The Diabolic

Are There Lesbians? Yes 

What Happens?
Nemesis is a Diabolic, genetically programmed to serve and protect one master Sidonia, even at the cost of her own life. When Sidonia is called to the Emperor’s court to answer for her father’s crimes, Nemesis is sent in her stead. There, she must make a choice that not only affects the fate of those she loves, but the whole galaxy.

The Verdict:
Think Jupiter Rising meets Star Wars prequel trilogy, you know, the one we’re all trying so desperately to pretend never happened (except Phantom Menace, that lightsaber duel was the bomb diggedy).

[[[READ MORE MEANS SPOILERS]]]

The Diabolic has it all – space politics, action, skullduggery, the toppling of regimes, a female main character, bisexuals, POC, everything. On top of all that, it has a seriously cool cover – can we please just stop all this current artsy nonsense and just put a ruddy great bug on everything? That would be neat.The Diabolic also has a relatively predictable plot, but I am choosing to overlook it in this instance as the YA love triangle involves two girls and a guy. Unfortunately to get away with its ending it buries its gay rather than introducing her to a new romantic interest (seriously, there’s one right there) and letting them live happily ever after on a small planet and bringing scientific progress to the masses. I shall be writing fanfiction in this vein because I like to live in denial.

Although I did mention that The Diabolic has a fair few POCs, it’s a pretty blurry line because part of the technology involved in the novel is that people are constantly changing their appearance, including things like eye, hair and skin colour. The main reason I am choosing to say that POC are included is because Sidonia, and therefore for the majority of the novel, Nemesis, is described as having dark skin and hair, such an appearance being regarded as a trademark for her family.

The Diabolic is filled with a great cast of characters. All have their flaws, with some being much more complex than others. It makes sense of course that with the majority of the novel being set at court, that there is a lot of blurring the lines between what is truth and what isnt. There are also a fair few chapters which might even feel at home in Game of Thrones! It is this complex characterisation which helps me appreciate what is reasonably pretty dark ending. In what is about to be a massive spoiler, having the identity of the true orchestrator of Sidonia’s death left unclear is a bold move but also means that Tyrus (or Tyrone as one of my work friends keeps calling him) and Nemesis are on equal, morally dubious footing. Neither could truly be called a good person, and it is made clear that together, if nothing else, they can get shit done.

Overall I really liked this book, but at the same time I feel like I’ve been left disappointed, like there was something missing. I really wanted to like this book but in the end… I’m left uncertain how I feel. I can understand why S.J. Kincaid went with the ending they did, but that doesn’t mean I’m happy about it. It was nice to read a self-contained YA novel for once though and it certainly wasn’t as cookie-cutter as some I’ve read. For all that, The Diabolic is definitely a fun read and I don’t regret it at all.

 

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