Maradonia™ and the Seven Bridges

A couple of things before we get going:

First, the title as it appears on the front cover is Maradonia™ and the Seven Bridges. I can’t be absolutely certain, but I am about 95% positive that I have never seen someone add a trademark tag to the title of their first novel, let alone a self-published one. These two small, seemingly insignificant things tell us two things: First, the Tesches have an extraordinary amount of arrogance by assuming that anyone would want to be associated with the Maradonia™ brand, hence the need to copyright it. Second, the Tesches desperately want to sound as much like legitimate publishers as they can, which is why there’s two solid pages of copyright information just inside the front cover. Which is where copyright information is supposed to go. I mean, Harry Potter is a registered trademark, but it doesn’t say Harry Potter™ and the Deathly Hallows on the front of Book 7, because it’s a fucking book cover, not a copyright page.

Second, the back cover of this doorstopper contains six phrases surrounded by unnecessary quotation marks, a trait that is going to drive me crazy as I spork this book. The only way to keep myself sane is to turn this into a drinking game.

Third, the chapter list (and there is ninety chapters) all has the titles angled slightly across the page, instead of being straight up and down. It has the annoying look of the title page being caught off-angle in the printer, but I’m pretty sure there was just an error in the formatting. Either way, it contributes to the general shoddiness of this book.

Here we go!

Preface

Tesch tells us that on a November morning a mysterious beach was found:

Fifteen-Year-old Maya and her Fourteen-Year-old brother Joey noticed a gap in the fence of a ‘Government Owned Property’ (page 1).

I could spend the entire book pointing out annoying things like this, such as why fourteen and year are both capitalized, but old is not, or why government owned property is capitalized and has quotation marks around it, but that wouldn’t really be very funny. Instead, you’ll just have to remember that this is ongoing throughout the book, as will be evidenced by the drink count, and pity me for what I’m going through.

Blah blah, they find a cave to the ‘world between the worlds’ which gives me a strong Magician’s Nephew vibe, which leads into the ‘Land of Maradonia’. Great. I don’t know why Tesch is spoiling the book in the preface, considering the story begins before Maya and Joey have actually found their way to Maradonia.

Drinks: 3

Prologue:

Apparently a feast is being prepared at the palace of a chap named Apollyon, who’s the King of an Evil Empire. In quotation marks. So one sentence in, we have a King of an Empire, that is a named Evil, with unnecessary Capitalized Letters and quotation marks. This is going to be ridiculously easy to mock.

There’s a brief mention of a chick named Arabella, who’s an underworld spy. This sounds vaguely interesting but isn’t elaborated on by Tesch.

Annoyingly, the paragraphs aren’t defined by indentation, like real books, but by a line break between some of them. But not all of them. Which, I must admit, is a pretty clever way to pad the size of your book. Quick math: There’s about three of these line breaks per page, and there’s 810 pages in this brick. At 30 lines of text per page, that comes out to an extra 81 pages on this book that don’t really deserve to be there, and that’s not counting the enormous font size used throughout the book.

Tesch names a bunch of random people that I don’t care about and won’t remember the names of. They’re sitting at a table. Some dwarfs teleport into the room, arriving in midair, and open the doors. King Apollyon walks in, has a seat, and begins his speech. He introduces a group of ravens as his guests of honor, which makes Arabella feel insulted because she isn’t mentioned, along with some extraneous ellipses. Apollyon says that everyone at the table is welcome to speak freely and openly. He elaborates that his son recently lost a battle to ‘those kids’, Maya and Joey, who were leading an army of teenagers. The guests are stunned and demand to know how this is possible. So Apollyon elaborates further:

Abaddon tried to do his best to destroy the enemy as did Gertrude, Lorris and Ceara also tried to eliminate the troops of the enemy with their wall of fire, waves of fire, walls of total darkness and with the glowing heat cushion of burning snowflakes! (page 4).

So much.

‘Tried to do his best’? That sort of effort deserves a Force-strangulation.

Fantasy world. We have Lorris. Appropriately fantasy. Ceara. Likewise. And then Gertrude, which doesn’t even exist nowadays. Honestly, I haven’t even met many people who are on Social Security who are named Gertrude.

I’m guessing there’s a difference between a wall of fire and a wave of fire, but I don’t see why a king would bother to differentiate between the two in a speech. I also have no idea what the hell a glowing heat cushion of burning snowflakes is. Mostly because snowflakes can’t burn, because water doesn’t burn. I’m guessing Tesch isn’t a fan of science. Or she is a fan of handwaving something because of magic.

Apollyon talks about how the spirits came back from their ‘spy trip’ and heard the words ‘Pool of Blood’. This led to him to the understanding in his mind that a pool of blood exists. That’s deep. And by deep, I mean deep in a philosophical and sarcastic sense, not physically deep. Although it probably is physically deep as well, because Apollyon mentions some random king getting pissed off and chucking a mountain and a castle into the lake. That’s very impressive, and is a slight indication that Tesch’s magic system may be overpowered.

Apparently the ruler of Maradonia, a chap named King Astrodoulos, sent his troops and Maya and Joey to this lake. Because apparently after you dive in the lake, you’re untouchable by the powers. I assume this means that magic cannot affect you. I do wonder why Apollyon hasn’t sent all of his own troops to take a dip as well. But instead, Apollyon explains how when the mountain and the castle was thrown into the lake, it gave the lake the power to make people who jump in untouchable by the powers. In essence, exactly what he just said.

Not kidding. Apollyon repeats himself, almost word-for-word, what he just said the previous paragraph. For no discernable reason.

One of Apollyon’s sons says that this is very depressing news, which is a bit of an understatement, and says that they’ll just have to live with it. But then another leader, Remmilos, jumps up and starts yelling and says that perhaps they need a change in leadership. Apollyon is enraged. He demonstrates this rage by closing his eyes and putting his hands on the table. That doesn’t sound very enraged. But then he opens his eyes and has glowing fireballs in his hands. One of the teleporting dwarfs tells Remmilos that he has no right to criticize Apollyon. Remmilos points out, correctly, that Apollyon said everyone could speak freely and openly at the beginning of the meeting. Apollyon hits him with the fireball and fries him into a pile of ashes, which the dwarfs clean up and then teleport away. I’m guessing that this is our ‘Subtle Clue’ that Apollyon is Evil. In case we didn’t realize this from the Author ‘Explicitly Stating’ that Apollyon is the king of the Evil Empire.

Some of the leaders there are a little pissed off, but Apollyon continues and says that there may be a way to eliminate these kids, even though they’re invincible. I’m guessing he doesn’t know what ‘invincible’ means. Also, I wasn’t aware they were invincible. Being immune to magic is one thing, being immune to a knife in the ribs is another.

Apollyon says that he’s going to tell them a secret. And the chapter ends.

Drinks: 19

Chapter One: The New School

Each chapter also has a picture along with it, and so we get our first image of Maya and Joey, and my god, it’s hideous. Maya’s eyes are too far apart, she has enormous horse lips, and Joey’s face seems to be made up entirely of his nose. Not an auspicious beginning.

Their mother wakes them up, saying that they don’t want to be late for school. Tesch begins to tell us facts about them. I’m not really surprised that she hasn’t learned how to show, not tell. We learn that Maya is excited to go to school, she’s tall, very beautiful, very shy, doesn’t make friends easily, stuff like that. I’m getting Mary Sue vibes already.

Maya thinks about popular Joey is. Apparently, at the last school, Joey was part of a nationwide painting poster-contest. Due to Joey’s elite painting skills, he’s received a number of letters from congressmen. I have to call bullshit on this one. I admit that it’s possible that someone who won a poster content might receive one letter from a congressman’s secretary with the congressman’s name signed at the bottom, but a bunch of them? Not likely. A horrifically phrased sentence later, we learn that supposedly, the school had a banquet in honor of Joey. Calling bullshit again. Apparently a senator came to the banquet to greet Joey in the name of the President and talking about how much potential Joey has to build fantasy bridges to different dimensions. Calling bullshit for the third time. This is probably some sort of ‘Subtle Foreshadowing’. Along with being something that would never happen in real life.

Then again, when I was 12 I wrote things that wouldn’t happen in real life. It was because I was naïve and wrote things that weren’t worthy of being published.

Apparently, Joey’s fame led to his picture appearing in dozens of newspapers and the school getting a new section in their library. I guess the point Tesch is trying to make is that Joey is Speshul and Maya is just very awkward. This is confirmed a few paragraphs later:

It took Maya several months to make a couple of new friends but she made also some enemies. One of them was ‘Alana Terence’! She was a member of the ‘Gothic Movement’ and she had a very rebellious spirit (page 11).

Really? Extra exclamation points, italics, and quotation marks? Even I wasn’t this dumb when I was twelve.

Although Maya had several problems, she was a highly unusual girl in many ways. She was a very spiritual and a very serious person. Soon after Maya was born, her grandmother was holding her in her arms and said, “This is indeed a very serious child!” (page 12).

I cannot picture a grandmother holding a newborn and proclaiming it serious without cracking up laughing, nor can I imagine why one would ever say that. I also don’t know why it’s unusual to be either spiritual or serious, there are plenty of people who fall into both categories and it’s not that uncommon.

When Maya was four years old she started painting huge oil paintings and worked with water colors. With eight years, she had her first exhibition in form of an article in the ‘National Journal of Art’ with an interview and six of her best pictures (page 12).

Or, in other words, Maya is Speshul as well. And I think that should be ‘at’ instead of ‘with’, and there should be a ‘the’ between ‘in’ and ‘form’. But that might just be me trying to follow some basic rules of the English language.

Maya can’t figure out why she hates the new school, except she feels like everyone hates her just for being there. Wow. So one chapter in, we have a girl who fits almost every cliché that Mary Sues are known for, a villain that fits almost every villain cliché, and an author who has no grasp of the English language. That takes some talent.

Drinks: 6

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Comment

  1. falconempress on 26 April 2010, 01:19 said:

    Whee! Drinking gameee!

    topples over

  2. Steph (what is left) on 26 April 2010, 01:32 said:

    To aid your recovery, may I recommend the ‘hair’ of a dog? Or, considering that this is Maradonia, perhaps a larger, freakier animal…

    proffers Improbable Cat

  3. dragonarya on 26 April 2010, 08:47 said:

    Blah blah, they find a cave to the ‘world between the worlds’ which gives me a strong Magician’s Nephew vibe

    Same here.

    It was because I was naïve and wrote things that weren’t worthy of being published.

    That, in bold text, is what this book is. A very poorly written first novel.
    Really, at least in my first novel I had a proper grasp of the English language!

    Cheers! glugs a quarter of a bottle

  4. jbaker475 on 26 April 2010, 09:47 said:

    Yay! Someone’s finally doing a full length spork of Maradonia and the Extraneous Quotation Marks! Two (or three?) other writers on this site started doing an MST3K-style spork on the prologue and first chapter several months ago, but apparently it was abandoned, which makes me sad. This hilariously awful piece of crap deserves to be ripped a new one. God speed, Kawnliee, God speed…

  5. TakuGifian on 26 April 2010, 10:58 said:

    Wait is this the original? I think The 40-page-excerpt started differently Maybe it just lacked the preface. Although why any book would need a preface AND a prologue, I’ll never guess (Maybe the next edition will have a foreword, preface, prologue, epilogue, afterword, appendix and index).

    I applaud your bravery for attempting this, but I do hope you take it slowly. You could cause yourself some serious injury to yourself if you facepalm yourself in the face too often and injure your face. Which you will, if you read this too quickly when you read it.

  6. Dan Locke on 26 April 2010, 11:14 said:

    (Maybe the next edition will have a foreword, preface, prologue, epilogue, afterword, appendix and index)

    Don’t forget the glossary!

  7. Danielle on 26 April 2010, 13:03 said:

    Ahh, Maridonia. Makes what I wrote at that age look like the next LOTR. And this quote makes me giggle:

    It took Maya several months to make a couple of new friends but she made also some enemies. One of them was ‘Alana Terence’! She was a member of the ‘Gothic Movement’ and she had a very rebellious spirit.

    I entered a new middle school in seventh grade, and it took me a lot longer than “a few months” to make friends. As it was, I made more enemies than I did friends, simply because cliques at that school were very strong and kids there were mean to boot. That, and I was twelve, just entering the good ol’ days of teen angst….

    But that’s another story for another day. I’d love to see Tesch write about the struggles Maya has at her new school: having her gestures of friendship rebuffed, teachers who give annoying assignments, teachers who punish the entire class instead of the one jerk who got them all in trouble, girls who call her names in the hallway, guys who say the F-word in the hallway, cafeteria food that could probably stand up and walk out of the school of its own volition….

    Yeah. So many middle school adventures, so many grammatical errors already. Maybe it’s a good thing Tesch sends Maya and Joey to another dimension.

  8. Puppet on 26 April 2010, 13:19 said:

    I “Really” hate “Goria Tesch“. She thinks she’s a good “Writer” and the “Youngest Novelist Ever”.

    Seriously now. Thank you, Kawnliee. Thank you so, so very much for this. You almost make reading her terrible writing bearable. Superb article, as always.

  9. Talisman on 26 April 2010, 15:34 said:

    I pity your liver, my friend. This is awesome to read, and I’m looking forward to more.

    …And, wow, I just discovered that Maradonia TM doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. How is that even possible?

  10. Puppet on 26 April 2010, 16:28 said:

    Oh, there’s a explanation for that. Basically, Gloria wrote the whole article herself. And knowing Gloria it pretty much said “It was written by the amazing Gloria Tesch, awesome book, youngest novelist ever, etc.” So Wikipedia took it down, here’s the link.

  11. lookingforme on 26 April 2010, 17:51 said:

    Yays! This just made my day SO much sunshinier…like everyone else has said, try not to let The Evil “Power” that is “Gloria Tesch” get to you!

  12. hmyd.windmere on 26 April 2010, 20:07 said:

    Thank you for this! I hope you’ll drink ‘something’ like Water or orange Juice the next time ‘you’ Spork. I mean, don’t kill yourself.

    It seems that the government has nothing to do and/or Joey is the next Caravaggio. sigh I shouldn’t be trying to use logic.

    Although Maya had several problems, she was a highly unusual girl in many ways. She was a very spiritual and a very serious person. Soon after Maya was born, her grandmother was holding her in her arms and said, “This is indeed a very serious child!” (page 12).

    Erm, “was holding?” That’s just awkward. How do you tell if a baby is serious, anyway? Is her grandmother a Speshul Prophetess?

  13. RikkiTikkiTavi on 26 April 2010, 20:31 said:

    @Puppet: That debate made my day…thanks for sharing. It is truly incredible to see someone make a complete idiot out of himself/herself in front of a wiki mod…

  14. LucyWannabe on 26 April 2010, 21:15 said:

    …wow. Suddenly that story I wrote when I was 15 doesn’t seem quite as shameful when compared to this. And it was a “girl from our world teleported into a fantasy one” story to boot!

    Mine also had talking unicorns. :P

  15. Chant on 26 April 2010, 23:01 said:

    “the glowing heat cushion of burning snowflakes!”?? I want one of those!

  16. Nate Winchester on 27 April 2010, 13:53 said:

    I feel like there should be a “in memorium of Ari” slapped onto every one of these. XD

    I entered a new middle school in seventh grade, and it took me a lot longer than “a few months” to make friends. As it was, I made more enemies than I did friends, simply because cliques at that school were very strong and kids there were mean to boot. That, and I was twelve, just entering the good ol’ days of teen angst….

    Admit it Dani, you were making enemies because you refused to share your alt ending shtick. HAVE AT YOU!

  17. Danielle on 27 April 2010, 18:57 said:

    Admit it Dani, you were making enemies because you refused to share your alt ending shtick. HAVE AT YOU!

    You talkin’ to ME? Are you talkin’ to ME?

    Bring it on, Buster! :P

  18. Gray Falcon on 27 April 2010, 21:55 said:

    Well, “the glowing heat cushion of burning snowflakes” could be a poetic way of saying volcanic ash. Not a very good poetic way, though.

  19. RandomX2 on 28 April 2010, 01:01 said:

    She was a very spiritual and a very serious person. Soon after Maya was born, her grandmother was holding her in her arms and said, “This is indeed a very serious child!”

    LOL, that’s one of the best lines I’ve ever read.

    Does her writing improve in later books?

  20. Kawnliee on 28 April 2010, 01:23 said:

    I opened the second book to a random page and read two pages. The answer is unequivocally no.

  21. NeuroticPlatypus on 28 April 2010, 22:22 said:

    the glowing heat cushion of burning snowflakes!

    Oh no! Not the burning snowflakes!

    I definitely wrote better than this when I was twelve. It was unpublishable and unrealistic, but at least I had proper grammar, and my sentences weren’t awkward and clunky.

    Good job, Kawnilee.

  22. fffan on 29 April 2010, 04:10 said:

    Could you make an estimate of how many pages you think this book should have.

    I would probably say zero pages, but I’m curious. How big is the text? How small are the chapters? Are the chapter titles quite large? How many pictures are there?

    Cheers.

  23. bobtheenchantedone on 29 April 2010, 08:01 said:

    Ditto NeuroticPlatypus. Hooray for the kids who can at least be grammatically correct! Hooray even more for those who enjoy writing and keep working at it because they know it isn’t yet fit for public consumption!

  24. ZeeZee on 29 April 2010, 16:19 said:

    Anyone want to look at the Maradonia website ? Here’s a wonderful excerpt from it.

    Gloria Tesch is so talented that the reader believes anything and everything is possible in the Land of Maradonia. I wonder what kind of literature this 14 year old author will produce in the coming years.” Gloria answered, “I don’t know what the coming years will bring, but I work every day…every weekend… very, very hard, often late in the night writing my latest novel.”

  25. Danielle on 29 April 2010, 17:02 said:

    So I went to Tesch’s site…dangerous, I know. I think my brain threw up a little.

    But anyways, has anyone else read the summaries for her three books? I’ll post the highlights of the next one:

    Maya and Joey, hunted by the powers of darkness, realize with the arrival of thirteen airships on the sky of Oceanside that they are not safe anymore in their old world because the siblings had seized the most precious article of the Empire of Evil: The Key to the Underworld!

    Erm, okay. I’ll ignore the bad grammar and translate:

    Maya and Joey go back home, only to discover that the bad guys got ahold of weapons AND the door to our world. So the bad guys show up in a symbolically unlucky number of airships because they want their stupid Key to the Underworld back. Why? Because King Apollyon’s wife forgot to turn off her blasted curling iron, that’s why!

    But little did they know about the numerous complications, the horrifying dangers and attacks of King Apollyon and the life threatening Cataract of Evil that was waiting for them…

    So they go back to defeat King Apollyon who just wants to TURN OFF THE STINKING CURLING IRON SO HE AND HIS WIFE CAN GO TO DINNER WITHOUT WORRYING ABOUT THE HOUSE BURNING DOWN, but of course they can’t let him win because he is Evil. King Apollyon decides to put out the fire in his house with an Evil Waterfall, but Maya and Joey, being the vain creatures they are, assume it’s some sort of deathtrap. Will they ever escape the evil roar of evil waters of evil?

  26. NeuroticPlatypus on 29 April 2010, 20:54 said:

    Cataract of Evil

    Evil has cataracts? Evil must be pretty old. Maya and Joey don’t have much to worry about. Evil probably can’t see too well.

  27. Charlotte on 29 April 2010, 21:09 said:

    Please continue this. I’ve wanted to read a good spork of this for a long time. Poor, deluded girl- she shouldn’t have been published.

  28. ZeeZee on 29 April 2010, 22:21 said:

    She wasn’t published- she self-published it. Any delusions are of her own making.

  29. fffan on 4 May 2010, 02:34 said:

    I’m half expecting her to scatter little trade mark sign throughout her book. (The Evil Empire™) (The Cataract of Evil™) (Maya and Joey™)

  30. Lilan Jaku on 6 May 2010, 08:15 said:

    Why is it that stupid little kids without any actual knowledge about how the world revolves write and then publish such unbelievable sacks of shite? One would think that Paolini would be example horrible enough to discourage them. But nooo, let’s tell the whole planet how idiotic we are by self-publishing crap without grammar, any original thought whatsoever and random punctuation. Oh Looord, please kill it all with fire needs a vomiting bucket…a lot of vomiting buckets in fact.
    OK, I admit I worked on a similar idea (different dimension stuff etc.) when I was like 15, but even then, after a year of studying English, my grammar was better than this and I knew where I was supposed to put the quotation marks. Plus, I knew that it was a book written by a child so I never even dreamt of publishing it! Does anyone know an email address of this little idiot so I can give her a piece of my mind? Because I think somebody ought to tell her that she is no more writer than a typing monkey. And I might be insulting all typing monkeys by saying this.

  31. Thea on 11 May 2010, 16:42 said:

    Two pages of copyright? Really? Did they even read a book before publishing their daughter’s?

    Unless, of course, they got permissions to use all trademarks mentioned within the ‘novel’ itself (quotations used intentionally) if she even used anyway. Let me know if that’s the case, but somehow I suspect it isn’t.

  32. omgwtfbbq on 24 July 2010, 00:14 said:

    How did you not die of alcohol poisoning while reading this? It’s a genius drinking game to play with friends, I’m sure, as everyone is sure to get absolutely plastered…
    but I fear for your liver, Kawnliee. I agree with Lilan, kill it with fire.

  33. Tundra on 3 September 2010, 08:35 said:

    Oh. My. Goodness. Someone on my site recommended that we come over here and read the sporkings (we were talking about badly written books) and I don’t know how you’re even managing to read this. Where on earth did you get a copy? I hope you didn’t pay for it that’s all I can say. Evil Empire? Quotation marks? WHAT.
    You are my hero for suffering through this.

  34. Kytescall on 3 September 2010, 22:47 said:

    I half wonder whether this Tesch girl reveres Paolini, but the thought actually makes me feel sorry for him.

  35. Jacob on 18 November 2010, 01:22 said:

    I just realized this, so I’m putting this in this one; I understand the burning snow line she keeps using.

    Throughout the book, Tesch keeps using Bible imagary (and story… and characters) blatently. But this one was subtle (you know, for her). One of the plagues of Egypt from the book of Exodus was “hail and thunder” which is often intruprited as “burning/flaming hail”. So from there we get “burning snowflakes”.

    Another notch against Tesch.

  36. swenson on 18 November 2010, 18:40 said:

    OH! Brilliant catch!

  37. fastfinge on 3 July 2012, 21:16 said:

    Apparently, the Kindle edition is…different. Not better, just different. The preface thing is totally rewritten, and apparently lots and lots of the dumbness was removed from chapter 1. This makes it way too short to be called a chapter, though.

  38. nanayoung on 2 February 2015, 16:57 said:

    <i>How about this:</i>

    Apollyon closed his eyes and took a deep breath. It wouldn’t do any good if he killed the fool who spoke out against him. After all, he did agree that everyone would be able to freely speak. Non the less, his magic managed to slip out a bit, causing the table to start rattling.

    Remmilos, who at this point realized his mistake, started to pale. To his credit, he did not back down, and stood facing the king with his head held high. His hand trailed down towards his sword and his fellow Titans started to tense.

    “Changing leadership will not fix this problem King Remmilos,” he stated calmly. “In fact, it will only make even more problems. Problems that we have neither the time, nor the resources to fix. At this very moment, we are at war. The people we are at war with are nothing more than a group of untrained children, it is true. But at this moment, they are fueled by the powers of the Pool of Blood. They are resistant to most of our magics, as well as the defenses we have placed throughout the kingdom. It is but a small time before they manage to reach our borders. Quite frankly, Remmilos, we do not have time to spout petty insults and inquiries. If you do not have anything to contribute at this time, then the door is right over there.”

    Apollyon calmly met Remmilos’ eyes. For a tense few seconds, no one moved. Then the Titan king slowly sat down.

    Apollyon smiled. “Thank you.”

    <i>Now that’s how you handle an upstart. With a calm, grown up response.</i>