Reviewed by Sarina
TITLE: Forgotten Things
SERIES: Men of Magic #1
AUTHOR: Hollis Shiloh
PUBLISHER: Spare Words Press
LENGTH: 144 pages
RELEASE DATE: September 17, 2016
Magic takes a toll. It shortens lives, damages people, and lets magicians be used as weapons in a war.
Jocelyn is one magician who survived that bad time and still works for the magical ministry — or rather, overworks for them. To all appearances, he’s pulled together, competent, and functional. Although he has bad memories and nightmares, he manages. But he would like more from life: to find a man he can love.
A forgotten file tells of several magicians who were put in a mental hospital after the war. Finding no other records on the subject, Jocelyn must take a trip to the sanatorium to sort things out.
One damaged magician is still there after all these years: a handsome, sweet man with missing memories, a shy, gentle nature, and a great love of drawing.
And the moment he meets Ellis, Jocelyn knows: This is him. He’s the one. Can two damaged men help each other heal, survive all dangers, and find true love?
The Men of Magic series is a nice little spinoff from, and set in the same world as, the Steampunk Mystery series. While it isn’t absolutely necessary to have read the books in the Steampunk Mystery series first, there are people mentioned and events that take place during it that are both mentioned and that have some effect on things that are happening in this first book. I myself haven’t completed the previous series just yet so I have missed some things referenced here but it in no way effected my understanding or enjoyment of the this new book.
Jocelyn works for the Ministry and is currently overworked and bordering on exhaustion nearly every day. While trying to deal with an overflow of paperwork, both his and that of others in the office, he comes across a memo detailing a group of mages that had been sent to a mental health institution following the end of the war. This is a serious problem because no one has any information or knowledge of any mages having been sent there in the first place. While trying to figure out what’s really going on, Jocelyn finds and meets Ellis Porter, a mage that has been in the institute for years. Jocelyn feels an instant connection to the other man but both are carrying around scars from the war and Jocelyn isn’t even sure if Ellis feels the same way.
This was a fairly laid back piece of literature; the vast majority of the book revolves around Ellis trying to acclimate himself back into a life outside of a small room with whitewashed walls. A big part of that adjustment has to deal with Ellis regaining parts of himself that were lost, namely memories, that there’s no reasonable explanation for why they’re missing in the first place. With this focus on Ellis, his character was more flushed out than Jocelyn because you were learning all about him and his past as he was rediscovering it for himself. Jocelyn was, however, in the previous series so some of his back story may be found there instead. I enjoyed watching the two men kind of orbit around each other, both wanting to get closer but not sure how exactly to bridge the gap between them.
Aside from the issue of Ellis’ memories, you get to see some of what Jocelyn does on a daily basis for the ministry and you’re also introduced to various issues of racism that Ellis and others deal with just doing something as simple as walking down the street. While Jocelyn himself isn’t racist, it was something of an eye opener for him to see what things are like from Ellis’ point of view just because of the color of his skin.
This was a nice read that dealt with a lot of character development and world set up with a little bit of outside plot. I liked it overall though it was a little bit too easygoing for my tastes at times. If you’ve read and enjoyed the Steampunk Mystery series or if you enjoy easier stories with a bit of slow burn romance, this would be worth checking out.