Johannes Cabal once sold his soul to the devil in return for necromantic knowledge that would propel him towards his goal in the dark arts, only to di..Show More »scover that his soullessness always skews the results of his black scientific experiments. Therefore, he makes a wager with Satan: if he can get 100 people to sign their souls over to the devil within one year, Satan will return Cabal???s soul to him. To ???help??? Cabal, Satan gives him the use of an infernal traveling carnival and a ball of Satanic blood with which to conjure up workers and attractions. The penalty for failure is Cabal???s death and damnation.
Thus begins Jonathan L. Howard???s macabre, humorous, and strangely moving novel Johannes Cabal the Necromancer. Howard???s fresh takes on hellish horror tropes like vampires, ghosts, demons, warlocks, imps, zombies, and Lovecraftian cults, is entertaining. His similes are often funny and original, as when the smoke from the infernal train engine rises up to the sky like the pyres of witches or martyrs. I liked much of the social satire, about, for instance, the insanity of war or men who beat women. Sometimes Howard???s jokes and allusions are a bit too contemporary or cheap, as in revealing that Satan created lawyers or as in having Al Capone misspell ???venereal??? on the form he???s trying to fill in to enter hell. But Cabal is a fascinating anti-hero protagonist, his relationship with his big brother Horst is compelling, and his mysterious reason for being a necromancer is intriguing. And the climax and resolution of the novel are suspenseful and satisfying (though I could have done with a little less of Layla the Latex Lady).
Christopher Cazenove marvelously reads the novel (as he does with The Merry Adventures of Robinhood and Peter Pan), with perfect rhythm and clear enunciation and varied voices for different characters, from Cabal???s stiff, cold, and slightly Germanic accent through Bones??? ingratiating Americanisms and Satan???s infernal humor and silk and rage. Fans of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman ought to enjoy this book.
Do not be deceived by the title--it is actually mostly a detective story. :) Okay, I jest a bit, but after Book 1, I expected I suppose more supernat..Show More »ural twists.. more fantastical stuff. As it was, we were treated to a bit in the beginning and a bit at the end, but most of the book was a steampunk detective story.
Parts of the book were slow, but Howard keeps it going with interesting turns here and there. What's interesting is that while my wife doesn't really appreciate a book along the lines of the first one, I was able to recommend this one to her (she loves detective stories). She's in the midst of it now, just getting to the detective bits.
Anyways, in terms of characters, Cabal is Cabal--the 'bad' guy you've come to know and.. enjoy reading about. I like the mild interweaving of some of the story from the first book; but it's not enough so that you have to read it first (hence my wife can listen w/o doing so).
By far, for me, the most enjoyable part of the book was the last bit. Was it the prologue? I don't remember how it was framed, but it was fun--more Cabal style. That's what I look for in Cabal books.
Sachs is a different reader than the first book, but he manages a close enough continuity in voice that Cabal is still Cabal. He does the various accents quite well; I think I detected some intentional hiding and showing of a mild German accent for Cabal, which was masterful. Very well done; I look forward to more books read by Sachs. I think he is a reader on par with/comparable Guidall and Dale, which I think are masters.
Overall, I did enjoy it and if you like either detective stories or steampunk or antiheroes, you might enjoy it, too.
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..Show More » 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?
This was wonderful I have to say, it's potentially my favorite in the series with all of the humor I've come to love of the series and all of the semi..Show More »-horror. I especially like the way the author ended the story with his notes and epilogues, and it has to be said that the reader (Nicholas Guy Smith) has done an excellent job of bringing the whole varied cast of characters to life.
With great narration and fantastic writing these stories will give your mind quite the chew toy. As a self confessed agresive mental chewer I need so..Show More »mething that is not only palatable but also surpringly durable from start to finish. No matter how much I get I can never get enough of Cabal. The ideas of the writer are always welcome and are usually a novelty. Being bored of the same old hum drum it's refreshing to be able to have my complete attention in these page-turners or should I say ear benders. I didn't like the idea that I may not be getting all of something that's out there seeing these short stories combined to 1 audio book had me happy at one point in time you couldn't find the stories just anywhere. I I'm thankful to have them and enjoyed every minute I also love the narrator.