First of all, knight-adventure fantasy stories are not generally my favorite. The Afterward is a twist on those stories, focusing on female knights and exploring what happens after the Important Quest. The book alternates between the quest and what happens afterward (thus the title), and I found myself much more interested in the afterward. It was only a tad confusing because in addition to the alternating time periods, the book also alternates between Kalanthe and Olsa's perspectives. All the characters were very diverse and interesting and I enjoyed the supportive friendships. I would consider this more of a character-driven book and this book really shined in that aspect, whereas the world-building wasn't as strong.
I've read two other novels by E.K. Johnston, and the writing in this book is just as lovely. Even though I don't particularly love this genre, I appreciated the themes and messages in this book and would wholeheartedly recommend it.