Chapter Eighty-Eight – World Between the Worlds
Maya and Joey fly along on Sagitta’s back. The eagle rambles for a bit about how they’ve done a marvelous job and the prophecy has come to pass and so on and so forth. And finally Maya asks the question I’m sure has been on all of your minds:
“You know Sagitta, there are a couple of things which we don’t understand. Why did the kingdom of light choose us for this mission…for this extraordinary mission and what is so special with us?” (page 781)
Excellent question, I look forward to an answer.
Sagitta explains that it was the combination of both of them. Maya asks her to elaborate.
“I told you already that both of you are different in many ways but both of you are spiritual and you have an inside antenna for the sound of the ‘vibration words’ and the message of light. Maya has a total pure heart and she moves in faith forward. She had found the path of faith already before she heard the voice of Queen Aquamarisha.”
“And what about me?” Joey asked.
“Joey, you are a ‘pontifex’!” (page 781)
Pontifex is Latin for bridge-builder.
Sagitta explains that Joey is a bridge-builder and a dream and basically he has the ability to create bridges into different dimensions, which is how they found their way into a new dimension. So apparently Joey has this ability to create dimension bridges without even being aware of it. That’s pretty convenient.
Sagitta continues rambling about how they needed each other and never would have made it without each other. So I guess that’s the reason. Joey has mystical dimension-bridging powers and Maya has lots of faith and a pure heart. The novel makes sense now!
The eagle continues talking about how Maradonia exists but it exists in both the fantasy world and the real world at the same time. It’s a real world between spaces. Kind of like C.S. Lewis’ Woods Between the Worlds, remember?
Joey doesn’t get it, but then Maya explains it by repeating exactly what Sagitta said, almost word-for-word, and then it all makes sense. They talk about things all three of them already know and then talk about how they have proof in their backpacks that Maradonia is real. Which is great, except they never doubted Maradonia was real. Besides, if you wanted to know whether or not Maradonia was real, why wouldn’t you just look off the edge of the giant goddamned eagle you’re riding on that is completely covered in eyes?
Sagitta explains there are only a few real daydreamers (people like Joey) born every generation. So yeah…he’s Speshul. Eventually Sagitta drops them off at the swamp of Oraculus and takes off.
Chapter Eighty-Nine – The Nine Windows
Oraculus, as you may not remember, is the prophesying toad. He says hello to Maya and Joey and mentions it’s been many years since he’s seen them. Now, while I haven’t gone through and tallied up exactly how much time has passed (that’s a future project), at a guess, I’m going to go with a few weeks, maybe a month, tops. How have years passed? Or is this Tesch trying to say that time travels differently in different locations in Maradonia? I have no fucking idea.
Oraculus spends a page expositing about everything they have done. I know, Tesch. I’ve just read your entire goddamn book, you don’t need to spell out each thing.
Either Maya or Joey says that nobody will ever believe them. Oraculus says they shouldn’t tell them. I actually agree, that’s a good way to get a one-way ticket to padded cells. Wait. Never mind. Tell them! Tell them!
Oraculus then spends the next nine pages talking about everything that is going to happen to them.
Dead serious. Tesch feels like it’s a good idea to have characters spoil everything that’s coming in the next book. Now, I’m not going to go through and analyze every single fucking thing he says, because hell, I’m already committed to sporking Gold of Ophir, but let’s ramble through the highlights:
They’re in a time frame of one time, two times, and half time [???]
Teenagers are teasing them and Joey is angry
Two murderers sitting in a bar called ‘Spelunca’
‘Dominatio’ (a dominatrix? No idea)
Three wise men
The new city of pleasure [!!!]
After Abbadon dies a second time, vultures eat his liver
A gigantic battle for the key to the underworld
I left out a lot, but those are the most interesting bits. Oraculus explains they won’t fit into their old world, and they’ll have to defend themselves from enemies with their supernatural gifts. So I guess in the next book we can look forward to Joey burning down his school with the Key.
Oraculus says they’ll be coming back soon and some other boring stuff until he has an interesting quote:
“The one, who carries the ‘Key to the Underworld’ holds the opportunity to be the next future leader of all nations of the world.” (page 793)
If Joey becomes the leader of the world, I’m going to drink myself into a coma.
It gets better, though:
“This circumstances will lead to a great war in the valley of ‘Harmon Gorgonia’. The horses will walk through a blood level which will nearly reach their bellies.” (page 793)
Yeah, that’s not physically possible, Tesch. You can’t have a valley with two feet of blood. The number of bodies required to produce that much blood would make the valley so thick you couldn’t walk through it.
Oraculus explains that Joey hasn’t realized the full power of the key, which is probably why he’s torched a couple of forests. Maya asks how he will realize the full power.
“Three of his new friends will come and try to kill Joey and to steal the key. Joey will use the weapon for his own protection and defense. He will point the key towards the three men and the heat wave will be so strong that the eyes and tongues of these three men will melt in their sockets before their bodies fall to the ground and disappear. Only a black shadow of dust of these three men will be left over. When Joey will look at the three dust shadows on the burned ground, he will recognize for the first time the full power of the underworld.” (page 794)
And this series is seriously marketed towards middle readers?
Joey, interestingly, doesn’t even blink at this bit of news.
Oraculus keeps rambling, about crowns and how Joey will get crowned King of the dragons. Good lord. Finally the toad comes out of his trance and doesn’t remember anything he’s said. But he does tell them that he’ll see them again and when they get back they should talk to him because it’ll allow them to get things done a lot faster. Yeah, and it’ll spoil most of the book. Not that you have any readers who actually give a shit, Tesch, but if you did you might want to avoid this.
Anyway. Chapter ends.
Chapter Ninety – Tears of Joy
Holy shit, it’s the last chapter!
Maya and Joey walk along. Eventually they find the cave and realize that everything looks very different from when they were last there. They walk through the cave and get lost and find three skeletons and turn around and it lasts for maybe two pages and then they figure out where they are and get back out onto the beach and find Libertine. Libertine reminds them that, like Narnia, one day in their world is like one thousand years in Maradonia.
They walk along, heading home, and decide to test their Tarnkappes. They work and it turns them invisible. Joey is particularly excited:
“This will open many, many different opportunities for us.” (page 804)
Joey is planning on visiting the girls’ locker room at school.
When they get back home they see three police cars parked outside. The cops are on their porch talking to their parents. Their parents explain that their kids been gone all day and they’re very worried and all that.
Maya decides the best option is to just sneak inside, hide all their shit, and go to bed. Joey agrees. They do so and hide their backpacks in their closets under blankets, say hi to their little brother Benji, hop into bed and fall asleep.
Meanwhile, the cop asks their mother if there was any note left in their rooms. The mother says she doesn’t think so, but decides to check. She gets upstairs, sees them asleep, and starts screaming like a banshee. The cops, at hearing her scream, pull out their pistols [!!!] and storm inside. Yeah, no cop would ever do that.
Their father mutters about having been in their rooms dozens of times all day and he never saw them. The cops ask them why their children go to bed fully dressed and wearing dirty tennis shoes. Wait…you mean Maya and Joey were crafty enough to sneak inside and hide everything but not crafty enough to put on their PJ’s? What a bunch of idiots. Their father bails them out, though:
“Yes officer, our children are very special. They do things like that…all the time.” (page 808)
Amazingly, the cops instantly accept this and take off. Their mother wonders about how their clothes are completely worn out. She mentions that their clothes are ‘lumpen’ (German for rags). But yeah…she doesn’t bother waking them up to ask what the fuck is going on.
Meanwhile, Mr. Perkins the neighbor – you probably don’t remember him, but he was the one who told them about the Pebble Beach in the first place – is standing outside wondering what’s happening. Their father pokes his head out and tells them that everything’s copacetic.
Mr. Perkins was shaking his head and continued, “Man…I am so fortunate that I have no children… because today’s children are strange and different…especially these two kids.” (page 810).
AND THAT’S IT! THE END!!!
But, before I officially close this piece out, I thought we should take a little walk down memory lane to recap everything The Encouragers accomplished throughout this book:
I don’t really think I’m exaggerating at all. Now, it’s true that Maya and Joey did do a few things, such as rescuing the mermaids and unicorns from Apollyon’s fortress. However, at that point, they were completely invincible, invisible, and had godlike powers. Nothing could have stopped them. They didn’t need to apply any ingenuity to the situation, it was like taking candy from a baby. They walked into Apollyon’s fortress, noticed a poorly hidden secret exit, collected everyone, and walked out. I doubt they ever even broke a sweat.
The same goes for when they destroyed the Schwarz Pulver Centers. They were invisible and invincible, there was essentially no danger, and it was Genarius’ plan.
Tesch might argue that Maya saved Genarius’ life. I would argue that it was more dumb luck and the fact that Maya has a magical invisibility hat than anything else. Maya did display a little ingenuity in switching the glasses, although that was so poorly written I’m not inclined to give Maya any credit. Plus, she ended up murdering her dog.
Tesch could also argue that Maya and Joey agreeing to be barbecued was very righteous and noble. That’s true, except they had a choice: Fight and die, or surrender and die with the chance that your friends might escape. It’s a lot less noble when you’re choosing between death and death.
That’s literally all they do. Maya and Joey are observers in Maradonia while Sagitta and a couple other magical beings do all the fighting and bail them out when they get themselves into shitty situations. And, of course, in the process Joey starts a couple forest fires. That’s it. The entire effect of The Encouragers in Maradonia was to slightly damage the environment.
These are our heroes.
Three final notes:
It’s been 11 months and 14 days since I began sporking this book.
Throughout the course of this sporking, I have written 64,469 words about this book. That’s right. I have written a novella’s worth of critique of this damn book…and I’m only 1/3rd of the way through the series.
Lastly – as you are probably aware, one of the ways I stayed sane was by turning the book into a drinking game. After I sporked each chapter, I went through counting up all of the errors, such as typos, grammatical errors, formatting errors, incorrect punctuation, incorrect use of quotation marks and italics and boldface, as well as errors and inconsistencies within the storyline. Now that the book is over, I went through and tallied up the total number of drinks to figure out just how many errors are in Maradonia and the Seven Bridges. In my opinion, this is a very conservative estimate – the first several chapters I didn’t even bother tracking half of the errors, and there are a number of problems with the formatting of the book that I didn’t even bother tracking for my drink count. But I have a number:
TWO THOUSAND, ONE HUNDRED AND SIX ERRORS.
Even if you wanted to be extremely, staggeringly conservative, and throw out anything that is remotely subjective such as character decisions or perceived inconsistencies in the storyline – and let’s go overboard and say half my drink counts were for that, even though they weren’t…that’s still over 1,000 errors. More than one per page.
I’m not Tesch’s editor, and maybe Tesch likes paragraphs that aren’t indented. But if I were her editor, based on the book I just finished, I would estimate there are over 5,000 individual errors that need to be fixed in that manuscript.
I need to find myself a new hobby.
Oh well. On to Maradonia and the Gold of Ophir!