The Diabolic

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
The Diabolic Book Poster Image
Deadly female bodyguard stars in smart, surprising sci-fi.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 14+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The Diabolic explores the question of nature versus nurture as its main character struggles to define herself as human or other.

Positive Messages

Our upbringing is not our destiny. Hurt people can heal and develop empathy for others.

Positive Role Models & Representations

In The Diabolic, Nemesis starts off as a cold-blooded killer, ready to destroy anyone who threatens Sidonia. Gradually, she accepts the kinder, gentler aspects of herself and learns to curb her destructive instincts. Nevertheless, she generally believes that the ends justify the means.

Violence

The Diabolic contains scenes of violence, including a fight to the death between Diabolics, a murder by poisoning, and a missile attack. Two villainous characters attempt to sexually assault Nemesis after giving her drugged wine.

Sex

Nemesis and Tyrus develop a romantic attraction toward each other, resulting in passionate embraces that surprise them both. Nemesis describes her emotions but rarely her physical responses.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adult characters use drug-laced ointments for recreational use. Nemesis is offered some drugged wine, which she eventually forces on her enemies.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Diabolic is a stand-alone science fiction novel by S.J. Kincaid, about a genetically engineered living weapon who learns what it means to be human. Nemesis, the protagonist, starts the book as a quick-to-kill personal bodyguard, but she gradually learns to control her homicidal impulses. The book contains scenes of violence -- a duel to the death, an attempted sexual assault -- but they tend to be short and not overly graphic in their descriptions. Sexual content is limited to a few passionate embraces. Characters use recreational opiates mixed with body ointments.

User Reviews

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Teen, 17 years old Written byBooklover41899 December 6, 2016

Graphic violence in thrilling and addicting YA Sci-fi

THE DIABOLIC is so much fun. There is action, drama, politics, and even romance. So good and I highly recommend for those with a strong tolerance for violence a... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byinsanereader May 3, 2017

I love this book so much!

This book was so amazing! It is definitely on of my favorites. I instantly fell in love with nemesis and the whole book. It takes place in space far in the futu... Continue reading

What's the story?

At the start of THE DIABOLIC, Nemesis has been raised to be a living weapon, totally committed to the safety of Sidonia, the teen daughter of a galactic Senator. When Sidonia is summoned by the insane Emperor to appear at his court, Nemesis must take her place to protect her. Practically invincible in battle, Nemesis still miscalculates the treachery of the Emperor and his family. In order to save herself and her beloved, she must learn to temper her killer instincts with kindness and empathy.

Is it any good?

Questions of nature vs. nurture play out in unexpected and entertaining ways in this stand-alone sci-fi tale of a futuristic killing machine who grows a heart. With The Diabolic, author S.J. Kincaid does a first-rate job of setting up plot twists and executing them with precision. Her characters -- from Nemesis to the future emperor Tyrus to Sidonia -- are offbeat and well developed, and her depiction of intrigue in a galactic empire is nuanced.

In a time of bloated sagas that extend to three or more volumes, it's refreshing to read a stand-alone adventure with a propulsive plot and a supremely memorable main character. Fans of high-impact galactic intrigue will eat this one up.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how The Diabolic addresses the question of what it means to be human. How can you develop empathy for other people after having been mistreated as a child?

  • How is violence used in The Diabolic? Is it sometimes required to effect a desired outcome? When is it morally justifiable?

  • How do politics shape the action of The Diabolic? How are people able to rebel against an unjust government?

Book details

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