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The Alchemaster's Apprentice

(Zamonien #5)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  5,925 ratings  ·  279 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 Harry N. Abrams (first published August 31st 2007)
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Average rating 4.18  · 
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 ·  5,925 ratings  ·  279 reviews

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May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Postponing everything bar work can only mean one thing, another Walter Moers book needs a reading. Nobody does comic fantasy better, and this is something that is cemented again in what is the fourth book set in the Zamonia world.

This series has always been about adventure, as different memorable characters take in the length and breadth of this amazing island continent. However, in this installment, we break the mold in the sickest city in the land, Malaisea. Here resident live in fear of the A
Lydia Presley
Nov 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
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
Sep 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was walking slowly through the Fantasy stacks at my favorite library, caressing the spines of the Walter Moers as I came to them, when I stopped in surprise and nearly fell over myself trying to snatch this book off the shelf before anyone else could. You see, not enough of Moers' books have been translated, in my opinion, and I have been bemoaning that fact since the last of his that I read - SO!! Joy! Joy! This was a bonus I hadn't expected.

And I was not disappointed. I loved the Crat.

Jan 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
4.5 but so deserved. one of my favourites of walter moers' work tbh.
im actually writing my thesis on this one and feel so glad that i did like it and wont have to write 12 pages about a book i cant stand...;)
review coming up soon, im just a bit too busy to keep up with all the reviews i want/have to write.
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An almost-literal feast for fantasy lovers!

Some years back, I read two books by Walter Moers: 'The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear' and 'The City of Dreaming Books' - both of them long and involved books, as I recall, and I enjoyed them immensely. To be honest, my reading tastes don't particularly run towards fantasy but I discovered there's something about the sensibility of Moers' work that appeals to me. He doesn't write for children but he does write for certain adolescents, and he definite
Kate Sherrod
Sep 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Since Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures featured a protagonist that was (essentially) a sentient dog, it feels entirely appropriate that Moers wrote a book that stars (essentially) a sentient cat as well.

Technically, Echo is a Crat, not a cat, which basically means a cat that has the ability to understand and speak languages. But make no mistake: this is the first novel I’ve read where the protagonist was a cat, and it was everything I could have wished for in that respect. This was helped along
Apr 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books
Not really sure how I felt about this.

Towards the end the many turns and new plots were getting kinda exhausting and in general I just wished for a different ending. Also the gigantic theme of love wasn't up my alley.
I did love the world and characters (up to a certain point). In addition I found it refreshing to be 50% into a book and having no idea where it would go.
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 "
Feb 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 31, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Huh I really don't know how to rate this book... it took me ages to finish it and (to be honest) occasionally I wasn't sure if I would make it. Not that I didn't liked it, no it was wonderfully insane and whimsical, but also very lengthy and partially way to detailed- both attributes that make Walter Moers Zamonia books so special and which make me like them so much. However- those things I like in his other books made me struggle with this one. I admit it, after six month of barely making progr ...more
Conor Ryan
Apr 23, 2019 rated it liked it
I love Moers, and really wanted to like this book more than I did. Moers' signature wit and imagination are palpable, but I feel like he gets way too caught up in himself and less concerned with story telling at times. There so many imaginary names and places he throws at the readers, only never to mention them again. Of course inventiveness is one of his defining characteristics as a writer, and is used mostly to his advantage in his works, but is rather excessive in this piece.

This certainly
Apr 25, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was definitely not my favorite Walter Moers novel. I usually enjoy the zaniness of Zambonia but this book was too slow and too creepy (in an unentertaining way).
Erin Britton
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Alchemaster’s Apprentice is chronologically the fifth of Walter Moers’ [or should that be Optimus Yarnspinner’s?] fantastical Zamonia novels although it is only the fourth to be translated into English [there still being no publication date for an English version of Ensel und Krete].

Malaisea, the least healthy place in Zamonia, is a city dominated by the Alchemaster Ghoolion, a sort of wizard-of-all-trades whose main passions in life are alchemy, taxidermy, controlling the Ugglies [Malaisea’
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When I started reading this book I thought it wouldn't be as good as City of Dreaming books. By the end though I ended up falling in love with it. Echo is a charming protagonist and the set up of the novel has a great sense of tension. I have a feeling most other authors would have made the alchemaster an irredeemable villain, but in this books he has a charm of his own. I found myself second guessing if he was completely evil or if he was just a guy in a tight spot. The characters in this book ...more
Mar 08, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Easily one of my favorite books. I read it in one day when I was about 13 years old, I just couldn't put it down. Really entertaining, fun, weird, fantastic, and incredibly charming. The world is just so odd and magical that you can enjoy even the smaller chapters that don't really add to the plot. Like every other book by Walter Moers it's definitely a wild ride, but I highly recommend it.
Angelina Steffort
What a delightfully odd story!!
Nothing less I would expect of Walter Mörs and his Zamonia books. As always you find characters you love to hate and those strange creatures you find yourself compassionate for without warning.
Still, it's not a complete 5 star for me as were The City of Dring Books or Rumo. I give it a sold 4.78947261889 stars ;-)
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-fiction
Another perfect fantasy novel from Walter Moers. I continue to be amazed by this author's imagination and genuine originality. The characters are interesting, the story full of unexpected twists and turns. Although his novel, Captain Bluebear, remains my personal favourite from all of Moers' works, but this is a close second.
Reading this book while wanting to adopt a stray black kitty was a little traumatic! I just wanted to keep echo safe! The descriptions of all the food was lost on me but I still really enjoyed the story and the characters, parts I found quite surprising and shocking, parts quite lovely. Definitely much better than the Labyrinth of Dreaming books.
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Normally I just rate books, but I really want to write a quick review for this book. I typically do not read fantasy books, but I am so glad I read this one. It took a few chapters to peak my interest, but after it got going it was such a fantastic book. The last line was so beautiful I almost shed a tear. Also, the art was so gorgeous!
Jennifer Kuo
May 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I absolutely loved this book! It reminds me of The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, with its beautiful world-building. Walter Moers has such an inventive imagination that it makes me wonder how this book reads in its original language.
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is seriously the goofiest book I've ever read. But I absolutely loved it, even if half of it was ridiculous plot twists and made no sense until it suddenly did.


Loved it.
Brittany Baker
Jan 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Alchemaster's Apprentice: I always love Walter Moers books, and this one was no exception. It was disturbingly dark in a few places, but over all a very fun and engrossing read.
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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.

Other books in the series

Zamonien (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear (Zamonia, #1)
  • Ensel und Krete. Ein Märchen aus Zamonien (Zamonien, #2)
  • Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures (Zamonia, #3)
  • The City of Dreaming Books (Zamonia, #4)
  • Zamonien. Entdeckungsreise durch einen phantastischen Kontinent. Von A wie Anagrom Ataf bis Z wie Zamomin
  • Das Labyrinth der Träumenden Bücher (Zamonien, #6)
  • Prinzessin Insomnia & der alptraumfarbene Nachtmahr (Zamonien, #7)
  • Die Insel der Tausend Leuchttürme (Zamonien, #8)
  • Das Schloss der Träumenden Bücher (Zamonien, #9)
  • Weihnachten auf der Lindwurmfeste

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Bryan Washington, the acclaimed author of 2019’s short story collection Lot, has returned with his debut novel, Memorial. The story follows...
14 likes · 3 comments
“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.” 19 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.” 10 likes
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