It’s not often that I don’t finish a book. I usually make a point to always get to the end, but I just couldn’t with The Diabolic. I really, really tried but I just had too many issues with it.
The world building was lacking in depth, which was unfortunate as I usually love sci-fi/dystopian books. The author just gave a lot of things that already exist more complicated and harder to pronounce names. (The upper class/aristocracy was renamed ‘The Grandiloquy’ for crying out loud) The mechanics behind space travel and the experience of it were given (sarcasm warning) a whole paragraph. The overall effect was confusing and my efforts to keep family names and political affiliations straight in my head often pulled my focus from the narrative.
Our main character, Nemesis, was a study in contradiction and not in an introspective, profound way. She simply defied the very premise of the book.
“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.”
“Diabolics weren’t people.
We looked like people, to be sure. We had the DNA of people, but we were something else: creatures fashioned to be utterly ruthless and totally loyal to a single individual. We would gladly kill for that person, and only for them. “
That was the description given of the inhuman, cold, born-and-bred killer that Nemesis was supposed to be. She was an antihero thrust into the role of hero. Only looking out for herself because to die would mean causing the suicide of the one girl she had sworn to protect. The whole point of Nemesis’s existence was to be emotionless and emotionally removed from all situations. She was supposed to be incapable of about 99.9% of the emotions she displays at one point or other during the half of the book that I read.
The writing was another major issue for me. I really don’t want it to seem like I’m bashing the author, but it was monotonous and boring. Like, super boring. There were perhaps one or two sentences that made me sit up and take notice, but other than that… it really wasn’t anything special. I couldn’t get into it at all, and most of the characters were extremely one dimensional, with maybe the exception of Sidonia. It is possible for brilliantly nuanced and amazingly written characters to carry a weak plot. I’ve seen it done. It’s harder for a great plot to buoy along flat, insubstantial characters, but sometimes it happens. Unfortunately, this book barely had glimpses of both.
The senseless, unnecessary violence, was also a big no for me. I do understand that this aspect is subjective and will vary from reader to reader, but having someone skin themselves alive?? When it furthers the plot in no way?? I understand that killing is Nemesis’ only purpose in life, but when it’s not even her that does a lot of the killing one begins to question the point of it. Honestly, the time spent describing the graphic violence could’ve easily been spent fleshing out the characters so that the reader actually felt something other than vague pity for a few of them.
That was another one of my issues. I felt absolutely zero connection, sympathy, empathy or even faint dislike towards the majority of the characters. Nemesis as a first person narrator had the potential to be very interesting. I just don’t feel like the author really took the concept and ran with it. There are so many moral and ethical discussions that could have been raised but just weren’t? The fact that Nemesis’ ‘love’ for Sidonia was chemically engineered could’ve been touched upon?
That being said, there were some cool aspects to the book. The prince Tyrus for example. The crazy heir to the Empire. He was quite intriguing, but I have been told that all elements of intrigue vanish quite soon after the halfway point at which I stopped. I would also bet my life savings that him and Nemesis end up together, which surely should be impossible as she is a Diabolic… The whole idea of their creepy religious cult was vaguely interesting but again, not enough to keep me going.
The cover is pretty, though.
If your looking for an easy read, then read it, sure. It won’t provoke many feelings or any existential crises, but might be interesting for some. Tell me what you think if you get the chance.
☆☆☆☆☆ (0 stars – DNF)