Read more: Publisher's Weekly interview with S.J. Kincaid
by S.J. Kincaid
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
The Diabolic available November 1, 2016
S.J. Kincaid's exciting new adventure story takes place in space where senators rule a galactic Senate keeping all technology away from the common people, the Excess, and their planets. In this way, mere humans will remain subservient.Science is forgotten and only machines can fix other machines. Humans lack the knowledge to repair any of their spaceships and many are breaking down and vanishing into deep space. The powerful senate would rather lose a few ships then give humans knowledge and power that could overthrow their rule.
Diabolics were created from human DNA to be ruthless and to kill in order to save their charge. Diabolics lack feelings like empathy and love; they kill without emotion or remorse. Diabolics are not human and they undergo genetic modifications to imprint them on their masters.
Nemesis is selected out of a training pen by a powerful senator's wife to guard her young daughter. Nemesis and Sidonia grow up together almost as sisters, at least in Sidonia's mind. Nemesis cannot feel love, but she knows she would do anything to protect Sidonia. The Emperor declares death for all Diabolics, but Nemesis is hidden away by Sidonia's parents. When Sidonia is summoned to the galactic court by the powerful Emperor who is angry with Sidonia's father for studying science, the Matriarch decides to use Nemesis as a stand in for her own daughter, keeping Sidonia safe at home. Nemesis must now fit in among her superiors; she must pretend to be meek and mild Sidonia and not the trained and ruthless killing machine Nemesis. If she is discovered, she will be killed--and even worse, she will bring death to Sidonia and her family.
One slip of the tongue, one misused phrase, one gaff in manner can give her away. Nemesis isn't afraid of the powerful and treacherous court; she is terrified of hurting Sidonia. Nemesis crushes down her instincts to break necks and stomp on heads.
There is much to debate and discuss in The Diabolic: what place does religion have in science and vice versa? Should religion fear science? Should science be maintained only by a select few? Artificial intelligence--when is enough enough? Just because we find a cure for something, when do we know whether it is right to use the cure if it causes other events? What part does power play in science? In religion?
The Diabolic is a solid YA sci-fi adventure that is sure to appeal to the masses. Though I am not usually a sci-fi reader, I was drawn to The Diabolic due to the character of Nemesis--the girl who is not a girl but so much, much more.
Highly recommended for high school readers and collections. Violence and mature situations make this a high school pick.
FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the ARC from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.
Striking cover art is eye-catching and provocative. Smart marketing uses red tipped (evocative of blood) butterfly wings with steel blades ( violence and warfare) and a a part of white wing (purity?)to sell the cover. Kincaid fans of Insignia will not be disappointed by this exciting new stand alone adventure..