Nemesis is a Diabolic. We begin the story when she is young and purchased by the Impyreans for their daughter, Sidonia (Donia for short). Donia loves Nemesis and treats her as a human being, even though Nemesis does not like the temptation of being anything more than what she is. The empire is ruled by the Domitrians who have always believed that knowledge is the source of unrest and discontent. As such, they do not allow people to learn to read or have any complex schooling. This has led to the disrepair of technology and lack of growth/development of all people. Sidonia's father is someone who believes that people should have knowledge. The Emperor has learned of his treason and sends for Donia to go to the Chrysanthemum, the capitol. The Impyrean Matriarch (Donia's mother) fears that they will take Donia's life as punishment or worse. She devises a plan to send Nemesis to the capitol in Donia's place, posing as her. Donia threatens that if anything happens to Nemesis, she will not live without her.
Nemesis goes to the capitol and realizes that it is full of scorpions, ready to pounce on any weaknesses. She finds allies in Tyrus, the Emperor's crazy nephew and heir, and Neveni, a girl who was sent to the Chrysanthemum for her mother's attempts to add education to the Excesses on her planet. In her time away from Donia, she begins to learn more about her own feelings and motives, discovering that she is not just a violent shell of a human-like being as she had been raised to believe.
It's a really fascinating story and full of political intrigue. Of note, there should be a content warning about mentions of drugged rape of young people at the Chrysanthemum, which Nemesis prevents from happening any more. However, it is still very disturbing, as is the treatment of humans considered lesser (although this is also a part of human history) and people who are crazy for power. It's a captivating book, and I ended up reading it in less than a day, finding it very difficult to stop reading. Nemesis is a strong character and more human than she realizes at first. I am very curious to see if this will be a series and where it would go. Tyrus and Nemesis are clever and interesting characters. I would like to know more about the history of how humanity got to this point, but I assume this was not known by most characters (due to the moratorium on learning) and thus is why it does not appear here. It's really a fantastic addition to the dystopian class.
Please note that I received an ARC from a goodreads giveaway. All opinions are my own.