Diabolic Review

 The Diabolic is a space opera-esque novel written by S.J. Kincaid and published in 2016. It deals with a galaxy ruled by a harsh empire that has outlawed the advance of technology and relies entirely on the slowly failing machines created by their ancestors.

 The main character, Nemesis, is a ‘Diabolic’, a human created by the misunderstood and highly advanced technology of the empire and trained to become nothing else than a killing machine, neurologically bound to only love and serve one person. That person is Sidonia Impyrean, the kind daughter of a noble family. Nemesis and Sidonia have grown up very close, and while Sidonia tries to give Nemesis her own autonomy, Nemesis is very comfortable in the role that has been chosen for her. When the empire outlaws Diabolics, Nemesis is hidden by Sidonia and survives the purge.

 Sidonia’s father angers the Emperor by supporting the advance of technology over the empire’s set religion. The failing machines of the empire explode and create ‘dead space’ more and more frequently, and there is a growing faction who wants to learn just how all the machines they rely on work. Due to this indiscretion, Sidonia is summoned to the central hub of the empire, a dangerous place full of political intrigue and enemies. But Sidonia is too precious to her mother to be lost, and they decide Nemesis shall be sent in her place.

 Nemesis, who has been told since birth by all but one person that she is an emotionless weapon only useful for killing, must now navigate the landscape of the court to make allies, enemies, and preserve the reputation of ‘her’ family in an ever more precarious situation. And she must also come to terms what she has thought what was out of her reach forever – how human a Diabolic really is.

 The Diabolic presents an interesting view of the future where advancements in self-sustainability have led to a decline in civilization. The nobles in the Imperial Court spend their days creating fantastic chimeras of beasts to fight in the arena, lounging around in drugged hazes, and bullying each other. While the empire has stalled, we see through the journey of Nemesis and eventually also Tyrus, the ‘mad’ son of the emperor, that humans will always have the drive to move forward and change themselves if the world will not.