Random weekend question: Ace in the hole

You all know how much I love Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece (Viz), but I have to admit that I’m finding the current arc a bit of a chore. Now, you should know that I’m sort of working at the series from two directions, reading current volumes and catching up on middle arcs at the same time. And I’m wondering: is there a story arc in that middle part that will make me care about what does or doesn’t happen to Luffy’s brother, Ace, which I don’t currently care about, or should I just ride it out until this overlong bombast is over? Even the fact that Luffy cares what happens to him isn’t enough for me.

I sure do love Ivankov, at least.