The Fear Institute (Johannes Cabal, #3)
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The Fear Institute (Johannes Cabal #3)

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  1,433 ratings  ·  189 reviews
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...more
Paperback, 330 pages
Published February 1st 2012 by Headline (first published June 1st 2011)
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Tina Rath
I start with the admission that I am a Johannes Cabal fan. I follow him on Twitter. If I were not already married and he were not a fictional character I would marry him. He is an anti-hero of the deepest dye, duplicitous, selfish, and anti-social to the point of sociopathy. In this latest account of his adventures he leads an expedition into the Lovecraftian territory of the Dreamlands in pursuit of the Phobic Animus financed and manned by The Fear Institute. All - well practically nothing - is...more
If you are not familiar with the character of Johannes Cabal and the previous works by Jonathan L. Howard, then you will probably enjoy this book more than I did. Howard's main weakness is pace, and although this third book in the Johannes Cabal series is not as bad as the first one in that respect, there's clearly a problem with the way the story unfolds. The introduction is excellent and builds up momentum, only to lose it when the adventurers enter the Dreamlands. Nothing exciting happens for...more
A lot of people seem to enjoy the first book in this series the best, but I find that I'm enjoying them more as the story continues from book to book. While the first book, The Necromancer, was slightly more literary in tone, I find Howard's more playful writing in the second and third books to be more fun.

This installment finds Cabal leading an expedition into the Dreamlands in order to locate and destroy the source of all fear. The author has a lot of fun here, filling the book with Lovecrafti...more
(Repost from )

Necromancers: dark, depressing, drearily-dressed, and contact with said frequently leads to defenestration. Can I stop alliterating now?

So, find one as our protagonist? It's original - and it works. Johannes Cabal is a necromancer, his blend of cold blooded (or as he's politely labelled by an employer, sang froid) pragmatism, love for the scientific method, and a certain measure of magic - or sufficiently advanced technology - having kept hi...more
I searched and searched for a copy of this third entry in the Johannes Cabal series, and actually managed to get my hands on one that cost me only $20. What was up with the 150-pound prices (sorry, no fancy L-thingy on my keyboard) I found on a book that's only been out a year or so?

Anyway, I'm a little disappointed to say that after all the searching and scrounging, this book failed to meet my (admittedly higher-than-usual) expectations. What I loved about the first two was the whole "charming...more
Rarely do I give 5 stars to books. This one was STONKING EXCELLENT. While I came away from Johannes Cabal Book #1 with a resounding "Meh," I am certainly grateful that I carried on through the series, as they have only gotten progressively and almost exponentially better.

The wit is unmatched and shows a true intellectual depth, the writing is clever, the storyworld is expansive and unique, and the plot is like a fine dish with a complexity of delicious flavors. I literally shouted at the book in...more
The Fear Institute, having decided that fear is an impediment to progress, hires Johannes Cabal, necromancer, to lead them through the Dreamlands to destroy the Phobic Animus. Although Cabal has no real interest in the quest, he has his own reasons for helping the Institute and accepts. He warns them that, although he is the world's foremost expert on the Dreamlands, his knowledge is all academic as he has never been there and, since most that have have been artists, poets, drug users, and, wors...more
Miss Banana
I had seen some people complaining that this book wasn't as good as the first two. And then I have to think, were they reading the same book as me?! You wanted full on demon-dealing and Necromancer, you got the Necromancer. You wanted something a little more normal with a hint of mystery, you got the Detective. You wanted the weird, the bizzare, and the sometimes very creepy, you got the Fear Institute. And my god, there were some times when I was reminded that "these are the Dreamlands, enjoy y...more
Tim Hicks
Maybe not a full 5, but it deserves to be rounded up to it.

The first two books in this series were more or less straightforward. Cabal has a task and sets about performing it. We learn what manner of creature he is, and something of his morals and powers.

This book kicks it up a notch, starting out normally, then curving into weirdness as we enter a version of/tribute to Lovecraft's Dreamlands. As Cabal points out, logic doesn't always work there. Odd things happen, and we wonder if there is a...more
Jim Loter
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...more
Maya Panika
Part magic-fantasy, part steam-punk, part surrealist comedy, Johannes Cabal is a fascinating protagonist, a most unusual hero, not in the least bit (or, in fact, in any way) admirable or worthy, lacking almost all redeeming human qualities bar a fast intelligence and a fine, biting, bitchy sarcastic wit, he is a man with ‘several faults, several of which were also capital crimes’.

In many ways, it’s a very visual novel; Jonathan L Howard’s day job as a game-designer is very much to the fore. At t...more
Hikmat Kabir
This definitely is the best outing of Johannes Cabal book till date. The Fear Institute is a highly imaginative, dark and humorous book supplemented by the fact that our sarcastic anti hero is at his most charming behavior in this adventure. The plot sees Johannes' being hired as a tour guide to lead an expedition into the Dreamlands in order to search for the Phobic Animus - the source of all fear. I can't stress on how much the creativity of the writer would blow your mind away at times, somet...more
Fantasy Review Barn

What a strange series the Johannes Cabal saga has become. The first book was a Faustian tale with an evil carnival. It introduced us to the title character, a wholly unlikeable man who in the end outsmarted the Devil himself. It was full of dry, slightly morbid humor, a fast moving plot, and I enjoyed it very much. The second book kept the unlikable title character but put him in a steampunk noir adventure, this time acting as a Sherlock in the story. It was a complete change...more
Bob Phule
It is a tad maddening that I had to order this book from England read it.

I enjoyed the other two books. The first two books followed each other or could be read on there own, since they have no real bearing on each other. Same for Fear.

Each book is unique unto itself and differs in plot and direction. Necromancer has Johannes working to recover his soul from the Devil. Detective has him trying to discover who is trying to kill him. Fear has Johannes playing tour guide for Fear.

Each one is set i...more
Once I'd finished this book, I started looking for more. Google quickly led me to Tumblr, where they talk about this book series in relation to things like "feels" accompanied by a stream of .gifs.

That seems fairly accurate.

While I preferred The Necromancer (Book #1), this still gave me Johannes more-or-less as he was. He's such a flawed character that even his good points (dedication to his task, pragmatism) are flaws too. His pain and misery is a joy to read.

If there are any negative points, i...more
The necromancer Johannes Cabal is approached by three gentlemen from The Fear Institute for help in retrieving something called the Phobic Animus (the source of all fears) from the Dreamlands. Cabal accepts but only because he can then get his hands on the Silver Key which gains one entry to the Dreamlands. He doesn't really care about the Fear Institute and their goals. As ever, Cabal is looking out for number one and to hell with the consequences. This outing has more of a fantasy feel to it a...more
The best of the already pretty fantastic series, this time tipping hats to Lovecraft and classic adventure novels. There's so much packed into this book that it's hard to discuss it with any brevity. It's a worthy addition to the series and makes me long for more more more! Also, fun fact: not currently published in the US because, I guess, US publishers are (EXPLETIVE DELETED). So - and I say this literally - you should write some emails if you want to read this book. You can do what I and othe...more
Suspense Magazine
If you’ve read the two previous Johannes Cabal books, you know that Howard is Lemony Snickett for grown ups.
The premise this time is that Cabal, a necromancer, is approached by a weird trio who say they’re representing the Fear Institute and intend to engage his services. First of all, a necromancer is a person who communicates with the dead by summoning them. Cabal takes great pride in this talent. Secondly, Cabal is very difficult to approach, but these guys manage it. They make Cabal a propo...more
You can view a summary of the book to get a quasi-idea of what this book is about. To handle that myself would be far too difficult a task for this time of night. Ghouls, rat-creatures that control wooden legs, moons on fire, portals to another world ripped through the head of a poet... Honestly, just writing that sentence made me wonder how Howard managed to fit it all into a book.

And I think in that last statement is my main complaint: the imagination is wonderful, but the writer seems to reve...more
This book didn't appeal as much as the previous two novels in the Johannes Cabal series. I found it over-complicated, which in turn meant the plot points were over-explained in the narrative, which obviously affected the pace of the story. Many of the reasons for this became obvious by the end of the story and it would seem that Howard is setting the series up to move forward from here - but it made for a difficult read in places and, for me, a less enjoyable book than the first two.
 Linda (Miss Greedybooks)
must get! I ordered this from (the seller mailed it - untracable & it did not arrive - they refunded my $15.98 with shipping) Now the only one available is for $59.00! Damnit!!!

So EXCITED!!! It will eventually be available - it will be printed in the US & there will be a 4th book!!!YAY!

I love Johannes Cabal! I am sooo ready for the next book.

I recommend this series highly!
As witty and clever as the rest of the Cabal series! And FINALLY a link back to the end of the first novel, which was driving me mad to find out when we were going to get back to this.

*Spoilers ahead*

I like the fact that Howard didn't stick with a "Victorian" (I use the term loosely) or steampunk sort of feel with this one, and in fact headed into a quite Lovecraftian realm with the old gods. I was rather pleased to see that the novel deals primarily with Nyarlathotep (seriously those names) i...more
I was pretty disappointed by this book. After the strength of the original, the last two books just haven't held up, and The Fear Institute even less so than the second book.

I guess I am bored with the attitude of the protagonist, which felt authentic and purposeful in the first novel but now just seems cartoonish. Some "heart" is missing in this book that the first one had, or something. First book had me going, 'hah! this guy is a real prick!' and turning the pages fast. This book had me goin...more
A number of superfluous plot elements and a bewilderingly insistent overdependence upon Lovecraft references send this book into an early tailspin from which it does not recover. The uninventive short story posing as an ending only consummates the crash.
About the series:

Johannes Cabal is shaping out an original series, both for its humour and its changing main plots - first book was a quest, second one was a polar, and now, an exploration of a new world. This sure keeps things interesting!

Ok, now, on to the book:

Let's face it: H.P. Lovecraft was a great author in his genre, and Cthulhu (and his friends) are a major work in the horror genre. But the (not so) recent enthusiasm for the characters from the myth of Chtulhu, whether it be for game t...more
This one seemed like a big of a slog up until the end and then bam: over. Now I feel like I have to read whatever comes next but am a little annoyed with the over all story of this last addition to the series.
Another fun, fast-paced read with Johannes Cabal. While this installment still has dark humour and interesting characters, I wasn't as taken with it as I was with the first two. I think maybe it's because Cabal doesn't seem to change or develop much, and in this one, his nature was even somewhat contradictory. His moral compass seemed to flip flop a lot. He tried to be cold-hearted and seem uncaring of his travel companions, yet he would also try to save them occasionally. Also, at the end we fi...more
For me this is the best Cabal book so far, though not because it is better than the other two but because it builds on their foundations. Jonathan L Howard didn't just write each book independently, there is an underlying narration that really does mean that starting with book number one makes book three, this booj, ten times better.

So, how to write about this book without spoilers? Truth is I can't, either you will read this or you won't. I really do think that if one has the opportunity to at...more
Three stars, but only because I love Johannes and the narration. The plot itself--a send up HP Lovecraft and JRR Tolkien--was abysmal :(
Sigh. No degree of my love for Johannes Cabal himself (which is considerable) could drive me to mark this book as good.
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Do you have to read the first two first? 4 14 Jan 22, 2014 09:28PM  
US Kindle edition? 3 27 Jul 23, 2012 09:07PM  
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Jonathan L Howard is a game designer, scriptwriter, and a veteran of the computer games industry since the early 1990s, with titles such as the 'Broken Sword' series to his credit.

After publishing two short stories featuring Johannes Cabal (Johannes Cabal and the Blustery Day and Exeunt Demon King) in H. P. Lovecraft's Magazine of Horror, Johannes Cabal the Necromancer was published in 2009 as his...more
More about Jonathan L. Howard...
The Necromancer (Johannes Cabal, #1) The Detective (Johannes Cabal, #2) Katya's World (Russalka Chronicles, #1) Johannes Cabal and the Blustery Day Exeunt Demon King

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“No churchmen, I notice. Of course not. What use have they for a world without irrational fear?” 11 likes
“Cats, as any rational person knows, are solitary, opportunistic, ambush predators, much like spiders, but with fewer legs and a better fan club.” 7 likes
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