Saturday, September 3, 2011

Johannes Cabal the Necromancer

Johannes Cabal the Necromancer
Jonathan L. Howard

Johannes Cabal sold his soul years ago in exchange for the power of necromancy.  Unfortunately, now he needs it back, so naturally he travels to Hell to see Satan.  Satan's not inclined to make any gifts, but he does agree to a wager: Cabal will collect one hundred souls in one year in exchange for the return of his own.  To that end, Cabal runs a carnival staffed with the dregs of Hell with his brother Horst (a vampire).  Mayhem and sarcasm abound in this novel, as the elitist Cabal interacts with and tricks his patrons.

Although it took me a while to get into this book, I quite enjoyed it by the end.  Cabal's total disregard for and frustration with everyone he interacted with was entertaining, and Howard managed to give him a certain depth even without a soul.  I was somewhat disappointed that none of the larger mysteries (read: why Cabal gave his soul to become a necromancer in the first place) were answered by the end of the novel, so I suppose I'll have to find the sequel, though that's not really something I regret.  Howard's style is somewhat reminiscent of Douglas Adams's in its absurdity, although the story is rather darker than The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.  All in all, a good read.

Plot: 4 cupcakes
Characters: 4 cupcakes
Style: 4 cupcakes
Overall: 4 cupcakes

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