With Malice by Eileen Cook & The Diabolic by S.J.Kincaid

*These reviews may contain spoilers, although I do try to avoid them, sometimes they are essential to an explanation*

with-malice_hresPublisher: HMH Books For Young Readers, June 7th 2016

Edition: Ebook, 320 pages

Goodreads Link

Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron’s senior trip to Italy was supposed to be the adventure of a lifetime. And then the accident happened. Waking up in a hospital room, her leg in a cast, stitches in her face, and a big blank canvas where the last 6 weeks should be, Jill comes to discover she was involved in a fatal accident in her travels abroad. She was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…wasn’t an accident. Wondering not just what happened but what she did, Jill tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.

With Malice is a contemporary novel with a mystery that keeps you guessing as you flip-flop between believing the main protagonist and believing the evidence. The unknown keeps you trapped in the hospital with Jill as you strive to discover the truth. Initially, the revelations as to what happened in Italy release sparsely as the novel focuses on Jill’s recovery and self exploration amongst the media attention and aftermath of an event she can’t remember. And, although the writing is nothing original, it conveyed Jill’s inner struggle as she questions what she knows best in the world – herself.

Throughout the novel you are presented lighter moments through Jill’s rehab roommate, Anna. Despite the fact that I didn’t not like any of the characters, for the most part they all lacked depth. They were believable, realistic, but you never get the impression that Jill is connected to them. Jill’s Mother and Father seem to fall in to stereotypes: kind loving Mother, business oriented father. Their relationship is well constructed in the sense that you understand their history together and the resulting relationship we see throughout the novel, the emotional connection never quite reaches you.

One aspect to note is that of the narrative structure. Some chapters are separated by external source – police interviews and online forum discussions – which allow to not only learn more about the events prior to the novel, but also offer a respite from Jill’s internal monologue. As the reader, you discover the events leading up to the accident, before Jill does. And while there are some details we never witness Jill discover, there are others that we discover alongside Jill – this essentially allows the reader to create their own interpretation of events as, due to Jill’s memory loss, we primarily watch the novel through a not too reliable source.

Cook does an excellent job is making you doubt the main protagonist – especially with the thrilling conclusion to the novel.

Rating: 3.5/5

downloadPublisher: Simon & Schuster, November 1st 2016

Edition: Hardcover, 416 pages

Goodreads Link

Synopsis: 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. Nothing else. For Nemesis, that person is Sidonia, heir to the galactic Senate. The two grew up side by side, and there’s no one
Nemesis wouldn’t kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the Imperial Court as a hostage, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her.

Kincaid masterfully creates a multi-layered narrative that focuses on the core argument of faith vs science, in a futuristic period where faith reigns superior. You follow Nemesis, a Diabolic who believes that she cannot be human; and throughout the novel this struggle is presented through her dialogue with other characters – namely Sidonia – and her internal monologue.

I found I could relate to Nemesis’ struggle in many ways, which engaged me within the narrative as you build this desire to witness Nemesis’ success. This book brought me to tears multiple times, with scenes that displayed such raw emotions between certain characters. Kincaid thoroughly develops each character within the narrative, ensuring that they are all believable.

The story takes place in space, within a vastly more advanced civilisation. However, many of the themes explored mimic issues and conversational matters of today’s society. Kincaid considers class divides, rape culture, political incompetence, and the rights of those seen as lesser. Despite the stories context, the themes discussed are a commentary on today, and the possible future ideals that may occur if the problem is not corrected.

Rating: 5/5

What did you think of these books? Share your opinion down below!


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