Sam and Glory are back, pinballing among time periods to defeat evil.
Sam’s arms are literally snakes whose aim and trigger-pulling skills make him a sharpshooter, and although he’s not a titular character as in predecessor The Legend of Sam Miracle (2016), white Sam’s front and center. Possibly mixed-race Glory’s happy with her role “guiding the hero, motivating the hero, saving the hero,” and slicing through time streams with time-wielding skills that she’s learning on the fly. The workings of time are sometimes hard to understand (a hand holds “a smooth rod of watery time”), and characters’ physical movements in action scenes are sometimes hard to follow. Still, the pages of action turn pretty quickly—volcanoes destroy cities, leviathan rises from the sea, a motorcycle rides on water, comic books of the characters’ lives change as they live the story—though ornate descriptions sometimes hinder pace. The primary villain is El Buitre, “a bloodthirsty, time-walking, arch-outlaw”; for El Buitre’s army of darkness, Wilson appropriates elements of Diné (Navajo) religion as well as Aztec characterizations. Navajo Peter, a main character in the series, is out of commission for much of the book, compounding the problematic misuse. A Peter Pan theme mainly serves to cement some retrograde gender roles.
Action-packed though sometimes murky in mechanics; not so murky is its free-and-easy use of indigenous tropes. (Fantasy. 9-12)