Chapter Twenty-One – The Iron Curtain

Occasionally, if I’m really tired, I briefly wonder if all of these names have some sort of deeper, hidden meaning, like some sort of special significance that would allow an attentive reader to figure out events later in the book, or possibly just being some sort of inside joke from the author. Then I remember that this book is written by Gloria Tesch and it’s because she’s not creative enough to come up with her own names.

Maya and Joey head over to a glitter tree, which still makes me roll my eyes. And just past the glitter tree is an enormous silver metal wall. It’s the kind of thing that’s very noticeable. Even more noticeable than a glitter tree. How did they not see this?

They did not see the end of it as far as they could see.

The wall went as far as there eyes could see (page 122).

Yes, those are two consecutive sentences. And yes, she did use ‘there’, not ‘their’.

They talk for a bit about really obvious things. Like that the wall is really big and it’s in their way. Joey is immature and hits it with his knife, which sounds both dangerous and like a good way to damage your knife.

Maya says that if Sagitta was here she could carry them over the wall. Which sounds like a really good idea. What was that quote again?

“I am ordered to help you at all times!” Sagitta replied (page 87).

Really, Tesch? You couldn’t think of a better reason? The damn eagle is all-seeing, it’s like a personal Deus ex Machina, there is no reason for it to not be here to carry them over the wall. Or to simply fly them all the way to the lagoon. And it’s not even that hard to come up with a good reason to get rid of her, if you want your heroes to struggle for a bit. Have Sagitta say that she has to leave to battle the feared one-eyed demon of Sta’nek and she’ll be back in a week. Boom, problem solved. This is not rocket science.

Maya and Joey talk about whether the fairies are behind all of this, and then we get this:

Hopelessness was visible on their faces including Hoppy’s, because Hoppy found out that touching the wall created temporary blindness in his eyes (page 123).

Yeah. No, this blindness is not significant and doesn’t affect the story. At all. Also, grasshopper expressions don’t change that much. In my experience.

Maya begins talking about how Sagitta has inner eyes. And what that means. I really hate it when Tesch tries to get philosophical. It’s like reading the diary of someone addicted to crystal meth.

“We have to concentrate on our own inner mind because there is no security in the world.” (page 124)

What the fuck does that even mean?

Maya continues rambling about how if Sagitta and the doves come to help them out they will miss the opportunity because they always expect help from the outside. And if they keep having other people bail them out they will never learn to rely on themselves. Which actually does kind’ve make sense, and would be a valid point, if Tesch had just written that instead of trying to transcend the English language.

“Joey, we will overcome this wall by concentrating on our inner power, our inner strength and master this situation as hopeless as it seems.” Maya said.

Hoppy started chirping and singing his favorite song, “We will overco-o-o-ome, we will overco-o-o-ome one day…” (page 125)

Yeah, that’s right. A Narnian grasshopper’s favorite song is a popular protest song steeped in religious history from the 1950’s. In America. Somehow this seems a little…anachronistic.

Maya tells them to sit down, cover their eyes with their left hand, cover their heart with their right hand, and meditate until they find a solution.

“Meditation?” Joey said.

“Yes, meditation! Close your eyes and shut up!” Maya shouted (page 125).

And I suddenly start liking Maya quite a bit more. Hopefully she says that more often in the pages to come.

Hoppy was still peaking but finally closed his eyes and said “The man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.” (page 126)

While this is true, it’s not really related to what they’re doing. And how would Hoppy know this quote? And what is peaking?

Suddenly Maya gets an idea. She gets up and screams that she knows what to do. I don’t know why she’s screaming. But her grand plan is to go under the wall. Well. That was a difficult one. You basically have three choices, go around, go over, and go under, and the first two sound a little time-consuming.

They find a soft sandy spot. The wall doesn’t go down into the ground so it’s not too terribly difficult to dig a hole underneath and get through.

Drinks: 7

Chapter Twenty-Two – Deception and Temptation

The picture on the front of this chapter is the two-faced chick from the front cover of the book. I have no idea if this is going to be significant.

They walk for a bit. Libertine and Sagitta show up again, so Maya and Joey immediately know they’re on the right track. Because the doves and the eagle are around. Although the doves and the eagle might just be following them.

Libertine then said, “It is good that you know where you are going because if a person does not know what direction he has to go, any wind is the right wind for him” (page 129).

Except they don’t know where they’re going.

Libertine warns them about fairies. They come in various forms and are deceptive and stuff. Some are invisible. And they have powers. And Tesch still doesn’t know the difference between there and their. And then Libertine is interrupted by music.

Drinks: 4

Chapter Twenty-Three – The Wagons of El Dorado

There’s a picture of a crying unicorn. No, seriously. A crying unicorn. This needs a scan.

And as we all know, unicorn tears turn into jelly beans!

Also, El Dorado? Seriously?

Some wagons come up. They’re being pulled by six unicorns. And Maya and Joey love unicorns. How do you love something that doesn’t exist? Although there are plenty of people in love with Edward Cullen. So…never mind.

Maya notices the unicorns have tears in their eyes. And then Tesch goes into a long description of these young girls singing and wearing pretty dresses and making music and stuff. The music is entrancing. Maya and Joey become Happy. Joey gets on a wagon and it’s like a toy store. Joey is smitten.

The girls start talking to them about how they’ve been through a lot and they should stay here and hang out with them and achieve True Happiness and all their cares and worries will disappear forever and they’ll be one big happy family and have multiple orgasms every day. Okay, not the last part, but it’s sort’ve implied.

The flowers are like a narcotic. Yeah, it’s explicitly said. I can just imagine young children setting this book down and saying “Mommy, what’s a narcotic?” Except that nobody is actually reading this book. Except for me. For some reason.

Maya looks in her wagon and sees three different cell phones, a computer, tons of clothes, concert tickets, jewels…all sorts of stuff. Then she goes down to the crying unicorns and asks them why they’re crying. The unicorns say they’re not allowed to answer. Maya feels more and more drugged but realizes that something is wrong.

Maya got so weak from the inhalation of the fragrance that she nearly passed out. She held herself upright on the holster of the unicorns (page 138).

Yes. Holster. And Tesch uses it several more times. I think she’s confusing ‘holster’ with ‘harness’.

Some of the musicians try to load Maya into the wagon but her hand has locked onto the holster and they can’t pull her loose.

The Commander said sternly, “Break the fingers of her hand or break the whole hand off and then throw her body on the wagon!”

It was like a ‘Blitz Action’ which hit the mind of Joey. “What was that? What did you say?” asked Joey. “Break her fingers or break her hand off and through her body on the wagon? You don’t do that to my sister Maya.” (page 139).

Yes. Blitz Action. Capitalized, italicized, and in quotation marks. That’s four drinks right there. Also, Tesch used ‘through’ instead of ‘throw’.

Joey leaps down, whips out his knife, and tells everyone to back off. He launches into a monologue about how he knows who they are and that they’re evil. I guess it’s for the benefit of the reader because no one in the actual scene needs to know what he says. Maya wakes up and agrees with him. Literally:

“I’ll also tell you something,” said Maya. “My brother Joey is right with every word he said about you!

You should know that we have to fulfill a mission.

Our mission provides us with a vision and having a vision is the art of seeing things invisible.” (page 140).

Actually, it isn’t, but whatever.

Drinks: 17

Chapter Twenty-Four – Walls of Fire

As Maya and Joey are about to leave, a voice introduces herself as Gertrude and says they are worms. Ah, Gertrude. It reminds me of a slightly shriveled librarian. Not overly intimidating. Then Gertrude makes a giant wall of fire appear in front of them. Slightly more intimidating. Although, why didn’t she just make the wall of fire appear under them? I think that would solve this problem once and for all.

I guess maybe they want Maya and Joey for some nefarious purpose, so they need to capture them alive.

“We will crush you once and for all and then we will burn your bodies with fire and blow your ashes into all the four directions of the wind!” Gertrude said (page 142).

Never mind.

Maya tells Joey to concentrate on his inner strength and ignore Gertrude. Joey points out that there’s a sheet of flame in front of them.

Then Maya said, “I tell you that this fire wall is only an illusion and we’re going to walk right through it. Even the smell of fire will not be on us. Not one single hair on our heads will have the scent of fire.” (page 142).

I’m getting a strong Biblical fiery furnace vibe from this.

They link hands and leap through the wall of fire and are fine. Then Gertrude repeats her threat, so they start getting worried again. But suddenly Deus ex Sagitta swoops down and brings her friend ‘Cato’. Cato has a mighty thunder and lightning hammer. Okay then. Henceforth, Cato shall be known as Thor.

Sagitta tells Gertrude to free the unicorns and piss off or Thor will kick all of their asses. Gertrude agrees, frees the unicorns, and all the fairies vanish. Sagitta and Thor leave, and the unicorns start prancing around happily. And Maya and Joey are shining. Because they’re reflecting the presence of light that Sagitta and Thor brought with them. Or something.

Libertine flies down and starts monologuing. Again. She talks about how they’ve reached a higher level of understanding and conquered another test and their hands are anointed and they’re going to become mighty leaders and so on and so forth. And then this:

“We must hurry because Abbadon will be free from the pit of his prison shortly.” (page 146).

This raises a couple questions for me.

First, are they freeing Abaddon? Because if they are, why? This is stupid.

Second, if Abaddon is escaping, and they know he’s escaping, why don’t they stop him? This is stupid.

Third, if it’s been prophesied that he will be freed, why don’t they use the prophecy to keep that from happening? Isn’t that the general idea? This is stupid.

Drinks: 8

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  1. Takugifian on 11 July 2010, 08:21 said:

    I would rather you didn’t make insinuations about some bird “battling” Stanek’s one-eyed trouser demon, really. I mean, really.

    Hopelessness was visible on their faces

    At least she’s trying to show instead of merely tell?

    the holster of the unicorns

    I get the hilarious image of Old West cowboys in a high-noon standoff with miniature unicorns in their gun holsters. Am I the only one to get this?

    It was like a ‘Blitz Action’

    To be fair, there’s at least one martial arts school I know of who utilise not only their BlitzDefense, but also their BlitzStance. Perhaps the BlitzAction is just a proactive martial technique.

    This just… wow. It just keeps getting worse. The idea that Tesch might have been on drugs while writing it has more and more merit with each chapter.

    I salute you for your ability to remain coherent while this… this thing eats away at your soul. Stare too long into the abyss…

  2. Puppet on 11 July 2010, 08:28 said:

    This book is terribad… That’s all that can be said.

  3. Talisman on 11 July 2010, 12:43 said:

    Which actually does kind’ve make sense, and would be a valid point, if Tesch had just written that instead of trying to transcend the English language.

    By “transcend” you mean “rape, mutilate, and burn the remains,” right?

    This is just unbelievable. It makes me feel a lot better about the terrible stories I wrote when I was 12, though.

    I raise a glass (of brain bleach) to your noble sacrifice in the name of entertaining us.

  4. Puppet on 11 July 2010, 13:20 said:

    Hear Hear. A toast to Kawnliee for his bravery.

  5. PenguinOfDeath on 11 July 2010, 15:04 said:

    Gulps down own glass of brain bleach Indeed!

    Now, what was I thinking about again?…

    Oh yeah, i think Tesch may be confusing halters, better known as headcollars, which contain horse heads, with holsters, which… I just had an image of a stereotypical cowboy with a unicorn head in a holster by his side. The unicorn head has a shocked expression, and shoots rainbow beams from its nostrils. the horn is the grip. Can someone draw this please?

    And as for her saying Hoppy was peaking, I am pretty certain that’s a reference to drugs, specifically that Hoppy is on some kind of hallucinogen. Just like Tesch.

  6. Danielle on 11 July 2010, 19:03 said:

    “We have to concentrate on our own inner mind because there is no security in the world.”

    Sense: This quote makes none! But it made me laugh, so it’s okay by me.

    Hoppy started chirping and singing his favorite song, “We will overco-o-o-ome, we will overco-o-o-ome one day…”

    Wait wait wait….so…Hoppy is a talking grasshopper that has the wisdom of a meth addict, can change colors at will….and is secretly African-American? Cool!

    Maya got so weak from the inhalation of the fragrance that she nearly passed out. She held herself upright on the holster of the unicorns.

    I totally just pictured a unicorn in a gun holster.

    “We will crush you once and for all and then we will burn your bodies with fire and blow your ashes into all the four directions of the wind!” Gertrude said.

    Has Gertrude ever thought of conquering the world? She certainly has the ego. Plus, a tiny worm named Gertrude conquering the world would be the height of irony.

  7. falconempress on 12 July 2010, 03:45 said:

    Oh great, more fortune cookie nonsense. Hey, everybody! The next round of brain bleach is on me! Bottoms up :D

  8. SlyShy on 12 July 2010, 13:19 said:

    Reading this book is a feat of endurance. Excellent spork so far, by the way. I think you’ve dodged some common pitfalls.

  9. MegaHeroes16 on 13 July 2010, 16:30 said:

    My god, my head hurts XD
    After seven parts, my god… this book really is long. 90 chapters; 800+ pages :(
    Wait a minute. So, these boring tedious occurrences we have to call ‘a story’ takes more than 800 pages to be finished?
    You know, I maybe have never read the book, but I can assume this:
    1) There is little to no character development. Joey comes over as an arrogant jackass who thinks he is the big shot and blames everything with happens to him in a negative way on his sister. Maya is on meth.
    2) If Gloria Tesch is a Christian, I feel ashamed of myself to share the same religion with her (I’m a liberal catholic).
    3) I guess the fact that our protagonists are Mary and Marty Sue, already indicates that the story is a bad fan fiction.
    I guess that Tara Gilesbie (the writer of My Immortal; the girl who wrote one of the most terrible fan fictions) has gained a new friend in the club of ‘Terrible female writers’.
    I feel insulted that Joey uses a kitchen knife as some sword. If kitchen knifes were that powerful, I had quit those medieval sword fighting lessons.
    It sounds like a Narnia rip-off, but Narnia is a sacred masterpiece compared to this.
    In my opinion, experience gives inspiration and insight to people. Example: since I have experienced cruel unrequited love, I can truly imagine how it feels and what it defines.
    Gloria Tesch doesn’t go to a public school, right?
    She has no internet, right?
    My god, it makes clear that she has made a lot of mistakes. She has no support from the outside.
    I pity her. I can’t even imagine that some teenager like Tesch would be so dumb and idiotic to think that there will be an amusement park based of the Maradonia Series. Not even Uwe Boll would want to make a film adaptation of her book. I wonder, aren’t there people in this world who rewrite novels of others and make them better?
    But, I’ve learned a lesson. If I am ever going to fulfil my dream of becoming a fantasy writer, I have to train and become better at writing, before I am going to finish it and publish it.
    Stuff which is self-published is mostly crap, right?
    I think I am going to buy that book ‘How NOT to write a Novel’. Do some of you guys have advice for a humble teenager who aspires to become a writer, but who doesn’t want to become the next Paolini or Tesch? At least, I’m not some egotistical jackass.

  10. Diamonte on 13 July 2010, 21:04 said:

    Excellent spork once again!

    MegaHeroes – the story really isn’t 800+ pages if it was formatted properly. There’s actually about 40 words per page or something ridiculously tedious like that, if the book is the same as the 40 page excerpt I’ve read.

  11. MegaHeroes16 on 13 July 2010, 22:00 said:


    But still, many people call the book ‘a brick’.
    I mean, I saw Tesch’s video where she shows her two books of the Maradonia saga. Those books are huge. But yeah, you’re right, she didn’t formatted it properly.
    On the other hand, we could use her books as effective projectiles XD
    Hey Kawnliee, you know what would be funny?
    If somebody would dare to throw that book at Tesch with joy. Somebody might say the lines ‘that’s for making crap big and boring’.

  12. Danielle on 13 July 2010, 23:37 said:

    If Gloria Tesch is a Christian, I feel ashamed of myself to share the same religion with her (I’m a liberal catholic).

    Nah, I think Christianity is awesome enough to stand up to the horror that is Gloria Tesch. Personally, I think it’s more “You Give [the] Love [of Christ] a Bad Name” than shame at sharing a faith with her.

  13. Licht on 18 July 2010, 18:39 said:

    Picture yourself in a boat on a river
    With tangerine trees and marmalade skies
    Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly
    A girl with kaleidoscope eyes…

    You know… reading Tesch’s outpourings from the viewpoint of a very baaad drug hallucination… everything suddenly makes sense!

    Ahm… btw. She does know what is called the “Iron Curtain” does she? Is that supposed to be one of her deeper meanings, maybe?

  14. peppercake on 26 July 2010, 13:17 said:

    What were her parents thinking when they got her published? Even my parents would rightly laugh in my face if I thought of getting something like that published. Seriously, she makes the crappy Garth Nix rip offs I wrote in year seven look like art. I feel your pain Kawnliee :(

  15. BettyCross on 12 September 2011, 13:19 said:

    She does know what is called the “Iron Curtain” does she? Is that supposed to be one of her deeper meanings, maybe?

    I’ve been meaning to comment on this for some time. Gloria’s last name is Tesch, but her mother’s maiden name appears to be Terlukova, a Russian name. Maya and Joey come across a high metal wall in a chapter called “The Iron Curtain.” It’s not hard to piece the clues together.

    The Iron Curtain, a phrase coined by Winston Churchill, became the classic description of the thick security barrier separating Soviet-occupied from western Europe. Obviously, her dad is a native of the former East Germany and her parents met there before the Cold War ended.

    In interviews, Gloria has said her parents are “from Russia.” Apparently she means “the Soviet Bloc, including East Germany.”

  16. Golgi Apparatus on 14 January 2012, 19:08 said:

    “[I]f a person does not know what direction he has to go, any wind is the right wind for him.” -Gloria Tesch

    “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” -George Harrison

  17. Potatoman on 10 September 2013, 05:49 said:

    “We have to concentrate on our own inner mind because there is no security in the world.” (page 124)


  18. TB Tabby on 24 November 2015, 17:54 said:

    A crying unicorn? Does Strong Bad need to come down from his crystal fortress?