Never for the faint of heart, the newest adventure in the necromancer’s vivid life is a dizzying tour of Dreamlands and beyond. Johannes Cabal (our fearless necromancer) is hired by the Fear Institute to help them traverse the mysteries of the other alternate planes in order to track down the Phobic Animus (fear) and defeat it once and for all).

This amusingly absurd wandering is reminiscent of the first book in that there are far more opportunities for Cabal to be frustrated in a metaphysical world than the real one. There are jumps in time, geographical anomalies, strange cats and a general disdain for the laws of physics. What I mean is, there is no disappointments in Jonathan L. Howard’s fantastical storytelling abilities.

The previous volume allowed us a glimpse at Cabal’s past heartbreak and slow acquisition of compassion (against his will, of course). Here we get many more hints about just how far Cabal is willing to go in order to restore his love to the land of the living. We’ve had little pieces of the puzzle that is the necromancer’s past, but more and more we see that even if he portrays himself as a heartless fiend all of his motives point toward a man with a big (but oft misguided) heart.

Though Cabal himself is generally not phased by the (often) hilarious events around him, readers will find themselves laughing out loud on public transit systems and unable to explain just why, exactly, zebras are suddenly the funniest thing in existence. The last chapters are the best and most frantic, but once you come to the conclusion you are both baffled that you somehow didn’t see it coming and pleased that it ended so well.

As always, I look forward to the next crazed adventure. My predictions: another nefarious adventure with the undead (or soon to be deceased), more mechanical masterpieces and another step toward his ultimate goal. It should be interesting to see how he feels about his past actions when he eventually reaches his goal (if ever that does happen). Is damning himself for all eternity many times over worth reviving his lady love?

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