My rating: 3 of 5 stars
It’s really funny!!!
This was my first Cabal novel, and I did NOT stop reading it in order to go fetch the earlier books in the series, even when I was ordered to by the author (in no uncertain terms, too!) I’m so sorry, Mr. Howard! (I was snorting out loud with laughter on the subway, though.)
Regardless of the author’s stated wishes, I think the book works just fine as a stand-alone. Plenty of needed information on past events and character development is provided, and I quickly felt like I knew all the characters perfectly well. Although it follows up on prior situations, it’s very much focuses on current action, and it’s mostly a self-contained ‘quest’ tale.
The necromancer Johannes Cabal has come across an ancient tome which has given him clues to the existence of 5 magical thingummies, which, if collected, may reveal a way to revivify his lost love, whose corpse is preserved under his house. He gathers a group to join him, which ends up consisting, in the author’s words, of “something cheerfully devilish, something engagingly vampirical, something stoically witchy, and something peevishly necromantic.”
The adventure will take them not only into alternate realities but into the very depths of hell (where the Satan we know has been replaced by a petty jumped-up bureaucrat with an axe to grind…)
Many thanks to St. Martin’s and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this highly entertaining and humorous tale. (Correct reading order be damned, but I think I may have to loop back and find the others now.) As always, my opinions are solely my own.