My Rating: 4-1/2 of 5 Stars
Because I have so little time to read right now, I’m digging back through books I’ve read over the last year or so, and haven’t yet reviewed. This one popped up in my Unreviewed Books folder, and I decided it would be a quick, easy one for today. It’s good. Read it.
What, you want more? Okay, you asked for it.
A charmingly gothic, fiendishly funny Faustian tale about a brilliant scientist who makes a deal with the Devil, twice.
Johannes Cabal sold his soul years ago in order to learn the laws of necromancy. Now he wants it back. Amused and slightly bored, Satan proposes a little wager: Johannes has to persuade one hundred people to sign over their souls or he will be damned forever. This time for real. Accepting the bargain, Jonathan is given one calendar year and a traveling carnival to complete his task. With little time to waste, Johannes raises a motley crew from the dead and enlists his brother, Horst, a charismatic vampire, to help him run his nefarious road show, resulting in mayhem at every turn.
Fiendishly funny, yes. Gothic, sort of. Charming? Not so much. Disturbing? Check. Weird? Check. Relentless? Double checks, with stars beside them. But Charming? Nope. Didn’t see that at all. Instead, I would describe Cabal as entertaining and thought-provoking, and frighteningly capable of pursuing his unknown goal with a vengeance.
There are many things in this book to make you laugh. Deliciously clever one-liners, coupled with Cabal’s falling apart (Literally, believe me!) companions, make for laugh out loud moments galore. But make no mistake. This book is dark. There’s an undercurrent of horror running through it, and you are never quite sure where the tale is headed. If this type of thing intrigues you as much as it does me, you probably should give Johannes Cabal a go. Getting to the end and finding out what’s really driving his actions is like being on one of the truly terrifying rides in his traveling carnival. My only serious complaint with the book is the loss of a character that really touched me, and I doubt Johannes Cabal will be able to bring him back from the dead, no matter how skilled he is at necromancy. That’s the reason I dropped half a star. I always hate losing characters I like.
If you are looking for something very, VERY different, I highly recommend you check this one out. If you enjoy it, there are several more books in the series, always a good thing to know.