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Book review: Johannes Cabal the Necromancer 
9th-Apr-2012 01:12 pm
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Jonathan L. Howard's Johannes Cabal the Necromancer, the first in a series, follows the titular dark magician as he makes a deal with the Devil, trying to get out of the fact that he's already sold him his soul. A spin on classic stories of the genre, the novel has to feature an evil travelling carnival, which the titular humourless, vaguely Teutonic character uses to try and collect 100 souls to swap for his own, accompanied by his marginally less evil vampire brother.

It's fun, if rather ramblingly episodic, and creates a good sense of atmosphere. It's a bit neither-one-thing-nor-t'other though. It's got a spoofy tone, which means it doesn't really try to be an out-and-out chiller; but despite a nice sense of the absurd (Hell's first torment being the millennia of bureaucracy and paperwork required to actually get through the door) and its tongue firmly in its cheek, it's a bit low on laughs - a bit like Good Omens if the jokes had been rationed. Still, I got into its world enough that I'll probably check out the sequels at some point.
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