G.M. Burrow's Reviews > The Legend of Sam Miracle

The Legend of Sam Miracle by N.D. Wilson
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it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction
Read 2 times. Last read September 19, 2015 to October 14, 2015.

N.D. Wilson has become a bestselling author by perfecting a triad: tipping his hat to the best that history and legend have to offer, showing kids that they don't have to be British or a wizard or the son of a Greek god to live adventures that matter, and letting his own imagination run wild.

Leepike Ridge combines Huck Finn with Treasure Island, beating with a Pacific Northwest heart; 100 Cupboards turns Kansas into a Platform 9 3/4 that leads to dozens of different worlds; Boys of Blur springs from the swamps of Florida with bones of football and Beowulf; Ashtown Burials places an entire order of Indiana Joneses on the shores of Lake Michigan; and now here's The Legend of Sam Miracle, a must-read mashup of Western, superhero, and time-hop.

I have to admit, time-travel stories irritate me as a rule. And I hate the desert. But Wilson won me over on both in this blistering adventure about gunslinging misfit preteen superhero Sam Miracle desperate to rescue his sister from the devil of an outlaw: El Buitre. The Vulture.

Sam is destined to kill El Buitre in a gunfight. Sam knows this. El Buitre knows this. Victory has already been written in the book of Sam’s life. But what can Sam do when El Buitre controls time itself? What can he do when El Buitre keeps rewinding the story to kill Sam first? What can he do when he escapes death—but El Buitre’s bullets shatter both his arms?

“Every hero needs to be part nightmare…”

Sam becomes Poncho: the legendary hero with two grafted rattlesnakes for arms and the fastest draw of all time. Only he stands a chance against El Buitre before El Buitre devours all the riches and cultures, cities and peoples of the world.

Sam’s ragtag team includes Father Tiempo, the priest who “walks the secret paths between times”; Manuelito, the tall Navajo with a taller hat and supernatural healing powers; a posse of rambunctious boyhood allies; but especially Glory, the spunky and fiercely loyal fan of the book who is determined to help Sam live his story one last time—live it right.

With their help, Sam just might have a shot at victory. But when it comes down to the choice of all choices—save his sister, or kill the Vulture—which will he choose? And will anyone he loves be alive by the time it’s all over?

This fantastically creative tall tale will have you flipping pages as fast as Sam’s rattlesnake hands. Wilson is an astounding phrase-turner (some of his words are worth a thousand pictures), but he’s also just a crazy inventor, crashing elements from all your favorite Westerns of every decade into one: dust storms, motorcycles, cowboys, Indians, saloons, scorching desert winds, cacti and cool moon nights and coyote howls. Not to mention an EPIC train wreck. You might even run into an Earp brother or two.

For those worried about violence in a kids’ book (as Wilson is famous for), I’ll say two things. One, Wilson does an incredible job executing the action while skimming over the gore. You’ll feel like you just witnessed a shootout for the ages yet without getting a bucket of blood flung in your face. Two, kids are tougher than you think, or at least they would be if the adults would quit freaking out and actually let them read more stories like this!

The issue isn’t violence per se; the issue is, what is it for? Wilson tells stories of tough times and tougher heroes. His worldview is jolly and robust, his tone filled with strength and honor, and the good guys always win. A spectacular gunfight (or two or three) should hardly disturb the 10-year-olds. Just the opposite. This is the kind of book that will produce more heroes like Sam, like Glory, like Tiempo. And those are exactly the heroes we need.

That’s the best thing about The Legend of Sam Miracle—it’s jet fuel for life. No matter your age, you’ll want to live better, faster, bolder. Like Glory, you’ll say: “I only get one life story. I don't want mine to be safe. I want it to be worth writing a book about.” But beware: There is only one way to change history. “By living,” as Father Tiempo says. “By dying.” So what will it be?

Hurry. Read. Help Sam Miracle finish the story the way it was meant to be written. The way it was meant to be lived. Help him defeat the greatest evil of his time.

And after you turn the last page, what will you do with your story?
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
September 19, 2015 – Started Reading
October 14, 2015 – Finished Reading
February 21, 2016 – Shelved
February 21, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
February 21, 2016 – Shelved as: fiction

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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Jessica Evans Oh! You advanced readers!! You make me so jealous.

In a good way.

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