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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 that 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.
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By Ashley McCammon on 02-25-16
slow at first, but well worth it
Fear Institute is definitely a departure from the previous two in the series in terms of tone and setting. It felt like Howard was trying something new (and Lovecraftian) that didn't always fit. There were times where Cabal felt slightly out of character, or that the analogies used for humor dragged on for too long to really be funny. However, it really picks up toward the second half, and imo the ending alone makes it fully worth reading!
Performance wise, Nicolas Guy Smith's iteration of Cabal was missing his German accent, which was a little disappointing after the first two books' audio renditions. But I got used to it after a while, and everything else was spot on.
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