Part 4: Balls of Fire

Chapter Eleven – Crossing the Veil

And suddenly something very strange happens. Dominatio projects a message into Maya’s mind that tells her one day, she and Joey will enter the Black Tower and liberate several of the children. Not all of the children. Several. I’m not sure what will happen to the hundreds of children who have disappeared inside. Maybe they’re dead. That would be cool.

Maya mind-replies (in italics) that she is ready to go to the Black Tower.

Welcome…welcome to the Fifth Dimension, great Queen Maya! You have not only reached but also crossed the River of Time to the Fifth Dimension and now we can communicate freely with each other on the level of telepathy.” (page 86)

Yep. You can now add the skill of telepathy to all the rest of their ridiculous powers.

Dominatio reveals that Maya and Joey are going to rescue a family member from the Black Tower. Maya is surprised by this, because their parents and Benji are back in the U.S., but apparently they have more relatives than they might think. Interesting. I have no idea what he’s referring to here. Maybe Maya and Joey have a crazy badass uncle who also hangs out in Maradonia. Or maybe the Powers of Evil (using teamwork) sneak into Oceanside, kidnap Benji, and take him to the Black Tower.

Dominatio shares a bit of wisdom:

“Separation always comes before Liberation.” (page 87)

By this, he means that you have to separate yourself from your old way of living and thinking before you can be liberated into a new way of thinking. Which I can sorta kinda see his point, but I don’t think that’s true, I think you can adopt new ways of thinking and incorporate them into your old way of thinking.

Maya is ecstatic about her new skill, and suddenly she hears Libertine’s voice in her head. I guess Libertine is in the Fifth Dimension as well. Which does make sense. Maya asks Libertine to wait and chat later.

She pulls out her sword and announces that she is immediately leaving for Karthago and shouts out an inspirational message:

“Yesterday is already history…Tomorrow is still a mystery…but today is the generous gift of the deity!”

Electricity filled the air and prickled down the necks of the members (page 89).

I know I got chills reading that.

As if that wasn’t enough, everyone starts singing We Shall Overcome. Well. Chanting, I guess:

“Soon, very soon, we will overcome…. we will overcome…we will overcome…Soon, very soon, we will overcome the dark craft in the land…” (page 89)


Chapter Twelve – Back to Abilantis

Maya’s getting ready to leave. We get a couple of moderately well-written descriptive sentences which makes me wonder what the hell Tesch was smoking when she wrote the rest of this. Then she gets on Dasha and they fly and she flashes back to the advice Libertine gave her when she was in the hospital, about tasting the supernatural, being tough, and learning to open their minds to new things because of how awesome they are and more intelligent than the vast majority of the people on earth who are just consumers. Incredibly, although this goes on for a page and half, Maya is able to recall their entire conversation word for word.

Libertine starts talking to Maya about Dimensions and Libertine starts explaining what a Dimension is. It’s completely nonsensical and shows absolutely no understanding of the world we live in, but then again, this is Maradonia. Libertine misquotes Psalm 41:1 and then gives Maya a warning, because crossing the River of Time will give them even more powers over time:

“Especially be careful when you get angry and Balls of Fire appear on the palms of your hands.” (page 94)

Yeah. That’s yet another of Maya’s new powers. And apparently she’ll get more. Over time. Sounds like a convenient Deus ex Machina that will surface at some point just to get Maya out of a jam. Okay. Rant time. This is something that really, really pisses me off. It’s infuriating as hell and the mark of a bad writer. You cannot give your heroes some kind of skill that allows them to arbitrarily discover their new amazing powers at undetermined times in the future, and then pull them out later when they need something to bail them out of a jam. First of all, it’s completely unrealistic – people do not suddenly discover they have an amazing skill without trying to learn it and then practicing at it, extensively. Second, it’s poor writing. You’re basically admitting that you lack the skill as a writer to come up with a better way to get them out of this jam. And finally, it diminishes the characters, because they have to rely on random Deus ex Machinas to bail them out of their own incompetence.

We cut over to Joey, who is alerted that his sister will be arriving soon. He runs outside to wait and as soon as Maya arrives he runs over to hug and kiss her and tell her how much he missed her and how beautiful she looks. And I’m not making any of that up.

Maya excuses herself because nature is calling. After she takes a leak, they have a barbecue and Maya eats six [!] kingfish steaks. Eventually, she and Joey settle down with a couple glasses of mango juice and chat about their lives. Eventually they bring the subject around to dimensions, and Maya starts explaining it:

“The Third Dimension is basically the status in our old world in Oceanside. The Forth Dimension is our new experience in the legendary world of Maradonia and Tyronia and the Fifth Dimension is personal power over the elements.” (page 98)

I think that’s the Fourth dimension, Tesch, not the Forth.

They talk for a bit more until the conversation moves on to their trip to Karthago. Joey explains that they need to make friends with Karthago and beat the drum. Maya asks what beat the drum means. Yes. What does that mean?

“Maya, the person who beats the drum does not know how far the sound might go.” (page 100)

That doesn’t make any fucking sense.

I mean, it sorta makes sense, because unless the drummer is a fucking genius and knows precisely how loud the sound is and precisely how far the sound waves will carry, true, he doesn’t, but in context, as Joey’s statement, this makes no fucking sense.

Chapter Thirteen – Moon Light Escape

The coach leaves, driven by Melanie, who is wearing a soldier’s uniform and thinking about Kevin. Krimmy’s two maidservants, Jody and Jolena, are terrified because they don’t know what’s going on. I’m not sure why Krimmy is bringing them, then.

After an uneventful journey they arrive at the city of the griffins and Melanie calls a griffin couple named Artie and Aquila. Back in the day, Melanie saved them from the nets of the mountain dwarf hunters, who eat griffins….apparently. Anyway. They strap their luggage on, Krimmy gets on Artie and the maidservants get on Aquila, and they take off.

It’s very cold. But Krimmy is happy because she’s thinking about Joey. And it’s pretty:

Princess Krimhilda looked at the beautiful landscape beneath her and thought, ‘this flight is none like all the other common flights on the back of the griffins.’ (page 105)


I have no idea what that sentence is supposed to mean.

Eventually they start crossing the Strait of Tyronia.

Chapter Fourteen – Captured

And then the Rawkens attack. The griffins take evasive maneuvers but this makes Krimmy lose her grip and fall off into the water. Now, the text says they’re three hundred feet above the surface of the water. From that height, hitting the surface of the water would probably turn Krimmy into scrambled eggs.

Artie heads down to try and save her, and the maidservants convince Aquila to head for Tyronia to alert Joey so he can send dragons to save Krimmy. They take off. Artie, meanwhile, tries to pull Krimmy from the water but the Rawkens keep attacking and also a pirate ship is approaching and they start shooting arrows at him. A couple arrows hit him, and he takes off.

The pirates throw a net into the water and fish Krimmy out. They’re brown and sweaty and very uncouth. And then the captain comes out:

The most feared man of the seven seas had arrived, Geierkralle, the Shadow Monarch of Tyronia (page 111).

Oh no!

Krimmy is horrified. The pirates are rather happy.

“A young beauty, she is!” One of the pirates announced and as he smiled he revealed several of his yellow or missing teeth (page 111).

Well, which are they, yellow or missing? They’re kind of hard to mistake for each other.

The Dread Pirate Geierkralle looks her over and decides she’ll make a fine slave to sell at the slave market. He orders the pirates to chain her up. Look, Geierky, I’m not trying to tell you how to do your job, but here’s the thing: if people suddenly plummet out of the sky in the middle of the ocean and land in the water, you might want to ask them some basic questions about who they are and what their story is. I’m not saying every one of them will be a princess, but they probably have access to money and could be ransomed.

Anyway. I am delighted by the idea of Krimmy being sold into slavery. I am hoping this happens.

Chapter Fifteen – Uncontrolled Temper

And….we’re back in Gorgonia.

When breakfast was served, Queen Brunhilda looked around. Something seemed different. The queen sensed something was wrong (page 113).

Huh. I wonder what that could be?

At her left side, the chair where Princess Krimhilda usually sat was empty (page 113).

Honestly, if someone always ate breakfast with you, and always sat right next to you, I doubt you’d sit there with the odd sensation that something is wrong and have to look around to figure it out. I think you’d just notice they weren’t there.

Brunhilda heads up to Krimmy’s room and finds a note there. Tesch gives us the entire note in a special handwriting font. The note itself is brilliant, but I’m only going to quote one part:

I will fly to Tyronia, and by the time you read this I may already be there. I want to live my own life…without you bossing me around.

I’m sick and tired of fighting with you!

I feel I am in a prison. And I’ve been pressured after all these years, I have no real friends.

Thank you for being a great sister (page 114).

The terrible sentence structure aside…Krimmy really needs to make up her mind. Either Brunhilda is a bitch or she’s a great sister.

The note ends with Krimmy putting a little red heart next to her name. But Brunhilda is furious. She quickly realizes Krimmy is too much of a dunce to have thought this up by herself, and heads off to find Melanie.

Brunhilda’s body loomed over Skinny Minnie Melanie’s like a huge tower (page 115).

Skinny Minnie Melanie? Really?

Melanie launches into a speech about how the sisters fight all the time and Krimmy deserves better. Brunhilda bashes her across the face. Balthazar, Brunhilda’s husband, runs in and tries to calm Brunhilda down. He also agrees with what Melanie did. In a rage, Brunhilda throws some wine glasses everywhere and storms off.

Melanie screams in pain, because her jaw is broken, which I think would keep you from doing any screaming. Melanie can’t bare the pain, and yes, it’s written as bare. Balthazar summons a doctor.

Brunhilda goes outside, and after awhile she calms down and starts feeling bad about what’s happened. So she goes inside and apologizes about breaking Melanie’s jaw and knocking two teeth out.

Melanie answered with a painful smile (page 118).

You know, I’m not entirely sure Tesch understands the concept of “broken jaw” here.

Then Brunhilda sits down and starts to cry.

Drinks: 66


  10 Responses to “Part 4: Balls of Fire”

  1. I hope Krimmy get sold too.

  2. While I don’t want to write Tesch’s book for her, (the gods forbid anyone who wants to have a career in this field be associated with her rancid display of tree genocide) there are some slight adjustments I feel would make the story more gripping:

    Step 1: Buy Krimmy
    Step 2: Kill Krimmy
    Step 3: ????
    Step 4: Profit!!!

  3. Thanks again, this made me both laugh and groan several times 🙂 I wonder just how many more nifty abilities the great M&J will have… They could learn to fly, maybe shoot death rays from their eyes, speak every language known to man and a few imaginary ones? Really, I’ve thought some other characters were Mary/Gary Sues, but these two are on their own level.

  4. “Yesterday is already history…Tomorrow is still a mystery…but today is the generous gift of the deity!”

    Anyone else hear this said in the voice of Oogway?

  5. Yes I did.

  6. Why is she bringing them? Because she’s a spoiled pampered princess, that’s why. And is it just me, or were all the Rawkens supposedly sacrificed in a (successful) attempt to get Joey to use the key? As for the sisters bit, well, I thought she was being sarcastic.

  7. “Well, which are they, yellow or missing? They’re kind of hard to mistake for each other.”

    ## Some are missing, some are yellow, none are both. Simples.

  8. They haven’t breathed fire – yet. Tesch likes to crib from Revelation – maybe Rev. 11 will get a look-in. The chapter contains a lot of stuff that would fit nicely with what the Maradoniaverse is already known to contain.

    Am I alone in noticing that her evil characters (who believe in Teamwork) are not in the least scary ? Apollyon = Satan in the Maradoniaverse – so he should be terrifying; like Morgoth or Sauron, who are. But he’s laughable. Ditto Gertie & Co.

  9. Aaaaaand Tesch continues her annoying habit of using German words and names – “Geierkralle” means “vulture claw”… Pretty obvious bad guy name…

  10. That drum saying is the best ice cream koan she’s ever written. I love it. That means she must have stolen it from some other book.