Series Review: The Diabolic by S J Kincaid

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:


Synopsis for The Diabolic (from Goodreads):

Nemesis is a Diabolic. Created to protect a galactic Senator’s daughter, Sidonia. There’s no one Nemesis wouldn’t kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the galactic court as a hostage, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia.

She must become her.

Now one of the galaxy’s most dangerous weapons is masquerading in a world of corruption and Nemesis has to hide her true abilities or risk everything. As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns that there is something stronger than her deadly force: the one thing she’s been told she doesn’t have – humanity. And, amidst all the danger, action and intrigue, her humanity might be the only thing that can save her, Sidonia and the entire Empire…


SERIESous’ Top Picks: YA Fave 2018
Series: The Diabolic
Author: S J Kincaid
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Space Fantasy, Politics
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: November 2016 – August 2020
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook


Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I saw this book floating about around its release date on various blogs and on Riffle. But one review in particular had me eager to pick this one up and that was by Sarah @ Written Word Worlds. She said all the buzzwords I like to see in my science fiction dystopian worlds and so I was super excited to pick this up.

Of course, like many books I am excited to read about, it takes me awhile to actually get there. So I made sure I put The Diabolic on my 5 Year 5 Book Challenge 2018 as a selection for the year 2016 and then its sequel, The Empress on my 5 Year 5 Book Challenge in 2020.

The Concept / The World:

I love when you have complex worlds but they don’t feel that way to you. This world is rich and layered; there are political hierarchies and new technologies but I never felt overwhelmed by any of it. You don’t get dumped on with info at any point so it’s easy to follow along and become immersed into the world and its people.

When this series first came out, it got marketed to fans of The Hunger Games and Red Queen, and I get some of those tones in there but they aren’t anything like this at all. I’d say this is the Young Adult version of Red Rising, though this one is completely its own in every way.

The Plot:

If you want a book series that will keep you on your toes, this is the one for you! I never knew what was going to happen next and I LOVED it! Everything is constantly evolving and there are so many great twists that you definitely get sucked into Nemesis’ world very quickly.

I think the sequels have some slower spots when it comes to the plot, but the shift often moves towards developing Nemesis’ character which I can appreciate. And more often than not, some twist would come out of left field and get me suckered back in!

The Characters:

Given Nemesis’ purpose in life (to protect her charge at all costs), she’s understandably cold when you first meet her and I think it’ll take some readers a while to warm up to her. She’s very calculating and methodical and so she’s not overly expressive. But as the story progresses and as she experiences different events, she really transforms before your eyes and you can’t help but root for her. I found her character to be so endearing and I definitely was a fan very early on.

What I loved about the rest of the characters is that you don’t know who to trust. You’ve got your villains and the ones who seem to have good intentions, so it was a lot of fun watching all the players at work throughout.

The Romance:

Sigh…I loved Nemesis’ romance. I’m not going to say who it’s with but I just thought it was so cute! They make great partners which I love. But I also loved how it helped her character evolution as well. Watching her try to comprehend her budding feelings helped me to better understand her.

My Audiobook Experience:

I always am a little hesitant to read non-contemporary reads as audiobooks because there can be a lot of info thrown at you–and it can be hard to remember it all (ie Firstlife)–and it takes you longer to read it (usually 2x longer). But I’ve had great success with other “set in space” novels so I was optimistic this would work.

I highly recommend the audio version. It was great! Candace Thaxton really brings Nemesis to life and captures her tone perfectly and it made me like Nemesis more. And there was never a dull moment in the books so I never got bored listening either. Highly entertaining!

Series Rating: 4.5/5

The Diabolic 5/5| The Empress 4/5 | The Nemesis 4/5


If you love political intrigue and plots that keep you on your toes, this space saga is a winner!

Read if You Like: science fiction, political intrigue, forbidden romance
Avoid if You: dislike science fiction



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