I had every intention of setting this up to publish last night, however I got distracted packing for a work trip and then driving on said work trip. Nevertheless, happy to present my stop on the Escapist Tour for No Safe Haven by James Lloyd Dulin and on release day at that!
Anger will not be quenched by blood alone.
The Missing, a rebel army that is little more than a rumor, may be Kaylo’s only path to exact his vengeance against the empire that claimed his home and killed his family. If it means a chance to balance the blood he owes, he will steal spirits and become the Missing’s tool, as long as they aim him in the right direction.
Eighteen years later, a war is raging between factions for control of Ennea. With Tayen, Kaylo, and Nix caught in the middle of a power struggle—Kaylo will have to find a way to fulfill the promise he made to Tayen, Nix must face the consequences of her betrayal, and Tayen will have to choose between vengeance and her spirit. When blood is owed, virtues will be challenged.
Thank-you to the author for the advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review and to Escapist Tours for hosting this tour. No Heart for a Thief is one of my favorite reads of 2023 so I was delighted to continue on with Kaylo’s story.
I’ll be honest, I struggle to write reviews for sequels and often won’t, I am spoiler-sensitive, I won’t watch trailers for tv/movies, and I often won’t read the blurb of a book until I’m done reading it. I typically view reviews of sequels as inherently spoilery because I’ve now revealed who lives/dies after book one and then stakes don’t seem as real and so on. For everyone’s sake, let’s assume you’ve read No Heart for a Thief and know where we’ve left off and so I am safe to spoil who lives/dies. If you haven’t read book one, I highly recommend closing this review (don’t worry, I forgive you) and picking up No Heart for a Thief instead.
No Safe Haven continues to follow two main characters: Kaylo and Tayen. Kaylo is a man who has lived a lot of life and who has experienced misery like no other. He’s been called many things: the Hero of Annilace, Ennea’s Thief, a Malitu, a Spirit Thief. Ultimately, he’s been shunned by his own people, destined to walk a solitary path. Kaylo’s story unfolds across two timelines, the Past and the Current and this is masterfully done. I felt more connected to both timelines in No Safe Haven, some pieces slide together and we’re able to start to see how the Past has impacted how Kaylo acts in the Current timeline. I think a big part of this is the appearance of a secondary character, Wal. Wal is a leader figure within a group of rebels opposing the occupation of Ennea through covert warfare. Kaylo and Wal had traveled together earlier in life and were friends. We see that relationship through a young Kaylo to then how he and Wal interact in the Current. Each time we flashed back to the Past timeline, we were gaining more information and context and that shifted how the Current characters were perceived.
For me, James Lloyd Dulin weaves themes into a story in such a way that you come away from every chapter thinking about something and this is such an incredible strength. No Safe Haven continued to have a theme of colonization and the harsh realities of that from the view of those oppressed, anger and how to manage that emotion, and balance. Kaylo really grapples with reframing the Thief into the Balance and what that means for his role in the conflict. Tayen struggles with grief and anger throughout and how to manage those emotions. Overarching, Ennea is still a country and a people under occupation and all the brutalities that go along with that.
I can already tell that the Malitu series is one that you’ll be able to return to time and time again and get something different from it. From the intriguing plot, unique twist on an elemental magic system, to the well-developed characters this is a book you need to pick up, especially if you’ve already read No Heart for a Thief (which you should have, if you’re still here). Be sure to check out the remainder of posts in the tour!
About the Author
James is a nerd with a head full of stories and limited time to put them on the page.
He grew up in Grand Rapids, MI, spending an excessive amount of time at a local community theater where he developed his affinity for storytelling. This affinity grew into a deep admiration for language and spoken word poetry while studying mathematics and education at the University of Michigan. A few hundred mediocre poems and lackluster performances later, he decided his dream of writing a novel
might not be as ridiculous as he once thought. He firmly believes that art—even silly books about magic, or maybe especially silly books about magic—has the ability to tell stories that sink beneath the surface.