Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Review: The Urban Boys by K.N. Smith with Giveaway

Discovery of the Five Senses
Book 1
by K.N. Smith
Two Petals Publishing
YA Urban Adventure
302 pages

The 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 chronicles their effortless interrelations and later exposes the testing of their deep bonds, and introduces the reader to an array of supporting characters who alter the boys’ lives forever. The Urban Boys 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.

We wonder, will they pass the test of fate, and will each of us pass the test of our very own lives? Intriguing, intelligent, and full of action, The Urban Boys offers a memorable, emotion-packed, thrilling ride for traditional and digital readers of all ages! (first in a series)


The first thing that caught my attention on this book was the theme--five boys, five senses and superpower adventure against an evil almost impossible to defeat. The surmise promises to be a winning mix, and it was.

The author does a terrific job in bringing the five teenage boys to life. Each one is given an equal amount of detail and attention. None of the five stand out more than the other, which reflects well when as it grow clear how much their bond of friendship carries them through. I loved the real life dialogue and especially the normal settings and situations the boys find themselves in during the first half of the book. It grounds them well, making it easy for readers to connect with them before the more amazing part of the tale takes flight. I did have a little trouble keeping the five apart, but since they always worked together, the general mix worked just as well. 

The boys aren't the only characters in this story, but rather their siblings, friends, teachers and others also join in and sometimes briefly take over the stage. The chapters are broken down into shorter sections, many of these changing with the point of view of the characters (but not always). This constant shift made for great glimpses into different scenes and thoughts, but sometimes felt jolting and unnecessary. There's a definite narrative voice through the entire thing, which makes sure everything stays connected and clear. This also added some distance to the characters and events, which gave it more of a telling feel.

Although there are moments where things are described in more detail than I prefer, other moments have the action racing full of tension straight ahead. The 'fight' scenes are extremely well done, capturing the moment until I was even holding my breath. The evil hangs deliciously in the shadows, drawing closer and more dangerous as the story progresses, ensuring that the tension mounts until the very last page. 

As to the writing, it's a bit different than many novels in this genre--either one likes it or they don't. While the dialogue and 'active' scenes with the boys are a true delight, other sections are written with an almost forced literary flare. I'm not a huge fan of this style, especially in literature targeted at younger audiences, and then (on top of that) boys. This was a huge stumbling block for me and had me skipping paragraphs at a time. But I was still more than happy to dive right back in when things got moving along again.

Despite the literary style, which is simply not one of my favorite, there are several great things packed between these pages. The friendship between the boys is inspiring, their fight is heroic and the action scenes kept me at the edge of my seat. Even the characters which appear more in the shadows had a lovely chill about them and were masterfully done. 

THE BUZZ. . . 

"An energetic YA adventure debut with stellar action sequences. Smith's writing is intelligent and often lyrical. Her exuberant prose never fails to dazzle."- Kirkus Media
"Author K.N. Smith uses her mastery of the written word to weave an entrancing, yet powerful tale of adventure that keeps you turning pages in an unquenchable desire to find out what happens next. The author's matchless prose details cinematic fight sequences and fully developed characterizations especially in a final, stupendous scene that will take your breath away and leave you limp with spent emotions. Five stars for this imaginative and inspiring story, sure to be as appealing to general audiences as it will be to the YA crowd!" 5-stars - Publishers Daily Reviews
"I LOVE to read, but live a hugely busy life. It gets more complicated upon that rare occasion when a book is so captivating, so enthralling, that it is impossible to walk away. With only definitive hours in a day, something has to give. For me, that was sleep! And it was worth every sacrificed minute. “The Urban Boys” was the grand slam home run and exceeded my wildest expectations and I would bet, maybe yours, as well. Totally new concepts and a rich crew of characters – good, bad and ugly… and suspenseful twists that keep you guessing, and such beautiful, strong writing! A must read for fans of YA action/adventure/fantasy!!" 5-stars - Indie Book Reviewers
See more reviews:  www.knsmith.com/reviews

And here she is. . .

K.N. Smith is an American author and passionate advocate of childhood and family literacy programs throughout the world. She continues to inspire students of all ages to reach their highest potential in their literary and educational pursuits. Her creative, lyrical flair sweeps across pages that twist, turn, and grind through elements of paranormal and action-adventure in diverse, exciting, edge-of-your-seat narratives. She lives with her family in California.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Facebook


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1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi Tonja, thanks so much for taking time to review the book. I love your blog! Thank you also for being a stop on this tour! K.N. Smith