Review of ‘The Empress’

The second novel in the Diabolic trilogy, The Empress, follows Nemesis and Tyrus as they navigate the royal court and the trials of their relationship.

Compelling Science Fiction

The Empress

The Empress
S.J. Kincaid
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

I think my favorite part of the novel was the science fiction aspect. Kincaid did a great job with her world-building and her science fiction. The story follows Nemesis, a Diabolic who was supposedly destroyed at the beginning of the previous novel. However, the family she served faked her death to keep her as her daughters’ protector, an event that spearheaded her arrival at the King’s Court in Sidonia’s place.

Since then, Nemesis’s identity has been discovered. However, despite what everyone thought was possible about Diabolic’s, she fell in love with Tyrus and he with her. Together, they seek to change the galaxy.

Everyone believes Diabolic’s are abominations, and how Nemesis is to be their empress against all odds. However, the journey they take, the way the story progresses is so interesting. The detail about the event horizon, the fact that the man who started the religion that now governs the galaxy and makes science illegal is still alive living within this one spot in space inside the event horizon where minutes there are years and centuries outside was incredible.

A significant bit of science fiction created excellent tension for the story and the characters. Every time the characters got stuck in the temporal anomaly, it raised the stakes. And I loved that. That bit of storytelling was so compelling; it was terrific.

Excellent Tension

Because of that little bit of tension due to the loss of time, The Empress is driven forward amazingly. It catches the reader off guard, and it just makes the reader think, “man, how are they going to get out of this mess.”

It is a compelling journey that reflects these characters and everything they are going through. As a Diabolic, Nemesis’s desire stems from one thing: protect a loved one at all costs. This puts a strain on the relationship between Tyrus and Nemesis because while her actions come from her heart, she cannot see the damage they do in the long term.

Nemesis believes her life is based on her love of others and her need to keep those she cares about alive and safe. Sometimes you just want to jump into the book and shake her to see reason, but you love her because that was how she was designed, and despite her current evolution, some things will take longer to change in her design.

However, the tension between the characters and the loss of time within the event horizon is detrimental. It changes so much while keeping the whole narrative evolving and moving forward.

Final Thoughts

The Empress was such a fantastic novel. It was amazing to see how the story evolved, taking twists and turns that were unpredictable. I love unpredictability in a story because it keeps me on edge. Given the rising tension between the characters and the plot, it had me glued to the story from beginning to the jaw-dropping ending.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Product Details:

Pub Date: October 31, 2017Page Count: 384ppAge Range: 14 & Over
ISBN: 978-1-5344-0992-7Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young ReadersList Price: $17.99

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The Empress


Writing Quality


Character Development


"Couldn't Put It Down"-ness


Intellectual Depth




  • Amazing tension.
  • Unpredictable.
  • Great use of sci-fi.

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