Title: The Jealousy of Jalice (A Disaster of Dokojin #1)
Author: Jesse Nolan Bailey
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Review: I didn’t know anything about The Jealousy of Jalice going into it, but dark fantasy and grey morality is quickly becoming my new favourite thing. The opening of The Jealousy of Jalice was interesting but rather confusing. We are introduced to Annilasia and Delilee who are plotting to kidnap the wife of the Sachem, the ruler from what I can gather, who happens to be Annilasia’s childhood friend and Delilee’s cousin; Jalice. We learn that Annilasia is a tillishu, an assassin/warrior for the Sachem but she and Delilee have been plotting this kidnapping for a while. However, some questions that were immediately raised for me is Delilee is Jalice’s double and hasn’t mentioned anything about this kidnapping to her or even mentioned Annilasia to her as Jalice during the kidnapping says that Annilasia isn’t the person she knew and the same goes for Jalice as she seems to care about the Sachem and doesn’t want to leave the Fortress. Delilee is left in Jalice’s place while Annilasia carts the real one off to places unknown.
As we approach the ¼ mark in the novel, we learn through Jalice and Annilasia that Annilasia believe that the Sachem, Hydrim, is possessed by a Dokojin, a possible demon of sorts which is responsible for the evil spreading across the land. Jalice, however, proves to be a very stubborn characters as she refuses to be believe Annilasia even when she explains that Hydrim has enslaved the Vekuuv, their people under his own tribe, the Ikaul. She also refuses to believe that the Ikaul warriors following them are trying to kill her for some reason but exhausted and worn out she agrees to follow Annilasia to their safe place for the night but she wants to know more about Annilasia’s plan other than she wants to kill the Sachem. However, during these scenes we get some information that might be important later as Annilasia mentions that Jalice took Hydrim somewhere where he was injured and the in the fragments of Jalice’s memories we see this might have been the moment he was possessed by the Dokojin but she doesn’t remember a lot. They spend the night in a bunker which will be safe for them as we see how much Jalice has changed as she no longer follows the ways of her own tribe as she now consumes meat but she also seems to worship her husband and can’t bring herself to say anything bad about him. However, the mention of the Black House makes her afraid, but she doesn’t remember and Annilasia believes there is something blocking her memories, so she pays a visit to an aethertwister called Korcsha. While the magic system in this book is very confusing what I have been able to understand is there are people that can wield aether called aetherwielder, and there are people who can twist the aether like Korcsha and the Sachem. People who manipulate aether can also travel to different realms that seems a bit like astral projection and Annilasia learns she is going to have to travel to the soul realm if she wants to break the blocks on Jalice’s memory but in exchange she has to deliver a book for Korcsha as deals are made by equal trade in this world. Upon return to the bunker, she finds that something has broken inside the bunker and tries to get to Jalice. However, these creatures even scare Annilasia but there is very explanation given on what they are, so I don’t understand the significance of them.
As we cross the ¼ mark in the novel, the story seemed to be good, but I am still very confused about certain aspects including the magic system which I am hoping will be made clearer very soon. I don’t want to talk too much about the rest of the novel because it ventures into major spoiler territory, but I do have some major aspects of the novel as a whole I want to discuss. First things first, there are a lot of elements within the story that aren’t explained fully, and this might be because they are going to be explained in later instalments, like what a Dokojin is, how the magic system works and a few other elements. However, despite these confusing elements, The Jealously of Jalice at its heart is a story about the ugliness that jealousy brings upon the work and the consequences of acting on these emotions and why it should be avoided. The Jealousy of Jalice also combine a few genres and it narrative weaves a delicate plot that focuses more on the characters and how they are feeling rather than action and reactive situations.
The world presented to the reader in The Jealousy of Jalice is unique as I have never read a book quite like this one, but I am not sure how I feel about it. The world crafted within the novel draws on a lot of parallel yet contradictory elements. Take for example, the tribal setting, it seem very primitive at first, but it has a very advanced magic system and technology that opposes this, but they seem to work in harmony for the most part. However, I did find certain terms used within the novel very jarring and had to refer back to other parts of the novel to remember what they meant and the prose in general wasn’t one I enjoyed as it was quite dry. The Jealousy of Jalice for me was a book that had a lot of potential, but it didn’t quite know what it wanted to be. What I mean by this is when we look at other books that are dark fantasy or high fantasy that combine other genres into their narrative like The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, yes the writing is dry, yes there is a lot of info-dumping at the beginning and yes we are introduced to a lot of characters much like The Jealousy of Jalice. However, what WoK does right that Jealousy of Jalice doesn’t is that it presents us with perfectly written action sequences to keep the reader entertained so they don’t get bored. While I enjoyed The Jealousy of Jalice I did find myself becoming a little bored at times and having to push through that for a payoff that wasn’t brilliant but sets up a sequel nicely.
Overall, The Jealousy of Jalice was a decent debut with some great atmospheric work and I will be keeping my eye on the Disaster of Dokojin series. However, there would have to be some re-shifting of the genres, characters, and action sequences for me to genuinely enjoy the second instalment.
Buy it here:
Paperback/Hardcover: amazon.co.uk amazon.com
Kindle Edition: amazon.co.uk amazon.com
I received this review copy from Xpresso Tours
This sounds like a very well written and unique read! Great review! 🙂