Title: After the End
Author: Alex Kidwell
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link: Buy Link After the End
Length: 200 pages
Rating: 2.75 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Andrea
Review Summary: A sentimental and emotional tale of a man accepting the loss of his partner and choosing to move forward. Emotional and sentimental aren’t my thing so it wasn’t a good choice for me.
After Quinn O’Malley loses his partner of ten years, Aaron, to cancer, he withdraws from everything. In a single tragic moment, he goes from an artist with a loving partner and a future to an uninspired comic book store owner who barely exists. He hides behind a shield of grief, refusing to let Aaron go. He feels guilty for even trying to imagine a life apart from what he’d had.
The charming party planner Quinn’s best friend insists he meet on a blind date isn’t someone he’s ready for. Brady Banner walks into Quinn’s small frozen world and turns everything upside down. For years, Quinn has focused on endings, but as Brady begins to thaw his existence, Quinn realizes that one moment can do more than stop a life—it can also start a new one.
I think this book is best described as sentimental, melancholy and sweet. I can see why it has such high ratings. This book would be a good choice for readers who like that sort of thing. It’s not what I enjoy reading, so this wasn’t the book for me.
Quinn lost his partner, Aaron, two years ago. Quinn basically stopped living when Aaron died. When the book begins, he is going through the motions of life but he’s lost interest. I would describe him as being clinically depressed and in desperate need of some therapy and antidepressants. Anyway, his friend Tracy keeps pushing him to move on and sets him up on a blind date with Brady. Brady is funny, charming, kind and thoughtful. Brady is a great guy, and I liked him. He must see something in Quinn that I didn’t, because Brady continues to pursue Quinn despite having to compete with the dead partner. Really, the dead partner is almost another character in the book. Aaron is never alive during any part of the book, but he has a huge presence because he is constantly in Quinn’s thoughts.
I understand why so many readers liked this book. The characters and the story are well developed. The secondary characters are even good. I enjoyed Anna and Tracy and thought it was wonderful to see a happily married lesbian couple. At first I even liked how the couples were always holding hands or kissing in public. I’ve come to expect some situational awareness and response to it, but that was never part of their thought process. As the book went on, the lack of it started to feel unrealistic and that bothered me.
The biggest issue I had with this book was that I didn’t like all the emotions. The characters kept talking about their feelings with each other, and Quinn was constantly crying or having an emotional breakdown. I quickly went from feeling compassionate toward him to being annoyed by him. Then came the point where Quinn suddenly decided it’s okay to live again. The period of deep depression ends and the romance takes off. After that, the book was too sweet and romantic for me to enjoy. Every kiss was monumental and every sexual encounter was awe inspiring. I can’t understand that. Hell, I don’t even believe it’s possible. :sceptic: I guess the bottom line is that I wasn’t feeling the love or passion between them.
If you love sentimental and sweet, this is a book I think you’ll enjoy. If you’re like me, and that’s not your thing, you probably want to pass on it.