Johannes Cabal, the Fear Institute

Johannes Cabal, the Fear Institute

Book - 2012
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Johannes Cabal and his rather inexact powers of necromancy are back once more. This time, his talents are purchased by The Fear Institute as they hunt for the Phobic Animus - the embodiment of fear.

The three Institute members, led by Cabal and his Silver Key, enter the Dreamlands and find themselves pursued by walking trees plagued with giant ticks, stone men that patrol the ruins of their castles, cats that feed on human flesh and phobias which torment and devastate. The intrepid explorers are killed off one by one as they traipse through this obfuscating and frustrating world, where history itself appears to alter. Cabal, annoyed that the quest is becoming increasingly heroic, finds himself alone with the Institute's only remaining survivor, and after a shockingly violent experiment, begins to suspect that not everything is quite as it seems...

Publisher: London : Headline, 2012.
ISBN: 9780755348008
Branch Call Number: HOW
Characteristics: ix, 334 pages :,map ;,20 cm
Alternative Title: Fear Institute


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Mar 17, 2016

A more fantastical setting for another Johannes Cabal adventure. There did not seem to be as much character development in this story as there was in the last book. Anything we think we learn about Cabal is reversed on us.
I haven't read anything from Lovecraft so I did not realize the Dreamlands bit was referencing to him, but I really did enjoy Howard's take on the Dreamlands. It was probably my favorite part about the book.
This story lacked in some places where other Cabal stories have been better and the story didn't really pick up until over halfway through. But there's a ghoulish twist that surprises the reader and by the end I was ready for more.

Nov 27, 2013

The third time is not the charm for the Johannes Cabal series.

I found the first novel to be ... well, novel in its world-creation and thoroughly unlikeable protagonist. The stakes were suitably high (Cabal's eternal soul), the antagonist was nicely malevolent (the Devil), and the story appropriately twisted.

The second book changed things up dramatically, asking the reader to accept the nefarious necromancer - now playing detective - as a sort of hero. Even with lowered stakes and a somewhat more conventional plot, it was an enjoyable read and the character of Cabal was given a bit more depth.

Johannes Cabal and the Fear Institute, however, is disappointing on all fronts. Cabal is inconsistent, the setting - the very Lovecraftian "Dreamlands" - is boring, his companions are non-entities, and the pacing is dull and plodding. I picked this up as a "light read," counting on a couple days of fun with my old friend Johannes, but it was an unpleasant effort to finish the 75% or so of the book I was able get through.

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