Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers on 11/1/16
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Source: The Publisher
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing; Violence)
A Diabolic is ruthless. A Diabolic is powerful. A Diabolic has a single task: Kill in order to protect the person you’ve been created for.
Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe.
When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia—a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything.
As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns there is something more to her than just deadly force. She finds a humanity truer than what she encounters from most humans. Amidst all the danger, action, and intrigue, her humanity just might be the thing that saves her life—and the empire.
My 14-year-old son and I had the pleasure of attending a pre-pub dinner with S.J. Kincaid through Andersons Bookshop and part of the arrangement was that we got ARCs of the book so that we could read it before the dinner. I was super excited because I had missed out on this book at BEA, and I had really wanted to check it out. Turns out, it was everything I’d been hoping for! Both my son and I LOVED the book. He was in awe that he got to meet Kincaid and talk to her about it, and he asked her several pretty thoughtful questions, if I do say so myself. The event was small, which meant that he got to ask her as much as he wanted! Anyway, I’m including a few little details that I learned at the dinner in this review, so I thought I’d mention it here.
This book is everything the blurb and the cover promises it to be—it’s definitely dark and edgy for a YA read, but it’s oh so tantalizingly good. AND it’s a standalone, which means that you don’t have to wait a year to find out what happens to these characters. I was pretty much blown away and so was my son.
What Fed My Addiction:
- A dangerous hero who’s actually dangerous. Okay, I do have to warn that this book does contain some pretty strong violence. And that’s because Nemesis, the main character, is a Diabolic—she was specifically bred to protect one person at any cost. She has no moral compass and can only really make decisions based on the safety of Sidonia, the girl she has been essentially programmed to love. If someone puts Sidonia in danger, Nemesis has no qualms about removing the threat—violently. She doesn’t even necessarily take into account whether or not Sidonia would actually want her to do so. Because Nemesis has been cred to be devoid of most human emotion and does not make decisions based on morality, she can be very dangerous.
- Political machinations. Nemesis gets caught up in the politics of the Galactic Court and soon learns that political machinations can be just as deadly as brute force. She finds herself in the middle of political and social struggles, and she has to decide where she stands—and how far she’ll go to get what she wants.
- What makes us human? When disaster strikes, Nemesis is forced to reevaluate her whole reason for existence. Since she was bred specifically to kill, Nemesis doesn’t believe that she is human. She doesn’t believe she is capable of human emotions or true free will. But she starts to question those things when she meets Tyrus, the Emperor’s “mad” nephew and gets caught up in his plans for the Galactic Court. To further complicate things, there is a race of humanoids with even less free will (and personality) than the Diabolics have. All of these things spurred lots of discussion between my son and I about what makes a person human and what gives you a soul. (My son asked a few questions about Kincaid’s views on this at the dinner as well).
- Action! If you’re looking for an action-packed book that never lets up but still has complex and fleshed out characters, you’ve found it!
- Slightly open ending. I loved that the ending of the book could be left up to some interpretation. Nemesis herself couldn’t guarantee that she knew the truth, but she accepted that and all its limitations. NOTE: If you want to hear what Kincaid said about this, click on the spoiler link—but this will spoil the ending, so only click if you’ve already read the book! View Spoiler »I asked Kincaid if there was a chance that Tyrus actually killed Sidonia. She said that in her original version of the book, Tyrus was much more dastardly and walked the thin line between good and evil a bit more. In that version, it was possible that Tyrus could have killed Sidonia. But in this version we were supposed to be left with the knowledge that Tyrus’s grandmother had killed Sidonia. (I hadn’t been 100% convinced of that at the end, though I had definitely WANTED to believe it.) « Hide Spoiler
What Left Me Hungry for More:
- Not much. I’m sure if I got super picky I could think of something I didn’t like about the book, but I would be hard-pressed. I’m not going to try.
This book is deliciously dark and dangerous and more than a little unsettling! I give it an enthusiastic 5/5 stars.
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for a pre-pub event, but no review was required or requested. All opinions are my own.***
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