The third novel in the acclaimed cult-favorite series starring necromancer Johannes Cabal.
Johannes Cabal and his rather inexact powers of necromancy are back once more. This time, his talents are purchased by the Fear Institute as they hunt for the phobic animus - the embodiment of fear. The three institute members, led by Cabal and his silver key, enter the Dreamlands and find themselves pursued by walking trees plagued with giant ticks, stone men that patrol the ruins of their castles, cats that feed on human flesh, and phobias that torment and devastate. The intrepid explorers are killed off one by one as they traipse through this obfuscating and frustrating world, where history itself appears to alter. Cabal, annoyed that the quest is becoming increasingly heroic, finds himself alone with the institute's only remaining survivor, and after a shockingly violent experiment, begins to suspect that not everything is quite as it seems.
©2011 Jonathan L. Howard (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc., and Skyboat Media, Inc.
I loved the first book in this series 'Johannes Cabal the Necromancer'. But the other two books have been such a departure in writing style. I truly think the author may have hung up his laurels after the first book and allowed ghost writers to helm the following two (which includes this one).
If not, that something else is amiss. Maybe he has a co-author, or gifted editor for the first book. Maybe the first one was just inspired, and he hasn't got the fire back. Who can say?
In any event, I'd recommend giving this a pass.
Johannes Cabal is one of my all time favorite series, the first and fourth novel are two of my favorite books, ever. This is not the best of the Johannes Cabal series, it suffers from the fact that Cabal does not have a well-suited companion to play off of. Nevertheless, it also contains a chapter that absolutes shatters me; and an ending that made the wait for the fourth book nearly unbearable to wait for me. It is also well written, creative, and entertaining. You also must read this to get to the fourth book. It is worthwhile to read, but personally, I find it a weaker entry in the series.
How could an adventure novel be this boring? The other books in the series are fun: biting, quick paced. This seems to drag. Like the dream world Cabal and his companions explore, time distorts and warps. That's not a good thing.
This entry into the Cabal saga is not as comedic as the others, but the story is good. Fans of Lovecraft will really enjoy this one. There are some really great concepts in this one; it's a little more cerebral than past Cabal stories.
Fear Institute is definitely a departure from the previous two in the series in terms of tone and setting. It felt like Howard was trying something new (and Lovecraftian) that didn't always fit. There were times where Cabal felt slightly out of character, or that the analogies used for humor dragged on for too long to really be funny. However, it really picks up toward the second half, and imo the ending alone makes it fully worth reading!
Performance wise, Nicolas Guy Smith's iteration of Cabal was missing his German accent, which was a little disappointing after the first two books' audio renditions. But I got used to it after a while, and everything else was spot on.
So he went full Lovecraft on this one. It's good, but expect what you are gonna get. Having Lovecraft open as you listen might help. But don't worry - it's worth it.
Report Inappropriate Content