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Outlaws of Time: The Legend of Sam Miracle
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Outlaws of Time: The Legend of Sam Miracle, by best-selling author N.D. Wilson, launches what promises to be a wildly imaginative, chaotic, appealing new fantasy adventure series pitting its battered-but-unbowed 12-year-old hero against a time-traveling villain bent on taking control of the future. There's lots of melodramatic Old West-style violence (gunfights, knife fights, blowing up trains) as the cosmic battle moves back and forth between the 19th and 21st centuries. Protagonist Sam, who's been brought back from many deaths along the way, struggles with his destiny, connects with numerous friends, and tries to do the right thing once and for all. Lots of characters make heroic sacrifices; some are killed over and over -- and often return to fight another day.
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What's the story?
Twelve-year-old Sam Miracle, everybody agrees, is more trouble than all the other boys at St. Anthony of the Desert Destitute Youth Ranch put together -- even the one who's already torched a gas station. He's a physical wreck, especially his arms, which are so injured that his elbows no longer bend. Also, he keeps having weird dreams about stagecoaches, train wrecks, outlaws, and gunfights -- and waking up in the desert or in the emergency room. Then a menacing stranger arrives at the ranch, and Sam is plunged into an all-too-familiar Old West scene where, he gradually learns, he's fought and died many times, failing to save his sister from a horrible death and leaving the universe at the mercy of a power-mad villain. Can he get it right this time?
Is it any good?
One battered 12-year-old boy is all that keeps a time-traveling villain from having his way with the world, as fantasy adventure meets the Wild West in an appealing, outlandish series start. Well, it's one battered 12-year-old boy and a few of his friends, from his foster parents' strong-willed daughter to a mysterious Navajo priest.
OUTLAWS OF TIME: THE LEGEND OF SAM MIRACLE may make readers' heads spin like the tale's time-bending sandstorms as it leaps from century to century, gradually revealing snippets of a cosmic conflict behind a fateful gunfight. But adventure-loving tween boys and girls will cheer resolute Sam, his brave, self-appointed companion, Glory, and their unlikely allies -- and eagerly await the next installment.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the Wild West. Why is it such a popular setting for all kinds of stories? What happens when you add magic and fantasy to the mix?
How do you think it would feel to suddenly have special powers you couldn't quite control? What would you do?
If a villain took over our universe in the past, how do you think things might be different today?
- Author: N. D. Wilson
- Illustrator: Forrest Dickison
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
- Publication date: April 19, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 336
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.