Sunday, March 10, 2013

Rosy's scrawled book recommendation: Johannes Cabal The Necromancer by Jonathan L Howard

Johannes Cabal The Necromancer
Jonathan L Howard

Johannes Cabal, a brilliant but reclusive scientist, has never pretended to be a hero. There is after all little heroic about robbing graves, being chased by torch-bearing mobs and selling your soul to the devil. All routine inconveniences, however, when your business is raising the dead.
But now Cabal wants his soul back and he descends to Hell to retrieve it. Satan, incredibly bored and hungry for a challenge, proposed a little wager: Johannes has one year to persuade one hundred people to sign over their souls or he will lose his own forever.
With little time to lose, Cabal raises a crew from the dead and enlists his vampire brother to help out. One the road, Cabal wields weird science and black magic with the moral conscience of anthrax, but are his tricks good enough to beat the Devil at his own game?



Rosy's scrawlings on Johannes Cabal The Necromancer
I picked up this book mainly for the awesome cover and curiosity as to how the story would be laid out, given that there are a 100 souls for Johannes to collect. It didn't at all hurt that this was a black comedy and there was likely to be a version of Satan in the story. The inclusion of the satanic usually makes for a good story as no one can resist writing in much chaos. And that's just what I found within Johannes Cabal The Necromancer.
Johannes Cabal is a man with a mission, one rarely in line with what he proclaims to be doing. He's a bit of a gentleman, a bit of a scumbag, a cutthroat and a pedantic. For the most part he's likeable enough, as long as he's at a distance, but there are times when you question whether he's the one you should be hoping comes out on top. He certainly isn't your average hero or even anti-hero as he can be both or neither, depending on what he needs to do. By his side, as he goes about collecting souls, is his undead brother who just happens to be more of a do-gooder than Johannes  This too is mostly unexpected behaviour from a vampire but you must keep in mind that Johannes is a necromancer, even if he doesn't tend to hang about in graveyards raising armies of the dead - as he puts it. There are a couple of other characters who reveal just how warped Johannes' personality is but for the most part Johannes is surrounded by the satanic and the dead, the types that tend to make anyone look good.
The book is nicely paced, full of gentlemanly and dastardly behaviour and a variety of perspectives. There's a few perspectives included that aren't Johannes' or his brother's, including some of Johannes' victims and potential victims and even Satan. This breaks up Johannes' obsession with his mission and shows a little more of the impact of his actions. The writing is also smooth and includes the occasional flourish one might expect when the story is from a smart, straight forward and somewhat sadistic man's perspective. In all, Johannes Cabal The Necromancer is a grand railway carnival adventure that spans life and death and life again.

I'd recommend this book to: those interested in morbid fantasy stories, black comedies as well as stories involving versions of Satan and the demonic.

No comments:

Post a Comment