Customer Reviews for

Johannes Cabal the Necromancer

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Thank You Sir, May I Have Another?

I found this to be an engaging story with interesting characters. The premise of the book -- Johannes making a deal with the devil to gather 100 souls for him in a year with the help of a demonic traveling carnival in order to get his own soul back -- was what made me ...
I found this to be an engaging story with interesting characters. The premise of the book -- Johannes making a deal with the devil to gather 100 souls for him in a year with the help of a demonic traveling carnival in order to get his own soul back -- was what made me purchase this book. It sounded like an interesting story (even if it has been done before). I found myself chuckling quite a bit throughout the book at the author's intended humor. My main complaint about this book is that I wanted more. More of the back-story of Johannes' original deal with the devil where he gave up his own soul. More of his brother Horst's story and how he came into his own predicament. I would have liked more to the descriptions of the bizarre carnival characters. I guess that's part of why I liked this book; because it kept me wanting more. I would definitely like to see a sequel to this book (especially after the way it ends), but would prefer a PREQUEL first so that I can learn more about what makes Johannes the way he is and why he became a necromancer in the first place. If you purchase this book expecting a "horror" novel per say, you WILL be disappointed. However, I read this book with an open mind and no expectations of blood and guts or of how the story would move along. I was not disappointed. I found myself wrapped up in Johannes' quest for the 100 souls, part of me wanting him to succeed and part of me thinking why should he get his soul back when these other poor suckers are losing theirs because of him? It was strange for me because Johannes is not really a likeable character, yet I still found myself rooting for him to get those souls before time ran out. Guess that doesn't say much for the state of my soul! Overall, I really enjoyed this book.

posted by TWTaz on August 31, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

An amazing concept falls flat as the reader is left wanting more.

When I read the dust jacket description for Johannes Cabal The Necromancer by Jonathan L. Howard, I was instantly intrigued and ordered the book immediately. The concept, a man who bargains with Satan for the return of his soul by managing a circus of the bizarre and s...
When I read the dust jacket description for Johannes Cabal The Necromancer by Jonathan L. Howard, I was instantly intrigued and ordered the book immediately. The concept, a man who bargains with Satan for the return of his soul by managing a circus of the bizarre and supernatural to collect an additional hundred souls, was one of the most unique story ideas I had encountered in a long time. Throw in Cabal's vampire brother, Horst, and one has the making for a grade-A horror novel.

Johannes Cabal, having traded his soul to Satan for the knowledge of necromancy, raising the dead, finds it difficult to conduct his research and analysis without a soul. He travels to hell to request his soul be returned, and Satan offers him the opportunity to earn his soul back. Within one year's time, Cabal must present to Satan an additional one hundred signed contracts for souls collected. To help his efforts, Satan offers Cabal a traveling circus to serve as the vessel by which he can collect his souls.

The novel takes entirely too long to get moving. Certainly nobody would consider settling part of a novel in hell as a minor undertaking. While Howard does an excellent job describing the gates at the entrance to hell, the rest of the setting is left to the reader's imagination. Also, the demonic characters Cabal encounters in hell could have been described in much greater detail. Even Satan himself is left to the reader's own interpretation.

The first few souls collected by Cabal during his carnival's journey are described in unique detail. But the novel quickly jumps almost a year into the future when Cabal has all but two souls remaining. Just how the carnival has helped Cabal to convince these individuals to sign over their souls is left unexplored. The character development is weak, and one finds it very difficult to root for any of the characters in the end. The only truly likeable character is Cabal's vampire brother, Horst, whose role overall is rather small in the entire story.

While definitely worth reading and enjoyable for the odd characterization of some of the carnival folk, Johannes Cabal The Necromancer is a missed opportunity to take a truly unique concept for a story line and fully develop it. The book totals 290 pages. While I would not necessarily remove any of its existing contents, I would much rather have seen an additional two hundred pages of description and story line added to the novel to really complete its development. Perhaps the story would be better suited for a graphic novel where the illustration could have made up for the lack of description.

posted by Richard_Szponder on August 15, 2009

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  • Posted April 6, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Jonathan L. Howard's First Foray into Literature, Who'd Have Known?!

    If you enjoy the writing styles of Fantasy writer, Neil Gaiman ('The Graveyard Book') and the cynical humor of Terry Pratchett ('Good Omens'), you'll enjoy this first novel by Jonathan L. Howard.

    The story is 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' with a Faustian twist. While reading the novel, I pictured a Tim Burton-esque landscape with a variety of dynamic characters and a twist in the plot along the way. The story reads like watching a movie, vivid and engaging, it's a great read.

    Without giving away too much, I could hardly put the book down and was ecstatic to find out a sequel is due this summer!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2010

    Best book I have read in a while!!

    If you are even remotely interested in magic and the occult written in a sarcastic tone. This is the book for you!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2014

    This is the best book I have ever read.

    This is the best book I have ever read.

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  • Posted December 27, 2013

    If there's one thing I love, it's getting the jokes. In 'The Nec

    If there's one thing I love, it's getting the jokes. In 'The Necromancer', the author references everything from Bram Stoker to Hammer Horror to Ray Bradbury...and brilliantly. Johannes Cabal is a bad, bad man who has done and continues to do bad, bad things. But the quality of the writing and the vivacity of the dialog kept me reading into the depths of the night despite my amused distaste for some of the incidents. I will assuredly be seeking out the rest of Johannes' bad behavior and laughing myself to sleep.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2012

    Dark and funny

    A different take on the heros journey, for once there are no heros in this story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2012

    Absolutely loved it. Please continue the series!

    Absolutely loved it. Please continue the series!

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  • Posted October 28, 2011

    Fantastic and Hilarious

    I bought this book to chew it up on vacation, and became enthralled. Borrowing from familiar content (with numerous nods to Lovecraft, for example), this novel gives a comfortable, homey feel to the infernal underworld.

    What I most enjoyed was how Howard develops not Cabal's character per se, but the reader's perception of him. Early on, I felt wary - Cabal is engaging and appealing, but still a pariah and for good reason. By mid-novel, I was in his corner entirely, and rejected the moralizing of his brother. But at the end, when his motivations were laid bare, this was all turned around on me. An excellent read.

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  • Posted March 4, 2011

    Very Surprising!

    This is the first book that I purchased with my new Nook Color. It was a bit of a gamble since I only looked at the cover and the brief overview before buying it. I'm glad I did, this book seriously surprised me. The characters were engaging and the story was truly interesting. Give this a shot, you won't regret it!

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  • Posted September 7, 2010

    Exactly what I've been looking for!

    It's dark, moody, witty and sarcastic. I haven't read anything quite like this, ever. The ups and downs of the characters were hilarious one minute and appalling the next. I found myself simultaneously sympathetic and disturbed by Cabal's actions throughout the book, but in the end I just wanted more.

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  • Posted July 28, 2009

    Wicked and Offbeat

    I was unsure when I started this book as it's not what I normally read but it sucked me right in with its originality and had me laughing out loud. I saw in a review where there may be a sequel. . . Please, please, please

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    Posted August 11, 2010

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