Aftermath (Steph Swainston)

Aftermath is kind of a novella in the Fourlands Series by Steph Swainston. It’s actually a first look at the next novel in the Series, The Savant and the Snake which hasn’t been released yet, and includes some bonus material.
[Here are my reviews of the other books.]
Finished on: 27.1.2017

After the events of Fair Rebel, there are a lot of pieces to be picked up. When Gayle, the Castle’s Lawyer, wakes up from her injuries, Simoon, the Castle’s Treasurer, is already waiting for her. He is deeply unsettled by events and tries to find his footing again. He talks things through with Gayle, trying to figure out how to go on from there.

Aftermath is short and probably mostly for more committed fans of the series, with the background information and the glimps of what’s to come it provides. I really enjoyed it.

Aftermath gives a change of perspective, moving away from Jant who was the central character so far (don’t worry, he’s still there and still plays a not small part). I liked that change (not that I don’t like Jant or his perspective, but a change was simply nice), especially when it switched to Simoon – I wouldn’t have minded the story being told entirely through his eyes.

Simoon is autistic, as is author Steph Swainston, so that’s pretty cool. It does make Simoon’s portrayal more complex than most autistic characters are afforded. I especially liked that his autism was coupled with synaesthisia. The only thing I’m hesitant about is the use of the word “savant” – there’s a lot of baggage that comes attached to it, and a fantasy setting would have been a good opportunity to leave that baggage behind by choosing different name. But since we’re talking about an #ownvoices portrayal here and I myself am not autistic, it’s not my place to make a judgement.

In any case, I’m all here for Simoon/Emille and I hope I get much more of it once the novel is released.

The bonus material was also very nice – there’s a timeline of the major events in the Fourlands (which I found particularly enlightening), a descriptive list of all the Eszai that were introduced so far (and a few that weren’t), a list of languages, of castle parts and maps of the castle – I think a fanwiki would really pay off here. If I ever have more time, I might start one.

Summarizing: leaves me excited for the next novel.

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