They go through a lot in this book. Tyrus thinks Nemesis is Sidonia and she thinks he’s probably insane. I loved the character of Tyrus, loved their interactions and Nemesis’ examining of her “diabolicness” and what her connection with Tyrus means.

I did feel that the book had an extraordinary amount of twists and turns, so much so that by the end I was a bit fatigued with all the plans and crossings and double crossings and backstabbing taking place! Once I finished this though, I was really looking forward to The Empress and seeing what happened.


Book #182 of 2017

The Empress (The Diabolic #2)
S.J. Kincaid
Simon & Schuster UK
2017, 378p
Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster AUS

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

It’s a new day in the Empire. Tyrus has ascended to the throne with Nemesis by his side and now they can find a new way forward—one where they don’t have to hide or scheme or kill. One where creatures like Nemesis will be given worth and recognition, where science and information can be shared with everyone and not just the elite.

But having power isn’t the same thing as keeping it, and change isn’t always welcome. The ruling class, the Grandiloquy, has held control over planets and systems for centuries—and they are plotting to stop this teenage Emperor and Nemesis, who is considered nothing more than a creature and certainly not worthy of being Empress.

Nemesis will protect Tyrus at any cost. He is the love of her life, and they are partners in this new beginning. But she cannot protect him by being the killing machine she once was. She will have to prove the humanity that she’s found inside herself to the whole Empire—or she and Tyrus may lose more than just the throne. But if proving her humanity means that she and Tyrus must do inhuman things, is the fight worth the cost of winning it?

Second books in a series. Hmmm. They can be a bit of a struggle.

After finishing the first one, I went right on to this one but I have to admit, I did struggle with it a little bit. I think because the first book spent so long building something and then this one just went and blew it apart and when things like that happen in second books, it tends to really bug me. I know that when it’s a series, there’s an arc and you have to spin it out for several books and nothing is easy and there’s got to be personal conflict etc. But sometimes, you can just see something coming a mile away and it feels really contrived and inorganic and like a complete 180 for a character.

A large part of the book revolves around Tyrus wanting Nemesis for his Empress but there is a strong resistance to that because Nemesis isn’t human. A Diabolic can’t be an Empress. Tyrus isn’t willing to take no for an answer though and this is an issue when it comes to him exerting his control and dominance as the new Emperor.  There’s quite a lot of politics in this volume and probably even more twists than in The Diabolic. The ending….well the ending pissed me off and also upset me! I wasn’t expecting that at all and I was actually quite cranky about it too. I found myself cursing the fact that I read them both before the next volume was out because I really need to know what happens next and whether or not certain characters can be redeemed or if what has happened is the end of something. Surely not? Surely there must be some sort of master plan from the Grand Planner of them all, some reason why this happened and it’ll all be made clear and then the grovelling can start. Because there needs to be grovelling. Lots of it.

I wasn’t sure what to rate this because even though I had some err, issues, with the way things played out there’s no denying that it was a heck of a journey getting there. I wasn’t sure I liked it as much as The Diabolic – apparently The Diabolic was originally a stand alone and reading it, that made a lot of sense. It clearly could’ve been. And then obviously a decision was made to go on with it so then there needed to be a plot. But however I felt about that, there’s no doubt that it’s made me pretty desperate for the next book to see what happens. So in that case, I guess it did it’s job as the second book, even though I finished it annoyed!


Book #184 of 2017

One response to “Double Review: The Diablolic & The Empress by S.J. Kincaid

  1. Great reviews and I completely agree

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