Johannes Cabal is the Deadpool-esque anti-hero of Victorian times (Victorian? Steampunk?).
He’s pithy, sarcastic, and in Johannes Cabal the Necromancer, he’s neck-deep in a deal with the devil. Agreeing to trade 100 “innocent” souls in return for his own previously looted soul, Cabal finds himself in charge of a traveling carnival. There are madmen (actually), not-particularly-distressed damsels, suspicious officers of the law, and a young child’s essay. Oh, and a swoon-worthy undead brother.
And just when you think he’s got what he wanted (kind of), there’s a whole thing at the end in the basement and even though he was pretty much an ass the entire novel…your heart just hurts for him. Unbelievable.
Everybody comes to the fair to have a good time in the full expectation of being ripped off at some point. All that was different here was the scale of the loss. (page 72)