Adaptively Radiant


Young Adult - Mythology/Fairy Tale
248 Pages
Reviewed on 06/22/2019
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Author Biography

Joseph E. Henning was born in Covina, California and currently resides on the island of Maui, Hawaii. Adaptively Radiant is his first published fiction novel.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Adaptively Radiant is a work of cultural and mysterious fiction penned by author Joseph E Henning. Whilst on a summer vacation in Japan, our central character Justin meets his cousin Kaito and begins to bond with distant relations. They share a great-grandfather, and soon the two young men come to the conclusion that heirlooms left to both of them seem to connect with one another, revealing a treasure map of sorts. The map leads them to different discoveries and lessons from another world altogether: a world of fairy-tale, folklore and mystery from an ancient culture they both discover much more about along the way.

Author Joseph E Henning does a beautiful job conveying the culture, legends and mythology of Japan through this traditional folklore adventure with many modern twists. Justin and Kaito are young men on the cusp of adulthood, ready to leave education and head out into the world, but without much of a sense of real purpose at the start of their adventure. Along the way, and with the help of the tests and puzzles that they endure, important lessons about life and themselves are learned, making this a unique coming of age tale where the characters develop and grow before your very eyes. The atmospheric style of writing is truly enchanting, transporting us first to Japan and then into the otherworldly sensations that the boys experience with a real sense of cultural knowledge. Overall, Adaptively Radiant is a modern fairy tale work with plenty of heart.

Charles Remington

Justin, a California student from Hawaii, embarks on a journey of a lifetime which starts with a trip to Japan to visit estranged family. Adaptively Radiant by Joseph E. Henning describes how he is welcomed with open arms, and later is astonished when an elderly relative retrieves a tightly folded map from an unsuspected secret compartment in an old watch given to him by his grandfather. Thus begins an exciting voyage of discovery, a voyage that will take him and his cousin to out of the way islands in Japan, exotic locations in the Hawaiian group, and a thrilling road trip on the West Coast of America. Finding love along the way and helped by his loyal sister, Justin must face many dangers to resolve the mystery which evolves from the discovery of the old map.

In this fast-moving narrative, we learn much about some of the Japanese and Hawaiian islands, their ecology, history, and mythology. We also learn much about Justin as he struggles with the many challenges he must face on his sometimes perilous journey, following him as the story progresses to the final denouement at Death Valley in eastern California. Weakened by his long arduous journey and recovering from a car crash he pushes on, but can he overcome his final ordeal?

I found the storyline of Adaptively Radiant a mixture of travel writing, which was very good, and mysterious quest. I was enthralled by the descriptions of the Japanese and Hawaiian locations and foggy Morro Bay in California is beautifully brought to life. I found the mythological parts of the story and the local belief systems in Japan and Hawaii interesting. I am not sure if Mr. Henning is more travel writer than novelist but I can certainly recommend Adaptively Radiant as a great travelogue on some Japanese and Hawaiian islands and parts of California.

Nicole Reilly

Adaptively Radiant is a refreshing book, such a nice change of pace from the murder mysteries and romance novels flooding the market. I loved the details and historical information that were woven into the storyline . The characters were very enjoyable and made you want to keep turning the pages to see what would happen next. If you are an avid traveler or have been wanting to travel to California, Hawaii and/or Japan, this is the book for you! Great first book from author Joseph E. Henning, I cannot wait to read more!