Kalanthe and Olsa were on an epic adventure a year ago. They fell in love and came back heroes. But now, Kalanthe, an apprentice knight, needs to marry to pay off her debts, and Olsa isn't rich enough to qualify. Olsa is one of the most recognized people in the kingdoms, which makes her work as a thief frustratingly difficult. Told half in flashbacks and half in the more complicated post-adventure present, this story is a fascinating exploration of the question so many high fantasy novels ignore: what comes next?
"I love this book so very much."—Robin LaFevers, New York Times bestselling author of the His Fair Assassin trilogy
Romantic high fantasy from the bestselling 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. And 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.
About the Author
E. K. Johnston is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of several YA novels, including the L.A. Times Book Prize finalist The Story of Owen and Star Wars: Ahsoka. Her novel A Thousand Nights was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award. The New York Times called The Story of Owen "a clever first step in the career of a novelist who, like her troubadour heroine, has many more songs to sing" and in its review of Exit, Pursued by a Bear, The Globe & Mail called Johnston "the Meryl Streep of YA," with "limitless range." E. K. Johnston lives in Stratford, Ontario. Follow her on Twitter at @ek_johnston
"Johnston’s love for storytelling is catching."—The New York Times
"I love this book so very much. It's an epic quest, with female knights and female camaraderie and companionship. I so love how E. K. Johnston took all the epic's tropes, then not so much subverted them as reinvented them in her own female-centric image."—Robin LaFevers, New York Times bestselling author of the His Fair Assassin trilogy
"Delicately wrought politics, women in all kinds of roles, and a queer love story. I absolutely loved The Afterward."--Samantha Shannon, New York Times bestselling author of The Bone Season and The Priory of The Orange Tree
“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
"The Afterward is a beautifully tender romance woven deftly into a compelling adventure. Or maybe it's a commanding adventure braided neatly into an irresistible romance? Either way, E. K. Johnston has written yet another gorgeous, thoughtful book that I could have kept reading forever."—Sarah Gailey, Hugo award winning author "A dream come true for teens who love fantasy but never got to see queer representation in those traditionally cis-het-normative worlds. Pick this book up and let it take you on a wonderful, magical, queer adventure!"--ALA Rainbow List
"This is a tremendously accomplished novel. I admire it for its craft as well as loving it for what it made me feel. I recommend it wholeheartedly. Go and read it. Now."—Tor.com
★"Both the world-building and the LGBTQ romance are well done and appealing.... Delightful."—SLJ, starred
"A compelling fantasy world in which meticulously crafted female characters slip easily between chain mail and dresses."—Kirkus Review
"[E]verything I’d been hoping and expecting from a queer novel."—Hypable
"If there's a Bechdel test for male representation, this book does not pass it."—Rach H., Goodreads.com
"By the time I turned to the last page, I was basking in that warm, tingly glow of having spent worthwhile time with some great new friends."—Forever Young Adult