Monday, August 1, 2016

The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid

The Diabolic
S. J. Kincaid
projected publication date: November 2016
3/5 stars

A Diabolic is a genetically engineered assassin, bonded to only one person; to protect that person, the Diabolic will kill or be killed.  Nemesis is a Diabolic, bonded to Sidonia, the daughter of a heretical senator.   Sidonia is summoned to the Emperor's court as a hostage. Nemesis, masquerading as Sidonia, goes in her place.  She becomes the center of court intrigue and involved in an adventure that will test who and what she is.

The Diabolic takes place in a future where the human race has expanded into an unnamed solar system. Here, the elite rule the majority and all "learning" is banned.  A dystopia needs to make sense if it's to be believed, and the banning of education in general, and science in particular, just doesn't seem viable in a culture where genetic modification is the norm.  The fact that their many technological machines  need to be repaired is addressed by saying that some machines have been programmed in the past to service other machines, and that eventually they will all break down.  With this accepted, it is odd that the people ignore the fact that without the various technologies, their culture, if not their entire race, will be unable to stand.  This sort of self-imposed ignorance and blindness is beyond comprehension.  As the foundation for the entire story rests on the dystopia being credible, the entire novel is weak from the start.

The story is from the first-person point of view of Nemesis.  It is told in a very static and stilted way, which I suppose is intended to show that Nemesis is non-human.  However, this makes the story drag and feel forced.  I also felt that the characters weren't fleshed out enough; I never felt invested in any of them

Despite having to make myself finish it, I didn't hate this book.  I'm giving it a generous three stars, because it had an interesting plot, which could have been extremely good if the world had been more credible and the characters more alive.

Note: I was given the ARC of this book by Amazon Vine in return for an honest review.

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