Customer Reviews for

Johannes Cabal the Necromancer

Average Rating 4.5
( 116 )
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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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