I have mixed feelings about this book. Howard's sense of humor is similar to that of Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams (two of my favorites), but it was combined with some very dark, and at times disturbing bits that didn't seem to mix right with the lighthearted humor that pervades the narrative. The biggest issue I had with it though, is that it seems to suffer from having too many main characters. I went into the book expecting the story to be about Johannes Cabal, yet it ends up being more about the carnival than about Cabal. The story is told from the points of view of a variety of characters, some of whom only appear in the story for a brief moment. These scenes didn't seem to add much to the story, and I found them to be too much of a distraction from the characters I really wanted to get to know - Cabal and his brother. There is also a side character who is introduced about 2/3rds of the way through the book whose point of view suddenly dominates the story. He becomes almost like a 3rd main character who you come to know almost better than the Cabal brothers, but who seems to have been introduced as an afterthought, or as a tool to get to the end of the plot. This book left me feeling as though I was only watching the story from the outside, not experiencing it the way I wanted to. In general, I think it had potential, but maybe suffered from a bit of "first book syndrome." I plan on reading the next one but will be looking for some significant improvement and hopefully a much deeper understanding of Johannes Cabal.
This tale of a necromancer seeking to reclaim his soul from the devil via the use of a circus of damnation, a vampire, and a bit of guile had a surprising amount of humor and heart. Well worth a listen as the performer was excellent in tone and pacing.
Despite the great reviews, I felt sure I was going to hate this book. Wrong! This story--and its main character--worked for me. It will be one of the first titles I re-listen to when I run out of new material.
Not at all what I expected. Interesting! I liked how it didn't follow any of the typical "rules" set out for any specific troupe of book.
No I don't recall listening to him before. He has a dry slightly borking voice, but he suits the character VERY well.
Loved it. Imaginative, descriptive, and something different. Diverse characters and delicious villains. Loved the dynamic between Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar. Very well done.
The narrator is really excellent, though he does occasionally stumble. He's got a pleasant singing voice (though he doesn't overestimate how pleasant, which is a plus), and good about doing different voices for characters - it's always really easy to tell who's talking. He really sells the book's humor, too, and how he delivers dialogue really spices up several scenes.
I was 100% with Howard until the last hour-ish of the book. I felt like the ending was sort of slapdash, like he had to break characterization to make the end happen like it did. As far as character redemptions go, it was not only half-assed, but supremely unnecessary to the story and character.
That said, the rest of the book makes it worth it, in my opinion. Howard has a side-spliting sense of humor that goes from slap-stick to jokes about mildly obscure artistic movements from the mid 20th century at the drop of a hat, and his similes are to die for. In any case, he was funny enough that I'm planning on continuing the series, lackluster ending or no.