A genetically engineered killing-machine bodyguard must impersonate her charge in a dangerous galactic court.
A Diabolic is specially bred to be the ultimate bodyguard, then bonded with the one person that it will serve. As this results in the ruthless killing of any perceived threats, Diabolics have been banned—retroactively. Sidonia Impyrean, heir to an important seat in the Senate, cares so deeply for her Diabolic, narrator Nemesis, that her family fakes Nemesis’ death. When Sidonia’s heretic father angers the Emperor, Sidonia’s ordered to the Imperial Court. To protect Sidonia from being taken hostage or executed, they send Nemesis to impersonate her. Nemesis must keep her killer instincts in check to maintain the family’s treasonous deception. Expanding her worldview beyond Sidonia—whom she loves unconditionally—Nemesis falls into a world of contrasts: elites versus the masses; religious dogma versus science. While depicting a post-Earth society in which skin and hair color are malleable, the book critiques power and class structures. In a strong emotional storyline, Nemesis faces revelations about whether she has a soul (as Sidonia is convinced) or is just a killing machine, “either a perfectly acceptable Diabolic or an abomination of a human being.” In her internal crisis, she finds unlikely allies—especially a political animal she doesn’t know if she can trust in the face of such complicated intrigues.
Philosophical, twisty, and addictive. (Science fiction. 13 & up)