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Reviewed by Lexie Fox for Readers' Favorite
The Hollow Boys is the opening installment in Douglas Smith’s Dream Rider Saga series, an urban fantasy aimed at young adult readers. The book follows Will Dreycott, a teenager with the power to walk through the dreams of others. Cursed with a crippling fear that prevents him from leaving his home, the comics he writes about his adventures earn him enough to build a comfortable home in the center of a city he is too scared to walk around. When two other gifted orphans stumble upon a case of children disappearing, Will joined them in searching for those who have been taken.
Adventure drips off every single page of this book, with high-stakes action, novel characters, and world-building coming together to create a rollercoaster that feels like a blockbuster comic book experience. Douglas Smith has created a highly original spin on the classic urban fantasy and superhero tropes with which most readers will be familiar, stamping his identity on the genre while opening what I’m confident will be an equally exciting series. The absorbing prose draws the reader deep into this world. The wonderfully realized characterizations of Will and Case in particular give a layer of narrative nuance to The Hollow Boys as their flaws and strengths are explored. Each has their often unpredictable influence on the direction the story takes. As the opening novel of a series, this story makes all the right moves to encourage readers to emotionally invest in the journey being undertaken, then promptly blows their socks off as that journey unfolds.