Chapter Seventy-Eight – Flying Pit Bulls
That chapter title is one of the most awesome things I’ve ever seen. I’m not even being sarcastic. I would legitimately give Gloria Tesch kudos for that image, it’s brilliant.
As they head back to Selinka, the sky gets dark and one of the dragons is worried, because he’s not familiar with this new creature:
“These birds are fast like hawks but they look like big ravens.” (page 735)
What a stunning coincidence.
Joey, of course, overheard a briefing about these creatures which are called ‘Rawkens’. Yes, it turns out that the name of these creatures which was invented by his mortal enemy that Joey has no contact with has already passed between them. The dragon commander, however, calls them Flying Pit Bulls, because apparently there’s pit bulls in Maradonia. Then again, they do have golden retrievers here, so I’m not sure why that surprises me.
Tarakann looked skeptically at the Rawkens and said “A couple of five dragons can blow them away in mid air.” (page 736)
What, precisely, is a couple of five? Ten?
Dasha disagrees, and says that the Rawkens are at least ten times faster than the dragons, which I’m going to call bullshit on. The top flying speed is the peregrine falcon, which, according to some quick Googling, tops out at about 200 MPH. So dragons can’t fly faster than 20 MPH?
Speed aside, aren’t dragons covered in thick scales? And can’t they breathe fire? I’m not saying that the Rawkens couldn’t do some damage, especially if they outnumbered the dragons, but if you pit dragons against an unholy combination of hawk and raven, my money is on the dragons.
Then the chapter ends. What, you thought the sky growing dark was because they were getting surrounded by Rawkens and there was going to be a climactic aerial battle between dragons, ships, and flying pit bulls? Yeah, not gonna happen, at least not in this book. I guess the sun was just going down.
Chapter Seventy-Nine – King Joey and Princess Krimhilda
I hate it when Gloria tries to write romance.
Joey and Krimhilda – fuck it, I’m going to call her Krimmy. Joey and Krimmy go walking down the beach. They talk about their lives. Joey is very fond of Krimmy’s exotic Gorgonian accent.
She let her hair down and just at that moment the wind picked up her long golden hair, the Goldie Cape of the princess (739).
Her hair has an actual title? Capitalized and italicized? And that title is Goldie Cape?
Words fail me.
Krimmy explains how all her life she was gorgeous but inside she was sad and lonely. Because even though men from all over would come and gaze at her because of how beautiful she was, they didn’t respect her as a person and only wanted her because she was a princess and was rich and hot. Well. Yeah. What precisely do you expect, that being gorgeous and rich was going to attract all the nice guys?
Tesch then starts laying on the romance:
“You have treated me like a real princess, full of respect and love. I have never felt for anyone as much as I do for you.”
Princess Krimhilda grabbed Joey’s hand while they still walked on the sandy beach. Both smiled exactly at the same moment.
“Whoa!” Joey said. “That’s great! I guess, I almost feel the same way for you.” (page 740)
That Joey. He’s quite the smooth talker. Although in Tesch’s defense, Joey’s response is perfectly believable. That’s precisely as eloquent as I expect he would be in that situation.
They talk all night, and laugh and cry together. I have to say, if you’re crying together on your first date, there’s probably something weird going on. Maybe that’s just me though.
Finally the sun starts coming up and they kiss. It’s very romantic. Then a couple maids come out and are horrified and order Krimmy back into the palace before anyone finds out that she was out cavorting with a man all night. Which is reasonable, except they’ve been out on the beach and haven’t even been trying to hide from everyone. The maids could have come out and broken things up whenever they wanted.
Joey watches Krimmy leave and realizes he misses her already.
Chapter Eighty – Queen Brunhilda & Balthazar
So, Brunhilda wants to get married to Balthazar. He’s a commoner and the leader of the army. We get a little backstory on him. His wife left him, and he became a depressed alcoholic. Well, there’s two things I have in common with him. Now if only I could grow an enormous pointy beard…
Tesch hints that Balthazar doesn’t really have a choice about marrying Brunhilda, and maybe doesn’t want to, but then the scene ends.
There’s a wedding. Then Brunhilda and Balthazar leave and head back to their quarters, presumably to fuck like elephants, leaving Joey and Krimmy talking. Eventually, Krimmy has to leave and head home, so they kiss each other goodbye.
King Joey sat down again, like a little boy who had just lost his favorite toy, as he watched Krimhilda leave the party (page 747).
That metaphor really isn’t working for me.
Although, knowing Joey, that metaphor might be frighteningly accurate.
Chapter Eighty-One – A New Alliance
Maya and Joey chat. Apparently things are getting worse. The Powers of Evil (who believe in Teamwork) are on the move and starting to cause problems, which is refreshing, since they’ve been missing in action for the past 650 pages or so.
Joey needs to return to Tyronia to ready his army against Apollyon’s forces. He thinks that Apollyon is trying to challenge them. This astonishes Maya, for reasons that are unclear, so Joey has to explain.
Joey nodded, “Since I have eaten the fruit of knowledge and wisdom, the present from Queen Aquamarisha, my thinking has tremendously changed. It seems that a Tsunami of Wisdom has hit my brain.” (page 751)
Wonderful. So now not only is Joey completely invincible, owning a magical Deus ex Machina hat and a cross between a lightsaber, flamethrower, and the One Ring, but now he’s just eaten a fruit that has supposedly made him a genius.
This is fucking ridiculous. He is the Garyest of all the Stus I have ever seen. And I say this having read Robert Stanek and Phillip “Big Dog” Jones.
Anyway. As you may or may not recall, apparently there’s a rule that was sent down by King Roach (essentially God) that they aren’t allowed to use supernatural weapons when they fight each other. This rule is ignored by Tesch whenever the plot needs it, but bear with me. Joey suspects Apollyon is going to send the Rawkens to attack and hope that Joey uses the Key to defend Tyronia. The Key is supernatural, which will then given the Empire of Evil the ability to bust out their own supernatural weapons. Because apparently if the good guys do it first, King Roach won’t interfere…or something? I have no idea, and all this makes no fucking sense anyway.
Maya suggests they go take a look into the Henrietta Mirror and see what it has to show them. Because it shows the future. Joey wonders why they haven’t looked in it before and how they could have not used such a valuable tool. That’s a great point, and it’s because devices that tell the future are fucking awful for stories.
For instance, I wonder why King Genarius didn’t just look in the mirror to see if his son was going to survive or not before he committed suicide.
Yeah. Plot hole.
Chapter Eighty-Two – The Henrietta Mirror
The scales on the back of Joey’s neck itches. He thinks about life:
“If my sister would not have intervened at the right time, at the right place with the right crew, I would be swimming right now with Morgana through the blue green waters of Lake Lagoon, as a merman.” (page 755)
Which is true, except that he had already figured out what Morgana was doing and had stopped eating the roots, so no, it’s not true.
The next day a bunch of griffins show up to take the Gorgonians home, and we get a dirty joke.
Balthazar had bruises over his whole head and a swollen eye, but it seemed that he was also pretty happy (page 756).
I bet he did.
As they leave, Joey feels the pain of separation for the first time in his life for anyone besides Maya or his family back in Oceanside. Dude. You’ve been through two 800-page novels now without more than a single mention of your family. Stop pretending that you care about them. It’s not working.
Nothing happens for awhile, and eventually they get out the mirror and get it working. It starts flashing lots of images on the surface, with islands, rocks, skies, Rawkens, laser beams, explosions, ships, elephants, a huge battle with corpses everywhere. After awhile, Joey pulls his hands off the mirror so the images stop and wonders if maybe seeing the future is really a good thing. Instead of really discussing the pros and cons, they just start rambling, which leads to Joey pulling this gem out of his ass:
“Is it not astonishing, Maya, that even here in Maradonia, a land between the lands, a space between spaces and a world between the worlds, we find a harsh and hungry place on its way to materialism?” (page 763)
No, seriously, what? That is one of the most random and nonsensical things I have ever heard, and I’m 1,573 pages into this series.
Maya suggests that Maradonia and Tyronia sign a treaty so the countries will work together in case one is attacked. Joey is on board, but suggests they try and pull Gorgonia and Karthago into the treaty as well.