The Afterward

Length: 9 hrs and 15 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (35 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"I love this book so very much." (Robin LaFevers, New York Times best-selling author of the His Fair Assassin trilogy)

Romantic high fantasy from the best-selling author of Star Wars: Ahsoka and Exit, Pursued by a Bear.

It's been a year since the mysterious godsgem cured Cadrium's king and ushered in what promised to be a new golden age. The heroes who brought home the gem are renowned in story and song, but for two fellows on the quest, peace and prosperity don't come easily.

Apprentice Knight Kalanthe Ironheart wasn't meant for heroism so early in life, and while she has no intention of giving up the notoriety she's earned, reputation doesn't pay her bills. Kalanthe may be forced to betray not her kingdom or her friends, but her own heart as she seeks a stable future for herself and those she loves.

Olsa Rhetsdaughter was never meant for heroism at all. Beggar and thief, she lived hand-to-mouth on the streets until fortune - or fate - pulled her into Kalanthe's orbit. Now, she's reluctant to leave it. Even more alarmingly, her fame has made her profession difficult, and a choice between poverty and the noose isn't much of a choice at all.

Both girls think their paths are laid out, but the godsgem isn't quite done with them, and that new golden age isn't a sure thing yet.

In a tale both sweepingly epic and intensely personal, Kalanthe and Olsa fight to maintain their newfound independence and to find their way back to each other.

©2019 E.K. Johnston (P)2019 Listening Library

Critic Reviews

"I love this book so very much. It's an epic quest, with female knights and female camaraderie and companionship. I so love how Kate took all the epic's tropes, then not so much subverted them as she did reinvent them in her own female centric image." (Robin LaFevers, New York Times best-selling author of the His Fair Assassin trilogy) 

The Afterward features a band of lady knights, a lovely F/F romance, and a unique look at what happens after the heroes save the world. High fantasy lovers, you’ll love this.” (Julie C. Dao, author of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

"Absolutely delightful. The Afterward is a queer fantasy that evokes series like The Belgariad and The Mallorean but puts a modern twist on them. I adored everything about this book." (Shaun David Hutchinson, author of We Are the Ants)

"Both the world-building and the LGBTQ romance are well done and appealing.... Delightful." (SLJ, starred)  

What listeners say about The Afterward

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Great book, one good narrator out of two

I really enjoy stories that concern themselves with what happens after the "happily ever after". I also enjoy stories that treat LGBTQ+ folks as normal people, not weird exceptions.

I was a bit disappointed in the performance Meera Simhan turned in as the "before" narrator. Her verbal punctuation put about 3 periods in the average sentence, and it was very distracting.

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Diverse Fantasy

I really enjoyed the diverse characters. It was sometimes difficult to figure out which point of view was presented at the beginning of chapters. Overall this was a satisfying fantasy story!

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Everything I've Ever Wanted in a Fantasy Novel

This novel is amazing! The characters are all so complex and fully fleshed out. The world building was rich and immersive. When the book ended, I instantly wanted more of the characters and just any stories set in this world Johnston created.

Often times, people will excuse the lack of racial diversity and the strong sexism found in typical fantasy books by saying it's somehow more realistic. With this book Johnston shatters that idea by presenting a casually diverse universe with gender equality. That's right, this book is centered on women of color fighting demons, struggling with class issues, becoming knights, and falling in love. It's high fantasy at its best.