Review: The Urban Boys by K.N. Smith

The Urban Boys by K. N. Smith Cover PhotoThe Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses is an action-adventure story about five teen boys who are mysteriously exposed to a foreign energy source that gives them extremely heightened senses. Sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell become hypersensitive gifts that forever change the world. The story offers young and mature readers central themes of loyalty, responsibility, honesty, fear, and triumph, which become artfully integrated with cinematic-level action and high drama. The story twists, turns, and grinds through elements of paranormal and action-adventure in a diverse, exciting, edge-of-your-seat narrative.

Overview: The story’s small town of Danville Heights, a carefully crafted universe, contrasts with the dark, gloomy town of Sandry Lake, where evil abounds. Upon the boys’ mysterious incident with the energy source, they’re instinctively called to Sandry Lake to root out evil. Their senses guide them each time. However, secrecy about their mission, furious battles with evil thugs, extreme fatigue, and stress and pressure soon overwhelm the boys, but they must find a way to embrace their fate. A lurking, Dark Stranger seems to know their plight, and a strikingly beautiful, fearless girl lends way to heightened confusion. Shocking details about these two characters, and the evil antagonist, the dreaded Druth, twist and grind the story even further. Despite tension and fierce battles, will the boys hold it together long enough to fulfill their destiny? Intriguing, intelligent, and full of action, The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses offers a memorable, emotion-packed, thrilling ride for young and mature readers alike!

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When I began this book last weekend, I was really intrigued and yet a little confused by the prologue. I think these mixed emotions can be attributed to the fact the author has a flowery detailed style with her writing. Which is fine, with a specific type of book, but when you have two adolescent males battling one another to the death, all of those overly detailed parts really begin to take away from the story at hand. I brushed my feelings aside and continued on, but once I got to the 20% mark, I just couldn’t push any further.

I am a huge fan of authors who not only tell you, but show you the world in which they are creating. But I feel this author’s style of writing is completely wrong for the age group and genre. At the 20% mark in a book, you shouldn’t still be overly describing every character you meet and considering this is a book about teenage boys, you shouldn’t be talking about how handsome their coach is. It’s an inappropriate use of this style to have it wasted on something as frivolous as young adult fiction. And while, I readily admit there are some phenomenal young adult pieces of literature, most still keep it strictly to the KISS method (Keep It Simple Stupid.) Details are great and they can really enhance one’s reading experience. But there is such a thing as too much of a good thing and this book’s details not only confuse the reader, but they clash with other details. For example, the town of Danville Heights is described as a small town far away from the city… and yet it has sidewalks that lead to the city. That doesn’t even make sense.

At just under six feet, his lean yet muscular frame worked diligently to contain the rising tension within, being careful not to give any indication of his next move. A black tank top tightly hugged his chest to reveal lightly tanned skin that perfectly harmonized with his long, uneven hair.

And with his hair still clutched in his hand, he closed his eyes and breathed deeply as he listened for Ross’ movements. Pacing a little, he rationalized that he was the only adequate soul who could orchestrate and command a new way of life. Surely, a concoction of domination that would ultimately gratify only himself.

And in the absence of even a hint of an exchange, Joaquin spun around and lunged at Ross, grabbed him by the throat, and knocked him down. With dry, brittle leaves and debris suddenly thrust upward, the two were covered in a dark, hazy hell as they pursued a violent struggle for what seemed like an eternity. – The Urban Boys excerpt

It’s a shame, because I really thought this book had potential. With the main characters being a group of teenage boys who come into some unusual powers, I was expecting a modern day Hardy Boys adventure novel. But the details drown any attempt at an actual story line. When an author spends nearly 10% of the book overly describing a football game, but can’t be bothered to elaborate on the actual event that led to the boys receiving their enhanced powers, something isn’t right. As for the powers themselves, the truth is this part of the plot not only didn’t make sense (excuse the pun), but it also wasn’t explained well enough. All of a sudden you have one of the characters saying out loud that he heard something. It’s his chapter and he doesn’t internally mention the sound, nor does he ever try to explain it. It’s just there and there’s no indication it’s of any importance.

Reality is also another factor that led to me ultimately deciding I couldn’t finish this novel. After I became frustrated at the 20% mark, I skimmed through the 10% of the book which was all about football. If I didn’t already find the sport to be tedious and dull, I would after reading about it for so long. I get it, this book is supposed to attract boys to read it. But let’s be honest, flowery descriptive terms and football don’t mix. So I skimmed through more of the book and discovered the boys sneaking out, late at night to “fight crime.” Meh, I snuck out as a teen and I’m sure if I had discovered I had super powers, I would have probably gotten into some trouble. So pretty realistic, right? Yeah, until one of the boys is injured so severely during one of these nightly escapades and they have to tell their parents… and the parents are okay with their shenanigans?!?! This throws up a major red flag. My son comes to me, tells me he’s been sneaking out and putting himself in danger, his ass is grass. Period.

All in all, this book is just a clear distinction that the author would be better suited writing a different genre. I’m sure there are some wonderful ideas, but they are so hidden in the details, that I didn’t want to take the time to look for them. She demonstrates a beautiful style of writing and has a way with descriptions. But those kinds of things are not for the young adult genre. Honestly, I felt her style of writing would be better suited for adult romance. Perhaps an editor could really assist in flushing out all of the excessive details and then the story would be the actual star of this book. But until that happens, I’m sorry to say I can’t finish this book. As appreciative as I am for getting the opportunity to read it, my head started to hurt from the excess of details. Based on it’s current ratings, it’s clear there is a market for this, but I’m just not part of it.

Reviewer’s note: I received this book in exchange for an honest review.



Did Not Finish


About Kristine

As an aspiring author, avid bookworm, fitness fanatic and dedicated mother, there just aren't enough hours in the day. I write or post about things I'm passionate about and spend my time trying to make the most of every day. Life may be a tough journey, but I have my ruby red slippers and am content on skipping along this yellow brick road until the end of the line.

3 comments on “Review: The Urban Boys by K.N. Smith

  1. What a pity. The premise was intriguing; like you, from the blurb, I expected more of a Hardy Boys type story. Good review!

  2. Great review, Kristine! Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂

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