Wait. WAIT. So, Volcanion and this new Pokemon Magiana are in the same movie. Volcanion is the STEAM Pokemon, and Magiana has GEARS on its body. Aw, yeah! They’re going for Steampunk-themed Pokemon! SO THAT MUST MEAAAAN…
*Opens up Google*
19th Century British Victorian era! That must be what the next region is based on!
IS THAT WHY THERE WAS A DETECTIVE PIKACHU GAME!???
Genre:fiction, fantasy, steampunk Setting: Mirkarvia, Senza, who the fuck knows # of Pages: 288 Rating: 5/5 this series is the fucking best
The skinny: A necromancer with his own twisted moral code solves a murder mystery while trapped on a giant blimp. I shit you not.
The fat: The first book in the Cabal series, The Necromancer is far and away my favorite book I’ve read this year. It’s weird and wonderful and wickedly funny. Howard has created a fascinating character in the person of Johannes Cabal–a necromancer with big ideas, no scruples, and everything to lose. In the first book, he makes a deal with the devil. In the second, he unravels a locked-room mystery confined to a floating hotel while disguised as a government official. It’s one part fantasy, one part horror, one part steampunk, one part something entirely its own.
Howard’s world is a curious one–at times you can’t figure out where you are. England? Germany? Made-up countries that are not so subtly based on real countries? What the hell is the time period? Nobody knows, but oddly enough, it doesn’t really matter. Howard sashays through this puzzling fantasyland with such authoritative aplomb that there isn’t much for the reader to do but shrug and say, “Tallyho.” Even more engaging than the world is the cast of characters who inhabit it. Cabal is the most intricately rendered anti-hero to make his debut for some time, but besides our endearingly amoral lead, we meet (in the first installment) Cabal’s undead brother Horst, a few of Cabal’s zombified cronies, and the Devil himself. In the second, we meet the sadistic Count Marechal, a trained assassin, a bar snacks salesman, a hotheaded revolutionary, and the other peculiar passengers of the airship Princess Hortense. This time it’s a diabolical mystery instead of a Faustian carnival, but it definitely doesn’t disappoint.
Howard’s undoubtedly got an imagination, but that’s only one part of the equation–he’s also got the linguistic finesse of a true storyteller. His prose is sharp and witty and surprising, and it would be difficult to get through any of Johannes Cabal’s absurd adventures (so matter-of-factly carried out that they hardly seem absurd at all) without laughing out loud. A favorite example:
“It didn’t really matter if Cacon was a phenomenally boring man or some variety of secret agent pretending to be a phenomenally boring man. The overall effect was still that of being talked at by a phenomenally boring man. Cabal found that he was phenomenally bored by him.”
I can’t say enough good things about this series. I can’t wait to get my hands on The Fear Institute and The Brothers Cabal and will be keeping a sharp eye out for Howard’s future endeavors. Not to be missed.