Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Diabolic

Nemesis is a Diabolic created to protect the child of a powerful senator named Sidonia at all costs. Although they've grown up together, Nemesis isn't treated as a person as Sidonia is offered every luxury in life. Sidonia's father is something of a revolutionary and seeks to give forbidden knowledge to the lower class called the Excess. The power hungry Emperor hears of this and demands Sidonia's presence at the Galactic court. Since it's probably for nefarious reasons, Sidonia's mother creates a plan where Nemesis will go in Sidonia's place to face the consequences. Will Nemesis fool all of the officials and will she succeed in protecting Sidonia from the Emperor's violence?

The Diabolic has a lot of unexpected science fiction and dystopian elements. A diabolic is an engineered person training from creation to be a killing machine. An artificial connection is made to a person who they protect at all costs against any foe even at the cost of their own life. Of course this doesn't work out well for some as they end up killing family members or friends when they are perceived as a threat. Nemesis is treated as less than human by everyone except Sidonia. She insists upon loudly acknowledging her as a person with a soul even when society looks down upon her and Nemesis fights against it. There are other artificial people that serve different functions and sometimes purposefully don't have full mental faculties like servitors who live to serve and

When Nemesis goes to the Galactic court to pose as Sidonia, she's then treated and viewed as person, which changes her perception of herself, the way she acts, and the way she presents herself. It's kind of a reversal of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein which examined how a person treated as inhuman will become inhuman. In this, it's someone treated as inhuman and then by being treated as human becomes human. Nemesis' journey came with a lot of character development and surprising events. Looking through her eyes was different than other teen protagonists because she pushes the emotion she does have down and denies it, leaving the predatory thoughts at the forefront to protect her charge.

The world building is impressive and takes place in the far future. Mankind built crafts to travel across the galaxy and live in space, but knowledge is suppressed. Only robots fix technology. No new technology comes out. Everything is falling apart. Ships can tear holes in space that eats everything around it. The upper class ignores it to keep their position of power. This is all motivated by their Helionic religion. They believe the universe and planets are divine and bestowed their spark upon mankind. Things mankind makes don't have that spark and thus don't have souls. Trying to learn about science is blasphemous and punishable by death, leading eventually to their demise since most don't live on planets anymore. This interested me and I definitely saw some parallels religious fanatics in the present.

The Diabolic is an enjoyable science fiction novel that includes a lot of subjects that interest me: the definition of humanity, crazy zealous fanatics, artificial intelligence, and assassins. When the romance is introduced to the story, I thought it took away from the story since it took precedence for the last half of the novel. It made Nemesis act in uncharacteristic ways that I didn't appreciate. A love triangle appears out of nowhere and is dealt with predictably. I thought this was the opening to a series and I'm disappointed it isn't since the world is so well written. I recommend the book despite my annoyance at the romance.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

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