Thursday, November 5, 2009

Review: The Alchemaster's Apprentice

I requested The Alchmaster's Apprentice by Walter Moers from the publisher not knowing a thing about Moers or his Zamonia books. I just liked the cover, to be honest. I still do.
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.
I think I spent the first third of this book trying to decide if it was a kid's book or not. It's got a talking cat and lots of cool illustrations. But there's also an evil alchemist who plans to kill the talking cat and in the meantime, he does lots of diabolical things. So, I'm pretty sure its not a kids book. Though some older kids - especially boys with a taste for the gross - might enjoy the story.

All this time spent trying to figure that out, though, prevented me from really getting into it for a while. Moers can go on a bit, too, resulting in long lists and whole pages of description that I could have done without. By the end of the book, I found myself skimming some of the longer chunks of text and only reading anything that was really important. That sounds bad, I know, but once I did that, I actually liked the story much more. And Echo is a fun little character to spend time with. Cat lovers will especially get a kick out of him.

I know this wasn't the most positive review I've written, but I did like this book. I can't really blame the author for not knowing whether this was a kids book or not. I do wish, though, that the writing had been more streamlined as that would have really increased my enjoyment of the story.

Buy The Alchemaster's Apprentice on Amazon.

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