Adaptively Radiant

Joseph E. Henning
Narrator: Steve Carlson

YOUNG ADULT/INSPIRATIONAL/ FANTASY/SCI-FI:  Over his summer vacation from college, Justin Blackwood travels to Japan to visit family and to see the country.  During his cousin Kaito Saito’s 21st birthday party, they both discover they are to inherit a family heirloom, a knife, and a pocket watch.  They soon realize the knife unlocks the pocket watch, revealing a hidden map.  The two then set out on a journey — part scavenger hunt, part mystery.  Along the way, they are joined by Justin’s sister Melia and a new friend Yori, who help them to put the pieces together and ultimately uncover truth long buried. 

For listeners who enjoy a good scavenger hunt mystery, they will find the concept of “Adaptively Radiant” intriguing.  They characters are interesting, and the look into Japanese culture brings something new to the table.  Unfortunately, the plot itself becomes muddled early on with the author trying to go in too many directions.  He also includes seemingly unnecessary scenes throughout the novel.  Although the storyline is unfocused, Mr. Henning does deliver a book that will bring readers into a different culture.

An adventure story at its core, “Adaptively Radiant” will take listeners on a journey around the world.  The locations and the food the characters encounter are well described and presented.  The pace of the narrator bogs down the already slow-paced plot however, which makes it hard for listeners to stay engaged to the story.  Although Mr. Carlson’s voice is pleasant to the ear, he does not bring much excitement or emotion to the narration.  For those who are in search of an audiobook strictly for a relaxing listening experience, one may enjoy this book.

Amy Cefoldo