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The Diabolic,
Gabrielle, 14.

This book is about:
The Diabolic is a novel about a scientifically engineered girl, called Nemesis, whose core purpose is to protect her master Sidonia.

The book was filled with unexpected plot twists which kept me on my toes throughout the whole novel. I liked Nemesis' character because she was a strong and independent character who tried her best to protect everyone she loved. Despite having completely different dilemmas and being in different situations, I felt that I could relate to her character and I could understand her feelings.

When Nemesis' species, the diabolics, are ordered by the Emperor to be killed, Sidonia and her family have to figure out whether they should risk keeping Nemesis alive and disobeying the Emperor.

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Lorraine Ansell, 14
It is sometime in the future and the ruling Elite live on large spaceships, their power and money fuelled by the Excess, the poorer classes toiling on the planets. No one is allowed to pursue scientific education and the spaceships are ageing, causing problems in the solar systems. Servitors and Diabolics are genetically engineered human creatures devoid of emotion or thought apart from pain and the ability to follow instructions. Nemesis is a Diabolic, who are made stronger, larger and faster than the Servitors, purely to act as a deadly protector for their owner. Raised and trained like an animal, she is bought by the Impyrean senator to love and protect one person, his daughter Sidonia. After a thwarted attempt by the Senator to force the Emperors hand in the matter of scientific learning, Sidonia is summoned to the Chrysanthemum, the Emperor's court, and Nemesis is altered and sent in her place. Thrown into the court and surrounded by the Elite classes will she be able to protect her owner from afar whilst she unravels the complexity of human nature? This is an imaginative concept and the author has really captured Nemesis's stuggles to adapt whilst pretending to be human. She gradually learns to love and care for others, something that a Diabolic should not be able to achieve. Full of twists and turns, the book stays true throughout and has a suitable satisfactory ending that is not rushed in any way. It is, however, left in such a way that sequels would be possible and I can see how this would make an amazing film. I think it would have been aided by a glossary and possibly a star system chart as at the beginning. As it is not completely clear in terms of the setting and different factions, a few of my students found this confusing. Otherwise a great read and although aimed at fans of science fiction I think it would appeal to many readers as there is action, romance, mystery and danger. Recommended for slightly older readers due to the torture and content. 403 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Lorraine Ansell, school librarian.
Shannon, 15
I found the book to be very enjoyable, with many plot twists and exciting events. Once I started reading the book, I was entranced by the story and deeply involved in Nemesis's life. However, I found the story quite hard to get into and some words were quite difficult. I feel that the book could be improved with a glossary at the beginning or end of the book. Overall, I really enjoyed the book and found it really clever, with the character descriptions and storytelling.
Alison Ustun, 12
This is a YA sci-fi fantasy with a dark heart. Mankind has colonised the galaxies - elite families live a pampered life in luxurious spacestations waited on by genetically modified humanoids and ruling over the Excess who toil away on the planets. To protect themselves the ruling familes create Diabolics - humanoids of super strength designed to be heartless killing machines. Nemesis is a diabolic created to protect Sidonia - daughter of a powerful Senator. Unfortunately because of his heretical beliefs the Senator has made an enemy of the Emperor. Sidonia is ordered to attend court but, realising it's a trap, Nemesis is made to go in her place. The story really picks up when she arrives at court. She may be a born killer but she's certainly not the only monster. While she tries to keep a low profile she's drawn into the power struggle between the Emperor and those who oppose him. To complicate matters even further, Nemesis begins to suspect she's more human than she realised. She's forced to take sides, but can anyone be trusted when the stakes are so high? This is a real page turner with plot twists and turns aplenty. There are scenes of violence and some romance - nothing beyond the realms of YA - and would appeal to sci-fi, dystopian and fantasy fans. It would be perfect for fans of Suzanne Collins, Marie Lu and Sarah J Maas. 416 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Alison Ustan, school librarian.
Linda brown, 12
This is the first time I have read one of Kincaid's books. I'm pleased to say it will not be the last. In a universe where science, maths and learning are actively banned by the establishment, Diabolics are created, human-like warriors, to protect the rich. They bond on one person and love them and only them, even killing others to keep them safe. Nemesis is one such creation, bonding with a Senator's daughter, Sidonia, whose father's love of learning and science puts his daughter in danger, and sending Nemesis out into the world of the intergalactic court to protect both her interests and her person. Nemesis takes the place of Sidonia at court and has to develop awareness of what is going on around her, while dealing with court politics in disguise, which is very tricky as she is quite nieve of the ways of this world. Nemesis is a wonderful, well written, powerful character that develops emotions throughout the book and (spoiler alert) finds love with another equally strong character that's quite hard to judge. The book is 403 pages - just enough for young teenagers to get their teeth into without becoming bored, however, due to some sexual/slightly graphic violent content, I would say this is recommended for age 13+, and the virtual reality, space, sci-fi content will make this a popular choice with both genders. Like the ending of the book, it's nice for a change to have a stand alone, however, the ending does make you think, what could have happened next; so perhaps somewhere down the line the author will revisit the characters and let us know some of the outcomes. 416 pages / Ages 13+ / Reviewed by Linda Brown, school librarian.
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