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What did you like best about The Diabolic? What did you like least?
Based on the summary and reviews here, I was expecting a light sci-fi read with plenty of action and subterfuge. I was surprised then when the second half turned into a mushy teen romance novel. The book begins by introducing us to Nemesis, a genetically engineered killing machine (known as a titular "Diabolic") whose sole purpose in life is to protect Sidonia, the daughter of a galactic senator. Aside from an instinctual need to keep her ward safe, Nemesis was bred not to experience emotions and has little understanding of them. The first person perspective works great here, giving us a look inside the Diabolic's head as she tries to make sense of the affection and care shown to her by Sidonia. Their complex bond was the bright spot in the book for me. The introspection that happens throughout the story as Nemesis explores what it means to really be human was the only thing that kept me engaged in the later on.
As the above synopsis tells you, Nemesis has to travel to the center of the galactic government to impersonate the senator's daughter. And then things start to go downhill from here. She makes a lot of decisions that are out-of-character compared to how she was depicted in the first act. YA tropes begin to pop up (particularly with the galactic court being the equivalent of Hunger Games' Capitol, and the "lovers from two different worlds" cliche). The unexpected, mushy romance further detracted from the story for me, but I understand now I'm not exactly the target audience for what this book was trying to do. There is some interesting political intrigue and deception, but the scope and complexity of those aspects are relatively light.
I really enjoyed the writing style for 85% of this book with things faltering a little when describing the romance (seriously, how many times is she going to mention the love interests "muscular arms"? Change it up every once in a while). Fortunately the narrator is excellent, and her dynamic intonation adds variety to some of those repetitive passages. I can't say enough about how much I liked her performance. Dialogue is well done and appropriate for each character, ranging form the detached Nemesis to the empathetic Sidonia to the calculated, reserved love interest (don't want to spoil it by mentioning the name). While some character's voices don't differ much tonally, the little nuances in cadence and accent give each a unique identity. For these reasons, the narrator rescues some of the weaker parts of the writing.TLDR: Interesting exploration of human emotions and light politics bogged down by CW-style teen drama. If you don't mind that sort of thing, and you're looking for somethign sci-fi, this is the book for you.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
the World building was wonderfully done for a one novel story. I'm going to have to go back and read this instead of listening to it because while I feel like the character development was done well the narrator did such a terrible job during the dialogue scenes that it completely ruined any suspension of disbelief. The actual narration where she told the story or let us know how the character was feeling had a lot of emotion, articulation, and substance. unfortunately almost every scene involving dialogue was choppy, poorly read, with a tone that was often times at war with the emotions the characters are supposed to be feeling.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful