Sep 30, 2014: Sam Fights the Mole Men is so much more than just a simple man versus man (or man versus mole man) story. Instead, the author has built an intricate world populated by compelling characters. The fact that this story happens to be an exciting adventure—with hilarious dialogue—is really just a bonus.
The story occurs in a world where humans have long since been enslaved by the Mundarte—or mole men—who live underneath the surface of the earth. The human slaves have been forced to work on farms to provide food for the Mundarte hordes. So, all the “good stuff” that is produced on earth’s surface ends up going underground via a pit dug deep into the earth. Frustrated with these living conditions, Sam and his friend Wally have attempted escape eight times with no success. While imprisoned for their eight escape attempt, Sam’s sort-of girlfriend, Abby, ends up being taken below ground by the Mundarte leader as punishment for misbehavior. Determined to mount a rescue, Sam ends up diving head-first (fairly literally) into the Mundarte world below.
This story’s best aspect is its imminently likeable protagonist, Sam. Being just thirteen, Sam has the tendency to act first and ask questions later, and his relentless positivity makes him believe that he will prevail regardless of the odds against him. With Sam, the author has created an endlessly charming character that the reader genuinely cares about. The story is worth reading just for Sam.
However, the other characters are certainly well-drawn as well. Abby, Sam’s love interest, is much more than just a damsel in distress. She is a capable, intelligent, and compassionate young woman who doesn’t just wait around to be rescued. Her actions are bold and courageous; at one critical juncture in the story, she even ends up being the one to rescue Sam. In addition, the villains in the story are more than just one-dimensional bad guys. The motivations behind their actions are complicated and compelling.
My only problem with this story is that the author introduces interesting plot lines and characters without seeing them through to completion. However, it is likely that the author left open these possibilities so that he could further explore the intricacies of this world in a sequel—a sequel that I would read in a heartbeat.
I would recommend this story to absolutely anyone. Regardless of what you like to read, at least one aspect of this story—the exciting plot, the humorous writing style, the likeable characters—is guaranteed to amuse and entertain you.
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