The Fiction Fox
Review: Adaptively Radiant
Updated: Jul 13, 2019
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
Published: Self Published by Joseph E. Henning, June 2019
My Rating: 3/5 stars
In this 2019 fantasy adventure debut, we follow 2 young voyagers, embarking on an exotic journey across Japan, Hawaii and the United States West Coast after they find a mysterious pouch containing 9 stones of great significance. Along the way, they discover that there is much more at stake then they originally anticipated.
Adaptively Radiant left me with some mixed, but ultimately positive, feelings upon finishing it. First things first: it’s clear to me that this novel’s greatest strength lies in the beautiful descriptions of the different settings, and the incorporation of the local folklore and mythology of those places. I’m a sucker for these type of stories, especially around the summer times, as they almost act as a vicarious vacation to me. Adaptively Radiant did just that: I felt like I was there, traveling along with the characters and visiting all these places, and learning new things about them. I was personally not familiar enough with either of the cultures to speak to the accuracy of these elements, but I can say that I absolutely loved being introduced to them via this way. Secondly: the story is very fast paced, plot driven, and for lack of a better word: “cinematic”. It read like a movie in my mind, and I finished it within a day. That being said, for me personally, these stories unfortunately tend to be the least memorable ones to me. For all the character the settings had, I couldn’t help but feel a little let down by the development of our protagonists who remained very one-dimensional throughout the novel. The same goes for the mystery plot-line; although it was on point at times, it felt a little rushed and underdeveloped in others. I appreciate there’s only so much you can do in just over 200 pages, but I often felt the right ideas were there, but just didn’t come to fruition. Personally, I would have liked the book to have been a little longer, allowing for a bit more depth in all aspects. Lastly (and this is not a critique, but more of a question), I kept wondering what age-range this book would best be suited for. Considering the protagonists age, and the darker elements of some of the culture and mythology, this seems targeted at adults, or at least older teens. For that target audience, it did read a little “young” to me. I can’t quite put my finger on why (perhaps because of the simplicity of the plot, and the high focus on adventure), but the thought kept occurring to me.
All in all, I really enjoyed Adaptively Radiant, and I’d recommend it if you’re looking for a high paced, adventure packed novel, with a high focus on travel and exploring different lands and cultures.
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