Posts Tagged ‘competition’

Sōsei became a permanent member of Squad Zero and found out the truth behind the death of his twin sister. The rest of the VIUS members are now focusing on the upcoming Exhibition Tournament, perhaps more so than the year before since Issa is now the captain elect.

Story overview:

Leila tells her Master, Shimon, that she feels like she’s always being rescued by others. He asks her if she would like to switch squads, but she tells him that she loves her squad. Catching up with Sōsei, both he and Leila watch the official opening to the preliminaries of the 29th Exhibition Tournament. Akira (from Squad One) easily defeats his opponent as does Sōsei in the next match. The following matches are with Hibiki (who wins against his opponent), and then Leila (who does not win against her opponent).

Meanwhile, Issa (along with Sakuraba (Shun’ichi)) is stuck welcoming all the dignitaries from other cities.  As everyone is distracted, two Dracules infiltrate Mikuni city. Once all the dignitaries are seated and ready for the Tournament to begin, Issa takes the first match against one of his old squad members, Lan-Lan. She tries to defeat Issa because she is worried that he is being setup for a worse fate, but after some teasing and friendly banter, Issa gets serious and takes her down.

Leila goes to apologies to her master for losing in the preliminaries. On her way back she gets lost and stumbles across the path of a Dracule (Daraku), which/who just so happens to be the one she hid from in a closet in a former volume. Needless to say she is captured. Sōsei gets concerned that it is taking Leila too long to return, so he goes and looks for her only to end up being captured himself. Meanwhile the anticipated battle between Hibiki and Akira commences—with the current outcome not looking so good for Hibiki.

My thoughts:

As the author says, “A new story arc has begun! During these chapters, someone will mature, and a certain mystery will be cleared up . . .” Just as one mystery unfolds another takes its place. This is the kind of story that keeps one wanting more. Top notch.

Things to consider:

Ratings stay the same: thirteen plus. As mentioned in a former volume, Issa has a weakness for breasts. And Lan-Lan takes advantage of this weakness to try and defeat him. It is done in good humor, but I can see some parents thinking of it as inappropriate. The relationship between Lan-Lan and Issa is, as the author describes, “they were apparently close as superior and subordinate . . . or rather, like tormented older brother and cheery younger sister.” So don’t take it too seriously.

Opportunities for discussion:

This volume opens the Exhibition Tournament, which the story had been leading up to for awhile. A topic that comes to mind is competition. Ask your teens what they like about competition and what they dislike about it. Then ask them if they think Leila handled her loss well. Half the battle is knowing how to lose—something we could all probably become a little better at.

Past reviews in this series:

ChewieDear readers,

I’m just pausing in my regular postings to mention a short story that I wrote with a StarWars twist. The theme is Halloween, and the competition is for the Ethereal Tales, fantasy fiction zine.

Please take a few moments to vote for this story on the Ethereal Tales Web site (see details below.)

Here is a teaser:

As if in reply the bed shook again, harder this time. Nathaniel grabbed his blanket and held it tight—the image of Luke Skywalker wrinkled under his firm grip. If only he could pull the lightsaber out of the blanket and use it to defend himself. That would be a sight to see. No one would dare threaten him then.

A sharp pain pierced the back of his neck. His heart stopped. Something was behind him. Perhaps it was a creature from another world, a fuzzy furball, similar to the ones from movies such as Critters and Gremlins. It would chew off his fingers and his mother would find his bloody corpse in the morning. Did he dare turn around and look? Another sharp pain jabbed into his neck and then vanished. Nathaniel’s hand instinctively grasped at the wound. At this rate he was going to die, and slowly, so what difference did it make?

He turned his head and gasped. The end of a tiny crossbow was pointed strait at him, and behind it, the face of a small wookie.

“Wrrrrrrooooow,” it growled, as if taken directly from a Star Wars soundtrack.

This wasn’t his imagination anymore. It was for real. Of all the times he pretended the action figure of Chewbacca was alive, never once did he imagine it would actually happen.

Continued . . .

You will need to sign up for an account to vote, but it’s pretty painless and your information will not be shared. Below are the full step-by-step instructions:

  1. Go here to register for an account: .
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  3. Check your email account for an email from “”; it may be in your SPAM/Junk folder.
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  6. Next, either click “login” or go to this link: .
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  9. Click on the check box for “An Unexpected Invitation by James D. Maxon” and click the “Submit” button.


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