Chapter Twenty-Two – It Is Your Life
That is a pissed-off fairy.
Libertine’s cohorts take off in the sky. Libertine exposits to Maya and Joey that the doves are heading for Mundan, where Captain Henry and Danny (Danny was that one kid from the last book whose father tried to kill them all) are waiting. Apparently Henry has purchased tickets aboard a ship to Arkadia. Now, I think this is a good time to bust out our map:
Maya and Joey are approximately where the X is, and they’re heading for Mundan, for no apparent reason. From there, they’re going to hop onto a ship and head south (because Maradonia is trendy and East points up on maps) to Arkadia, for no apparent reason. You know, I distinctly recall Maya and Joey being summoned back to Maradonia to help King Genarius, and Genarius, as I recall, lives in Selinka. Now, this might just be me, but it seems like they’re taking an awfully roundabout way to get there. Not to mention that Maya and Joey have Tarnkappes, and can travel a mile in a single jump. It shouldn’t take them more than a day, maybe two, to travel to Selinka. I admit that I have no fucking idea how big Maradonia is (because Tesch certainly doesn’t), but I do know that regardless of how big it is, it’s going to be a lot faster to travel via Tarnkappe than sitting aboard a slow-moving ship.
This is why you don’t give characters ridiculously powerful Deus Ex Machina hats.
Admittedly, I have a pretty good idea why Tesch is trying to contrive her characters aboard this ship, and it’s called The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
Maya asks Libertine why she has to leave, because every time she does, they get into trouble soon afterward. Libertine shakes her head and explains that they still don’t understand why she’s there:
“We are only assigned to prepare your way through the Land of Maradonia and to warn you before you run into trouble. You must understand… It is not our journey!” (page 178)
Got it? All Libertine can do is explain what is coming and get them ready for it, and then reappear to warn them in advance if they’re about to encounter trouble. But she can’t actually help them, because, y’know, it’s not her journey.
Anyway, Joey leaps in to diffuse the…situation. He apologizes to Libertine, thanks her for all her help, and says they’re ready to help Genarius.
Maya was astonished over her brother’s wisdom and how he handled this tricky situation (page 179).
No seriously. What?
I’m sorry. A tricky situation? How the fuck was that a tricky situation? Libertine wasn’t angry. She was possibly mildly exasperated. And how was Joey apologizing displaying wisdom? This…I…words are failing me. Here, let me give an illustration to…illustrate…just how fucking ridiculous this is:
Maya looked up at the menu. “I’ll have a McGriddle, please.”
“We’re not serving those anymore. It’s noon, we’re on the lunch menu,” replied the McDonald’s employee.
Joey broke in smoothly. “Sorry, she didn’t realize that. She’ll have a Big Mac.”
Maya was astonished over her brother’s wisdom and how he handled this tricky situation (page 2319).
This is not that critical.
Maya and Joey take off, but it turns out Big Bertha has been hanging around and she spots them leaving. She sends her sister Dodoo off to fetch the fairies. Then Maya and Joey put their Tarnkappes on and vanish, which surprises Bertha. Bertha then exposits about how she doesn’t understand how they are so powerful, and then, a few sentences later, answers her own question by pointing out that Joey has the Key to the Underworld.
Eventually the fairies show up and want to know where Maya and Joey went. Bertha explains they vanished.
Lorris screamed, “Don’t give us that crap!” (page 184)
I don’t know why this amuses me, but it does.
Anyway, the ravens take off for Mundan because they guess that Maya and Joey are going that way, which of course they are.
Chapter Twenty-Three – Destination Arkadia
We get some exposition about Mundan. Apparently, passing through Mundan is the only way for ocean liners [wait. Maradonia has fucking ocean liners?] to get to Selinka. Because there are drifting sand masses [???] near the Thordis River which have made it too shallow for the large ships to travel through. The exposition goes on for three pages but it isn’t remotely interesting.
Maya and Joey take off their Tarnkappes, because hell, it’s not like they’re being hunted by the Powers of Evil who Believe in Teamwork. They stroll around looking at Mundan and enjoying the sights and sounds and who should they run into but Danny, that kid. Odd, how in an enormous bustling coastal city you would just happen to run into one of the very few people there to meet you. Maya and Joey hug him and marvel about how he’s grown up, because he used to be eleven and now he’s tall. Yeah. That’s all Tesch reveals. But apparently he hit his growth spurt.
They meet up with Captain Henry who greets them formally and explains he has twenty-four elite soldiers with them as escorts.
It was the first time during this journey that the teenagers realized deeply in their mind that they were just not some teenagers from Oceanside but that they were an integral part of the royal family of Maradonia (page 191).
First of all, they can’t have a “mind”, they are not the Borg, they don’t have a hive mind. Second, we spent PAGES establishing how Maya is all wrapped up in the fact that she’s a Princess and is having difficulty establishing what is Real and what is not. And now she’s forgotten about all that?
There’s an awkward moment, and then they head for the Sea Serpent, their ship. Maya stops at the beach and she sees a mermaid pop her head and look at Maya with cold cruel eyes. Maya thinks it was Morgana, who, as you may recall, has the hots for Joey. However, this mermaid’s glare sends shivers down Maya’s back. File this one under Obvious Foreshadowing.
Just as they arrive, one of the conductors [?] shouts “All aboard!” Amazing how a completely different country in a completely different universe uses the exact same terms as people in America, isn’t it?
They hop aboard the ship and set sail. Captain Henry and Danny start explaining everything bad that has been happening in Maradonia, while Maya watches the weather. We get half a page describing the weather, and all the bad stuff is completely skipped. I’m dead serious. The entire reason why Maya and Joey were summoned back into Maradonia was because of all the bad things that had been happening, and when we finally get the point where we’re going to learn everything that has happened, Tesch decides to skip it entirely and spend the time talking about the fucking weather.
Nothing happens for awhile. After a page of nothing, Joey happens to see weird things with long tails flying. Danny explains that they’re fire dragons from Tyronia. Joey knows just how to express what he feels:
“Maradonia is indeed a wonderland with many surprises!” (pages 195-196)
Chapter Twenty-Four – The Basio Cyclone
It’s getting hard to sail because there’s wind, which doesn’t really make a huge amount of sense. Maya sees a storm coming. She heads over to Captain Charlie, who’s smoking a pipe, and tells him that she had a dream during the last twilight. Charlie has a delightful sarcastic comeback:
“You had a dream? How nice… I have had no dreams for years but I have to confess that I am mostly pretty drunk when I go to bed!” (page 198)
Charlie is now my favorite character in this book.
Honestly, though, I don’t understand why characters in books put so much stock into dreams. I realize this is a pretty popular trope, but I have had many, many dreams, packed chock full of meaning, and absolutely none of them have ever predicted an upcoming disaster.
Maya explains that in the dream, seven white doves warned her about the trip and said that they needed to head into a harbor to weather out the storm. Charlie doesn’t believe her and makes fun of her and says that even King Roach (essentially, God) can’t sink this ship. Whoops. You might have made a mistake there, buddy. Saying that never ends well.
Maya warns him not to test King Roach, and Charlie suddenly gets a bad feeling. Then the storm hits and batters the shit out of the ship. They are driven around for awhile. After awhile Maya and Joey go up to Charlie tell him “I told you so,” but also that nobody is going to die. And no, it isn’t explained how they know that.
The storm continues for two more pages. Maya and Joey encourage everyone to eat, because they haven’t been eating…for some reason:
“Therefore we urge you today to take nourishment.” (page 206)
Yes. That is precisely what a couple teenagers from modern America say.
Finally everyone eats and then they throw the wheat overboard in a Wheat Offering to hopefully calm the ocean. This is retarded, of course, but I actually like it, because for once Tesch is showing a very different culture from ours.
The ship runs aground and then the ocean starts slowly battering the ship apart. They try to get people off via lifeboat but there are huge waves and people are getting swept away left and right, including Danny, who screams that he cannot swim. Maya dives in after him, grabs him, and pulls him into the surface. In the middle of a fucking hurricane.
And, despite being in a fucking hurricane, and huge waves washing over the ship, ever single person makes it safely ashore the island through the power of Tesch’s And So It Was…
Chapter Twenty-Five – Viper in the Fire
Joey stumbles around on the shore. Finally he finds Maya and Danny, and a few minutes later Captain Henry shows up.
Maya hugged Captain Henry and said, “We missed you and thought you were a goner, Henry!”
“Yes…I missed you too.” (page 213)
This is awkward because in the last book, it’s strongly implied that Maya has the hots for Captain Henry. This doesn’t make sense because they’ve been separated for what, twenty minutes? You don’t really get an opportunity to miss someone in twenty minutes, especially if you spend that twenty minutes doing your best not to drown. And this is stupid, because in the last chapter the Encouragers specifically said that no one was going to die. Why doesn’t anyone ever call them on their bullshit?
The island is called Isobara and there are friendly natives there that start a fire for them. Joey and some guards go and fetch firewood and bring back big bundles of sticks. Danny puts a bundle of sticks on the fire. As he does so, a poisonous viper comes out and bites his hand. Maya grabs the snake and throws it into the fire. Incidentally, this entire sequence, all the way back to the shipwreck, is taken directly from the Bible. Acts 27 – the apostle Paul is shipwrecked, and after everyone gets ashore, they’re building a fire and a viper comes out and bites his hand.
Danny’s hand starts to swell up. Maya takes off running and asks some natives if there is someone who can help. Eventually she tracks down a wise woman named Aretha who lives in a house in the forest. Aretha immediately starts whipping up a remedy:
She filled the glass with herbs and oil, closed it with a lid and shook the content vehemently (pages 216-217).
I don’t think that word means what you think it means.
Aretha tells Maya that they need to cut the wound open, pour the liquid into the wound three times, and then Danny will need to drink the rest of it. Then she asks Maya who she is because apparently Maya’s face has a special shining quality to it. Good grief.
Maya explains she’s the princess of Maradonia. Aretha very pointedly then calls her a queen, and explains that very soon a ‘Blood Red Moon’ will appear, and when it does disaster will strike the land and they’ll have to rule with an iron fist or Maradonia will fall. Maya heads back to save Danny, and as she runs, the words of the wise woman run through her head:
‘The deity always needs a circumstance to get in contact with you and even creates sometimes circumstances to get our attention’ (page 219).