No Heart for a Thief (Malitu #1), by James L. Dulin - A review by Charles Cavendish

The Book

No Heart for a Thief
Series: Malitu
Pages: 428
Age Group: Adult
Published on 1/24/2023
Publisher: Self-Published
Available on:


We are the stories we tell ourselves...even the lies.

The Thief, a great spirit, and her descendants have abused their ability to steal magic for centuries. When Kaylo starts to hear the song of other people’s magic, he must learn to hide from his people as well as the invaders. A gift or a curse, Kaylo may be able to save his people from the Gousht Empire that claimed their land with this stolen magic.

Eighteen years later, Kaylo still prays to the spirits, but not out of loyalty or love. He knows better than to rely on those selfish bastards for anything. While hiding in the forest from his foolish acts of rebellion, he encounters a girl, Tayen, being pursued by two soldiers of the empire. Against his better judgment, he risks facing the consequences of his past to intervene.

When Tayen attempts to run off seeking vengeance for her family, he offers to train her to wield her magic and a blade. If he can’t convince her to relinquish her need for vengeance and stave off the demons of his past, he’s going to get them both killed.

My Review (5 out of 5 )

James was kind enough to share an ARC copy of his book with me and I’m very glad he did.

Being a debut novel, I had no idea what to expect from No Hear for a Thief, other than it had an amazing cover. It was a remarkable ride from start to finish, James has created an engaging & immersive world that sucks you right in from the start. Both protagonists (Kaylo and Tayen) have gone through extreme trauma and how they respond and deal with that is a central part of the story.

I really enjoyed the world that’s been created as well as the unique magic system that runs through it, not to give away any spoilers but the way the spirits grant differing abilities to the magic users was an interesting approach.

The dual storylines which explore both Kaylo’s past and Taren dealing with her horrific present, worked well.  I often found myself wanting more of each of their stories as the book shifted from one to the other, though that was only fleeting as I would soon be drawn back in again.

The book contains themes of colonialism, ostracizing the indigenous population, and racism that are as relevant as ever. The treatment of the Enneans by the invading Gousht Empire is brutal and unforgiving. And whilst this may make the story sound depressing it is anything but that. These “heavy” themes are delivered in such a way as to engage the reader and pull you deeper into the Enneans struggles to maintain their culture despite their oppression.

James has written a story that I know will resonate with a large and varied audience. Me, as a father, I was really drawn to Kaylo’s attempts to teach/guide Tayen. His concerns on whether he is doing so correctly are one that I really connected with.

By the end of the story, I was desperate to know more of Kaylo’s history as well as what the future holds for both him and Tayen, I suspect the Gousht may have no idea what could be heading their way!

Please do yourself a favour and pick up a copy, you won’t regret it.

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About the reviewer


Hey I’m Charlie!

I’m old enough to have seen the original Star Wars trilogy at the cinema (let's leave it at that). I currently live in Sydney (Australia) with my wife, three teenage children, and two pugs. I have spent about half my life in the UK and the balance in Australia so tend to have a strong English sense of humour.

I’ve always loved books and reading but stumbled into the world of indie authors/self-publishing after making the “brave” leap onto Twitter in 2022. This proved to be a revelation and I have been getting involved in the community ever since, with my main focus being on indie SFF books.

I’m keen to help promote indie authors and so thought I’d try my hand at writing a few reviews, its very much a work in progress!

Outside of reading and the book community, I love running, my pugs, and my family (not in that order).

The Author/s

James L. Dulin

James L. Dulin

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.