Review for The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

thediabolicThe Diabolic
By: S.J. Kincaid
Release Date: November 1st 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

My Rating
star

Summary:
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.

Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe.

When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia—a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything.

As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns there is something more to her than just deadly force. She finds a humanity truer than what she encounters from most humans. Amidst all the danger, action, and intrigue, her humanity just might be the thing that saves her life—and the empire.

My Thoughts
I think that The Diabolic will be a great hit with many readers. It’s an action packed story with intrigue, a touch of romance and wonderful setting. For me, I really enjoyed this book but at the same time I felt that some of the pacing was rushed and I wished I’d had a deeper connection to the main character, Nemesis.

There were aspects of this book that I felt were incredibly strong and well done. The world building was really interesting and I loved the descriptions and the issues that Kincaid drew out with the Diabolics, Excess and Royals. Because of there being such extensive unrest in this world there was real tension in this book and it made the reading experience exciting.

The characters were a mixed bag for me- I really loved Tyrus the nephew of the Emperor. His character was the most interesting to me and I would have liked to have read more about him. I loved how he interacted with the main character, Nemesis. I honestly liked her the most when she was interacting with him.

Speaking of Nemesis- I enjoyed her character on a whole but there were times her decision making really aggravated me. I could understand her motives but it didn’t take away from my frustration while reading. I do think she was well developed and her history as a Diabolic was horrifying to read about. I appreciated that Kincaid chose to tell this story from a Diabolic’s perspective but I do wish I could have connected a bit deeper to her.

The side characters were less thrilling to me. Many, like Nemesis’ charge, Sidonia was sadly not all that well developed to me. I never was able to connect to her and at times I feel her storyline was there for the sole point of advancing the plot or being an inconvenience to it.

diabolicig

Final Thoughts:
I found The Diabolic to be an exciting read and well worth the time though I couldn’t connect deeply with the main character. I found the world and story to be well done though and I would read a follow-up if there was one. I’d especially love to read more about Tyrus.

Review of Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano

Perfect RuinPerfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles #1)
By: Lauren DeStefano
Release Date: October 1st 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Purchase:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary (via Goodreads):
On Internment, the floating island in the clouds where 16-year-old Morgan Stockhour lives, getting too close to the edge can lead to madness. Even though Morgan’s older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. She tries her best not to mind that her life is orderly and boring, and if she ever wonders about the ground, and why it is forbidden, she takes solace in best friend Pen and her betrothed, Basil.

Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially when she meets Judas. He is the boy being blamed for the murder — betrothed to the victim — but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart of Internment, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find — or who she will lose.

The Story:
I haven’t read DeStefano’s Wither series so I can’t compare the pacing or story elements. Perfect Ruin had a slow (but not boring) pace that was easy to read. DeStefano took time to build her world and her main character, Morgan. I felt that Internment was beautifully described and I could visualize the buildings, people and feel of life on the floating island and the claustrophobia of spending your entire life in such a small space. I really enjoyed the writing and how the story flowed slowly though there was the underlining feel of intensity.

I was originally drawn to this book because of the cover but after reading about the city/island floating in the clouds I was hooked. I was intrigued with all the questions–why an island in the sky? How were the people chosen to live there? What is below? Why is looking over the edge forbidden? I will say that we aren’t given absolute clarification in Perfect Ruin. DeStefano edges around these answers only giving the reader the information that Morgan knows.

I feel like as the series progresses more of the questions will be addressed but some readers might be disappointed not to know these answers with the first installment. By the end of the book I had a greater understanding of Internment and its people though I left the book still wondering about many things. For me, this was enough. I didn’t feel disappointment at not getting clear cut answers.

The Characters:
I really enjoyed Morgan, her best friend, her brother and sister in law. I felt that all were well fleshed out and had much deeper stories that I hope to see in later books. As a main character, Morgan is typical of a young adult heroine. She is clever, loyal and curious to a fault. I did wonder why she was only seeking answers with the latest mystery and not after her brother’s experience with the edge.

I had the most difficult time really connecting with Basil. I couldn’t find much depth in his character (yet) and never felt real chemistry between him and Morgan. I liked his actions and what he stood for but I never felt anything deeper about him. He felt rather flat to me overall.

On Internment people are betrothed at a young age and are aware of their future mate. I don’t know if it was because Morgan and Basil were already accepting their futures together but I wasn’t really feeling their romance. Pen, Morgan’s best friend, was far more fun and I loved her dialog and her relationship with her betrothed. Honestly, I felt that all the secondary characters had more passionate relationships than Morgan and Basil.

Judas’ story brings about many of the mysteries and questions for Morgan. His character never felt flat to me and I was easily swept away in his life. I did fear that he would become a love interest creating the dreaded love triangle but so far it didn’t go in that direction.

Final Thoughts:
Perfect Ruin was an entertaining and easy read though many questions remained after finishing the book. I feel that the setup for the sequel will lead to a series that improves with each book.

Waiting on Wednesday #11

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we are highly anticipating. This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait to-read” selection is: Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano.

Perfect Ruin (Internment Chronicles, #1)Summary (via Goodreads):
On Internment, the floating island in the clouds where 16-year-old Morgan Stockhour lives, getting too close to the edge can lead to madness. Even though Morgan’s older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. She tries her best not to mind that her life is orderly and boring, and if she ever wonders about the ground, and why it is forbidden, she takes solace in best friend Pen and her betrothed, Basil.

Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially when she meets Judas. He is the boy being blamed for the murder — betrothed to the victim — but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart of Internment, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find — or who she will lose.

Why am I eagerly waiting on Perfect Ruin?
First the obvious…look at that cover! Just beautiful and the title is perfectly intriguing. I need to know why “getting close to the edge can lead to madness.” What lays beyond the edge? What happened to her brother since he was a Jumper? I have so many questions, I am crazy excited to read this hopefully sooner than later.

Look for Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano October 1st 2013 from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Review of Linked by Imogen Howson

LinkedLinked
By: Imogen Howson
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

Electronic copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

My Rating:
star

Summary (via Goodreads):
Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere.

Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes.

Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed.

Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world.

Riveting, thought-provoking and utterly compelling, Linked will make you question what it really means to be human.

The Story:
Howson’s idea behind Linked was very interesting and had a lot of potential to create an exceptional book.  It started off enjoyable and I was excited to be diving into the story. I wanted to know about Elissa’s visions, nightmares and what was causing her physical harm. I wanted to know about her mysterious twin and why some entity was experimenting on her. What was the purpose behind all this? Sadly, after Linked took off it stalled out. The ideas and descriptions (though often too wordy for me and verging on info dump) were present though none of it was able to consistently keep my attention.

A lot of our character’s time was spent on running, running, and then more running. I felt like a few areas could have successfully been cut out and would have moved things along better for me. I found myself skimming over areas and even with the sections of action the pacing felt slow to me. I can’t pinpoint why because the writing was well crafted, the ideas strong. I knew as I read that the author had a very vivid world developed and a story that was well thought out but it never just grabbed hold of me.

The Characters:
The beginning had a lot of characters introduced but most of them weren’t around later in the book so they felt very background. I didn’t get their motivations but I have a feeling that some might make appearances later in other books.

I never connected or related to the main character Elissa in any substantial way. Her relationship with her twin sister was grating at times due to the bickering (though I have a sister so I can’t say that’s not realistic), but it did not make for an interesting read for me.  Elissa’s twin, Lin, was bland and nothing happening caused me to worry about her survival. The worst thing about this entire book was not caring. I never felt invested, not in Elissa and Lin’s relationship or her relationship with her love interest.

Final Thoughts:
Overall, my biggest complaint about Linked was its slow pacing and my lack of interest in any of the characters. I couldn’t even muster the energy to hate any of them. Howson writes well and I would find myself latching onto some of her writing; acknowledging the beauty of her words but it just wasn’t enough to hold my interest. I don’t think I’ll be reading the following books in the series.