Malaisea, the unhealthiest town in the whole of Zamonia, is home to Echo the Crat, a multitalented creature resembling a cat in appearance but capable of speaking any language under the sun, human or animal. When his mistress dies, Echo finds himself out on the street. Dying of starvation, he is compelled to sign a contract with Ghoolion the Alchemaster, Malaisea’s evil alchemist-in-chief. This fateful document gives Ghoolion the right to kill Echo at the next full moon and render him down for his fat, with which he hopes to brew an alchemical concoction that will make him immortal. In return, he promises to regale the little Crat with the most exquisite gastronomic delicacies until his time is up.
But Ghoolion has reckoned without Echo’s talent for survival and his ability to make new friends. These include the Leathermice, the Cogitating Eggs, the Golden Squirrel, the Cooked Ghost, Theodore T. Theodore the one-eyed Tuwituwu, and above all, Izanuela Anazazi, the last Uggly in Malaisea.
Walter Moers’ magnificent translation of Optimus Yarnspinner’s novel introduces us to yet another of Zamonia’s hotbeds of adventure: Malaisea, a place where sick is healthy, up is down, right is wrong, and Ghoolion the Alchemaster reigns supreme—until Echo crosses his path.
©2007 Piper Verlag GmbH, Munich; Translation 2009 by John Brownjohn (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Cheerfully insane…. Remains lively and inventive right through the final heroic battle between good and evil.” (New York Times Book Review)
Also China Miéville, Peter Hamilton, good space-opera, No Zombies, Apocalypses, Women who sigh and go weak at the knees when seeing a man!
It's been a long time since I have given a book five stars, but this wonderful, original tale is well worth that rating! What at first seems a simple story of a bad bargain soon becomes an amusing romp with some of the most devilish edibles one can, or cannot imagine. I for one would love invisible caviar! All too soon good and evil and a rather horrifying crush come to light, and we are back in our mundane cars, armchairs, or beds..wishing we could hear it all over for the very first time again. No, this is not Camus, it's pure fun, and the narrator is quite simply exquisite.
I'm only partway through this book, which has an interesting premise and likeable characters. However, the narrator's voice for certain characters is so annoying it is difficult to continue the book. Perhaps it's meant to be geared toward the juvenile.
I'm very found of Walter Moers' books and this one does not disappoint. The only reason I'm not giving this one 5 stars is because the narration is ANNOYING! So annoying that it constantly takes me out of the story. The vocal characterizations are over the top and inconsistent. This story would've benefited from a much more subdued reading.
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