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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
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.
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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?
- Author: S.J. Kincaid
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Superheroes, Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs, Space and Aliens
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster
- Publication date: November 1, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 18
- Number of pages: 416
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.