My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I was very surprised to see some of the plot twists in this volume. For so long, it’s been nothing but a protracted battle and not tremendously interesting. I still feel they’re dodging a bullet with Ichigo and what happened when he last went all out with Ulquiorra but okay, whatever.
He and Aizen fight and Aizen starts talking, trying to claim the first 45 volumes were all leading to this point (whether or not Tite meant for this to be the outcome from the beginning or if it just sounded good at this point, I have no idea but I share Ichigo’s skepticism). He almost reveals a huge secret about Ichigo’s life when a surprise character stops him.
Aizen ends up fighting some more with Ichigo’s rescuer, leaving to fight Gin. Here’s the problem with a cast as large as Bleach’s: where did all the other Soul Reapers go? Are they all unconscious? What? I know some are injured but it’s like they disappeared. Anyhow, Ichigo finally said what I’ve been saying all along: ‘WHY is everyone telling every enemy how their ban-kai works!?’
Even more surprise character show up and this time the story is much much better balanced between fight scenes and plots making for a satisfying read. Also, the idea of Gin calling Ichigo ‘creepy’ is hysterical.
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Star Wars: Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was my first Star Wars tie-in book in probably seventeen years. I couldn’t resist the cover. Unfortunately, I have to add my vote for this being an Ocean’s Eleven/Star Wars crossover. This is not a good thing since I hate heist stories, but this is what I took away for Spring Break reading, so I finished it.
I might have enjoyed it more if Han was actually in this more than he was. On one hand, it was divided between all the characters in Han’s crew, the villain they were robbing and the Imperial agent who is using this heist to his own ends which was nice so they had time to be characters and not cardboard but on the other hand, the cast was too large and we spent little time with the characters we came to see. I was very disappointed in the timing of this as well. It’s set between blowing up the Death Star and Han on Hoth. Supposedly he’s been robbed of his reward by pirates. I might have been okay with that if not for Lando. I’ve spent the last 30 years under the impression that Han and Lando hadn’t seen each other in a long while so having this wedged into that time period just didn’t work for me.
And while Han is a smuggler, I didn’t like seeing him as a thief but he’s doing this to get back the money he lost so he can save himself from Jabba. Eanger, a wounded and angry man hires Han to help get back millions of credits from Villachor, a Black Sun gang leader. Han and his team can have half of the millions. So Han puts together a team, Bink and Tavia, a ghost thief and her identical twin, Dozer, vehicle thief and front man, Winter and Kell associates of a man Han wanted on the job. Winter is Alderaanean and has a perfect memory and Kell blows stuff up. Rachele is the social maven who pulls everything together and she also gets Lando in on this, taking Dozer’s place as front man.
So we have over 400 pages of heist planning and executing. It’s not bad but it’s just not my thing. I gave it that third star because it failed for me due to subject matter as opposed to execution so no sense in being vindictive.
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