The Alchemaster's Apprentice, by Walter Moers

I do have a soft spot for darkly humorous fantasy, and this book definitely fits that bill. Translated from German, the novel is about a little Crat (identical to a cat in every way except for a brain that can hold enormous amounts of information and the ability to speak in every language without having to learn any) who makes a deal with the Alchemist-in-Chief of a singularly unhealthy town. The deal stipulates that the Alchemaster will feed and entertain Echo the Crat until the next full moon, at which time he will kill Echo and boil him down for his fat. Echo agrees because he is starving to death, but immediately betakes himself to finagle a way out of the contract.

We meet Cooked Ghosts, owls with speech impediments, vampire flying mice, and Cogitating Eggs. The book is incredibly imaginative and inventive, and the description is fantastic. I wish more authors were as creative as Moers is. I will definitely be seeking out more of his books to read.


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