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The Alchemaster's Apprentice (Zamonien #5)

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  2,683 ratings  ·  161 reviews
When Echo the Crat's mistress dies, he is compelled to sign a contract with Ghoolion the Alchemaster. This fateful document gives Ghoolion the right to kill Echo at the next full moon and render his fat, which he hopes to brew into an immortality potion. But Ghoolion has not reckoned with Echo's talent for survival and his vast ability to make new friends.
Hardcover, 372 pages
Published September 3rd 2009 by Overlook Hardcover (first published 2007)
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Lydia Presley
The back of this book has a review by the New York Times Book Review with the words "Cheerfully insane..."

When I started this story I just didn't know if I could get into it. Walter Moers imagination is off the charts - it felt like I was being sat down and told a fairy tale with names being made up left and right. But then.. I was introduced to Anguish Candles.

Not normal candles, mind you - these candles suffer when they burn.. and they inch along..and they moan. And they are never put out of t
Giving this a pre-emptive 5 stars, though I am not done yet. Reviews call this a "children's book for adults," and I don't think that's too far from the truth. What makes it "adult" is not large-scale political troubles or the horrors of the human condition a la The Guy Who Wrote Wicked and Other Stuff I Don't Particularly Care For, but a willingness to go to places the Brothers Grimm might go, and the modern fortitude to make fun of their absurdity.

It's the sort of thing I'd love to read out l
Another entertaining yarn from Walter Moers.

This time, it is interesting to see Moers take his creativity into the realm of cooking. I am a picky eater who doesn't want to try much of anything, but his vivid imagery couldn't help but make me drool a little.

Furthermore, the lead character - a Crat - is a fun, protagonist. You are on his side right from the beginning, but there are moments where Moers wants you to think about why exactly you like this character...should you?

As always, I love whene
Another winner by Walter Moers! This book follows Echo the Crat (a cat that can speak all creature's languages) as he is saved from starvation by the Alchemaster, Ghoolion. Ghoolion's proposal is to treat Echo to the most amazing culinary treats in order to fatten him up to then, well end his life to take his fat.

Not only does Echo find out a lot about Ghoolion and his love(s) but also about the inhabitants of Ghoolion's castle and the secrets of the house itself. His (one-month) life's mission
Kate Sherrod
Every new-to-me Walter Moers book I pick up immediately becomes my new favorite Walter Moers book, and thus one of my favorite books, full stop. This has happened ever since I first stumbled across a somewhat battered copy of Rumo and his Miraculous Adventures several years ago at my local public library and wondered what the hell was going on with that. One is always going on with the mix of over-the-top imaginative fantasy, adorable illustrations, sophisticated plotting and outrageous wordplay ...more
Saskia Marijke Niehorster-Cook
Walter Moers is one of the most imaginative people I have ever read. His novels are full of quests and goals that take the reader along for an unmistakable ride that just does not stop till the book is over, and it is so addicting that you want to go back to the beginning and start all over again.
The Alchemaster is his latest novel, and though this time around we do not get to explore much of the world of Zamonia, the ride is nerve wrecking just the same. The main character in this book is a "
The forth (translated, we've yet to see Hansel und Gretal in english) book in Walter Moers Zamonia sequence. This is different from the previous books as, following just one month in the life of Echo the Crat (exactly like a cat, except it talks) it avoids the pattern of the whimsical, if somewhat dark, travelogue.
After the death of his mistress and on the point of starvation, Echo signs a contract with the evil alchemaster to be fed magnificent meals for a month, before giving his life so that
This was my second Walter Moers book, the first being The City of Dreaming Books. He's the MOST imaginative writer I've come across in a while, and I'll definitely be reading the rest of his books. But not only am I amazed at the creativity of Moers, I'm stunned by the translation into English. (Wish I had the translator's name here, but I don't.) The original German prose is filled with made-up words, and the English translation SOMEHOW manages to retain the author's intended impressions (at le ...more
This book was full of surprises! It's the best kind of story, where you think you know exactly what's going on, and then there's a zig or zag in the road that catches you off guard. I've read 3 of Mr. Moers Zamonia novels now, and it fascinates me how each of the novels has had such a distinctive flavor to it. This book truly had the flair of an undiluted Grimm's fairy tale. It had all the horrific elements that you would want to have in a scary story, and it had a protagonist with an indomitabl ...more
Auch das vierte Buch aus der Zamonien-Serie ist einfach überwältigend. Neben Höhenflügen der Phantasie bietet Moers auch sprachlich einfach Unvergleichbares. Die kulinarisch-alchimistischen Abenteuer Echos, eines Krätzchens (vergleichbar einem Kätzchen, nur kann es sprechen und hat zwei Lebern) im kranksten Ort von Zamonien sind unwiderstehlich. Man fühlt sich nachher jedenfalls, als ob man Erkenntnüsse (vom Baum der Erkenntnuss) gegessen hätte. Oder vielleicht Kaviar vom Tarnkappenstör, die die ...more
Eva-Maria Obermann
Walter Moers ist mir einer der liebsten deutschen Autoren, der mit Zamonien ein magisches Reich erschaffen hat, in dem Blaubären, Lindwürmer, Wolpertinger und andere Sagengestalten leben. Sein Buch Der Schrecksenmeister hat mir ganz besonders Freude gemacht, denn anders als bei Rumo ist hier kein hundeähnliches Tier Held der Geschichte, sondern die Kratze Echo, die sich äußerlich von einer Katze nicht unterscheiden lässt. Doch Echo ist unsagbar intelligent, versteht jede Sprache Zamoniens und le ...more
This is my second Walter Moers book the first being the 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear. I was impressed by this book and enjoyed reading it.

Set in the land of Zamonia Echo the Crat (not a typo, a Crat is a talking cat that can communicate with any living creature it encounters) is starving on the streets when he meets Ghoolion the villainous Alchemaster who rules the town with an iron fist. Ghoolion strikes a deal with the starving crat; he will take Echo in and feed him lavish meals for the n
Cenhner Scott
El libro anterior de amores que leí, "La ciudad de los libros soñadores", estaba realmente muy bueno. Era entretenido, había acción y se notaba que el escritor estaba inspirado y rebosante de imaginación.
Este libro... Lo compré junto con el otro, pero había algo que me decía que no lo leyera. Y ese algo no estaba equivocado.
"El maestro de las burujas" (que en realidad debería ser "el maestre", señal de que las cosas vienen flojas desde el vamos) es un cuento buenísimo que, andá a saber por qué,
This is a must read for all the fantasy fans out there! Walter Moers is a genius. It's magical, it's creepy, it's intelligent, it's funny and it's just fantastic. Read it!

Well, this book is a part of series, but it really doesn't matter where you start because the stories aren't connected. Aside from the fact that it's happening in the same world: Zamonia.

Echo is a crat, which is a very similar being as a cat except that he has two livers and can talk. Crats are also so clever, that they speak
It was marvellous, how Moers metamorphoses Gofid Letterkerl's tale, mixing his favourite Ojahnn Golgo van Fontheweg with Freiherr von Dillchic's "Suppe" and many other literary treasures into his potion. I like the antagonism of the Schrecksenmeister and the Schreckse very much - that's why I don't know at the moment, whether I agree with the alteration of the original end in "Spiegel, das Kätzchen". I would have wished that Eißpin ended that way, not the way Moers chose for him. Despite of this ...more
This is the kind of book I love. As the cover says, it is a "fairy tale for adults" - completely fantastical. But more than that, it is totally unpredictable. I never had an idea where the plot was going. It reminded me of the first time I watched "My Neighbor Totoro" -- I was totally fascinated by the characters and the novel setting, and it didn't follow a predictable plot. It was so refreshing to experience something new.
Just at the very end I felt things got a bit strained, but the other ni
Brett Hoppough
Fantastic. Slow-paced as you discover all the quirks of Malaisea and a few of it's inhabitants. Interesting enough to overlook the sometimes tedious descriptions and lists of things.

I was worried that the ending wouldn't pull through but I ended up completely satisfied.

I loved the characters. There aren't a lot of them in the book, but that just leaves more time to get to know the few it focuses on. That's how I prefer my stories. Why get introduced to a hundred characters you never really care
Renata Hundley
A very inventive and entertaining "fairy tale" story of Echo the Crat, who looks and acts like a cat with a photographic memory, two livers, and the ability to converse in any language - human or otherwise. Left to starve after his mistress dies, Echo makes a deal with the evil Alchemaster of Malaisea, Succubius Ghoolion. In exchange for the finest food, a safe roof over his head, and free rein to watch and learn the Alchemaster's secrets, Echo agrees to let Ghoolion kill him at the next full mo ...more
It is quite funny that I stumbled across this German author here in New Zealand. I loved his Captain Blaubaer stories and we watched it every Sunday.
The book is about a crat which basically is a very clever cat. He can speak any language and can memorize everything. He gets into a contract with an Alchemaster of a city which means he will lose his life soon at the hands of the alchemaster.
The story is nice fairy tale with all a fairy tale has to have. A wizard a sort of a witch, monsters and ta
55 / 100

„Der Schrecksenmeister“ ist leider nur mäßig, da es kein hundertprozentiger Zarmonien-Roman ist. Das Buch lehnt sich stark an ein Märchen von Gottfried Keller an und ist daher auch mit der Gattungsbezeichnung „Märchen“ betitelt – dies merkt man der Geschichte auch an, denn Walter Moers versucht Kellers Schreibstil nachzuahmen, was zu einem seltsamen Wirr-Warr führt.
Vor allem in den ersten beiden Dritteln der Geschichte überwiegen die Märchenelemente: Wir lernen nur wenige Figuren kennen
Melissa Bennett
What a fun book! I enjoyed every ounce of it. It's about a creature called a Crat. Which is very close to being a cat but can speak many languages. They are pretty rare. This particular Crat is named Echo. Echo finds himself in a quandary when his mistress dies and he has no where to go. He wanders the streets of Zamonia starving. When, at the point where he cannot go any further, he meets Ghoolion, the town's Alchemaster. Ghoolion strikes up a deal with Echo... I'll feed you the finest food but ...more
I recently received 'The Alchemaster's Apprentice' as a gift. It's a bit young for me, and unlike the early Harry Potter books, which are enjoyable by adults as well, I found it a bit too heavy on the lessons.

'The Alchemaster's Apprentice' is cute morality tale set in the fictional country of Zamonia, where all manner of imaginary flora and fauna exist. Our hero is a young and starving Crat (an animal that looks like a cat that can speak to any living creature in it's own language) and the barga
"Nobody understands the Leathermice! Not even the Leathermice!" This here is classic Moers. And I love Walter Moers for his unbelievable imagination and completely unique stories. In this particular tale, which takes place in the Zamonian city of Malaisea, a little Crat (very similar to a cat, but can communicate with every species) named Echo makes a desperate deal with the ruling alchemaster, Ghoolion. Malaisea is a miserable place; disease and despair abound. Ghoolion is perfectly content to ...more
This was another BEA grab I made. Really, I need to learn to be much more selective the next time around. Ok, so I thought the cat (which is actually a Crat) was cute. So I snagged it. Do you blame me? Could you resist? Plus it sounded like a really interesting world so I wanted to try it out.

And you know what, it was good. Actually, it was better than that despite how dense in description it was. And I mean really dense. That was why I stopped reading it. Not because I got bored or didn't enjoy
"Der Schrecksenmeister" ist das fünfte der von Walter Moers geschriebenen Zamonien-Romane und bildet meinen persönlichen Einstieg in diese abstrakte, überraschende und wunderbare Welt. Schon die ersten Zeilen zeigen, dass es sich beim "Schrecksenmeister" um ein eine Art literarisches Überraschungsei handelt: Als Leser weiß man nie, womit der Autor einen in der nächsten Zeile verblüffen wird.

Wir lernen Echo kennen, ein halb verhungertes Hauskrätzchen, das von den Bewohnern der Stadt keinerlei Unt
Emily Ward
This is the second book I’ve read my Moers. I picked up The City of Dreaming Books after seeing the awesome cover and liked it so much I found this one!

In this book, an animal called a Crat (which is very much like a cat except for it can speak every language possible) lives in a city called Malasia, where disease is a part of everyday life. This Crat, Echo, finds himself homeless and starving in the beginning of the book. He’s forced to make a deal with Malasia’s dangerous Alchemaster Ghoolion
Angela Oliver
One cannot help but love the demented imagination of German author, Walter Moers. This book is a delicious delight. It is the story of Echo - the last Crat in Malaisea (the city where everyone is ill). What is a Crat? Well, it's a lot like a cat except that he can talk and has two livers. Echo's kind mistress has died and he is now alone in the world - and slowly starving and freezing to death. When the fearful Alchemaster, Ghoolian, discovers him, he has not the strength to run away but instead ...more
Angela Visalli
"Malfrosto venne sempre più vicino, si fermò infine davanti al cratto, si chinò su di lui e l'osservò, a lungo e spietatamente. Il vento gli faceva fremere l'ossuto collare e gli occhi scintillarono di scoperta e maligna soddisfazione di fronte alle evidenti sofferenze d'una creatura in procinto di tirare il calzino. Il puzzo di ammoniaca e etere, di zolfo e petrolio, di acido prussico e essenza cadaverica penetrò come un fascio d'aghi affilati nel sensibile nasino di Eco, ma lui non si spostò d ...more
J.E. Rogers
Lorri and I have read other books by this author and really love his way out imagination ( and I do mean WAY OUT). It's like nothing you've ever read before and very hard to describe - like a Dr. Seuss gone wild. Walter Moers must be experienced in order to truly understand what I'm trying to convey.

Finished the book today. What a wonderfully delicious and imaginative read - truly enjoyed every minute. I highly recommend it to anyone who would like to read something out of the ordinary. Short sy
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Theresa L. Stowell for

Echo is a unique creature; on the surface, he seems to be a talking cat. But, there's more to him than just the ability to talk. Echo can feel, think, plot, and, best of all, survive. When his mistress dies, leaving him starving in the cold, the alchemist-in-chief of Malaisea takes Echo in on one condition. Unfortunately for Echo, that condition means he will die. Ghoolian, the Alchemaster, is too self-involved to notice, however, that Echo is n
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Walter Moers was born in 1957 and is a writer, cartoonist, painter and sculptor. He has refused to be photographed ever since his comic strips The Little Asshole and Adolf were published, the latter leading him to be declared persona non grata by the political right in Germany. Walter Moers lives in Hamburg.
More about Walter Moers...
The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear (Zamonia, #1) The City of Dreaming Books (Zamonia, #4) Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures (Zamonia, #3) Ensel und Krete. Ein Märchen aus Zamonien (Zamonien, #2) Das Labyrinth der Träumenden Bücher (Zamonien, #6)

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“Picture to yourself the most beautiful girl imaginable! She was so beautiful that there would be no point, in view of my meagre talent for storytelling, in even trying to put her beauty into words. That would far exceed my capabilities, so I'll refrain from mentioning whether she was a blonde or a brunette or a redhead, or whether her hair was long or short or curly or smooth as silk. I shall also refrain from the usual comparisons where her complexion was concerned, for instance milk, velvet, satin, peaches and cream, honey or ivory, Instead, I shall leave it entirely up to your imagination to fill in this blank with your own ideal of feminine beauty.” 17 likes
“This is wine," Ghoolion said solemnly. "Wine is drinkable sunlight. It's the most glorious summer's day imaginable, captured in a bottle. Wine can be a melody in a cut-glass goblet, but it can also be a cacophony in a dirty tumbler, or a rainy autumn night, or a funeral march that scorches your tongue.” 8 likes
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