This book takes the reader on the quest and also takes the reader as to what happens after the quest ends. It was a lovely method to pack twice the adventure into one book. Chapters are labeled Before or After to aid in identifying the time frame of the action. The book shifts from from third person to first person, so it's best to pay attention while reading. I couldn't multi-task while reading The Afterward, which turned out to be a strength because I was forced to focus my attention rather than let it wander!
The two main characters were fierce and scary, yet lovable at the same time. We get to know Olsa the Thief and Kalanthe the Knight. Their romance was sweet. Yet as with many romances, most adventures, and fantasy quests there are many obstacles in the way. The secondary characters support the action beautifully and allowed E.K. Johnston to provide a richness of diversity
This was a fun fantasy to read, and I hold out hope that we hear more of the characters' stories in later books.