Title: After The End
Author: Alex Kidwell
Narrator: Gregory Salinas
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Story Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Narration Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Overall Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
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.
My View – Story:
I first read this at the beginning of 2014 and was an emotional mess by the time I hit the last word. There is no way to get through this book dry eyed as the story takes you from the depths of despair to slowly, oh so slowly, showing you a little light at the end of the tunnel.
Quinn O’Malley had everything he could wish for in life. He had found his soul mate in the form of larger than life Aaron who could wield a sword and fill his days with historical facts. They had a home together, they had deep love for each other and they had contentment. Then Aaron got sick and Quinn had to watch the man he loved more than life itself fade away in front of his eyes until there was nothing left.
That was two years ago.
Quinn hasn’t really said goodbye to Aaron even though he visited his grave daily for the first six months. He is living in a monochrome world where he doesn’t feel, doesn’t venture and doesn’t really exist. He has stopped drawing and painting, he has moved to a new apartment to escape the ghosts but still his every thought is consumed by the man he loves. It is quite tough reading about a man that is so completely lost to his past and sees no future.
His friends worry, they try to fix things and help him heal but all Quinn can think about is that Aaron isn’t here and that he is the one thing in the world he wants. The writing is so thoughtful and full of emotion that you will feel Quinn’s grief as the story unfolds.
Set up on a blind date Quinn meets Brady. Brady is exuberant, full of life and when he looks at Quinn he sees a beautiful man full of sadness. He is tenacious and when Quinn is scrambling to get back into his shell he hounds the man until they reach an impasse and become friends. With a new friendship Quinn starts feeling things he never expected to feel again, not with Aaron in his world, he balks at feeling lust, at smiling and at having fun. The guilt of this situation is thick and heavy and yet another thing that pulls him down.
The grief in this book is so huge that there are points where you think Quinn is never going to be happy again. Brady seems to make it his life mission to pull him back into the world of the living and he will use any method available. Whether he needs to be gentle, ranting or just plain pushy he slowly gets Quinn to see that there can be more to his life and that he can love again.
Although the author takes us on a dark ride through pain and grief there is also hope and light and it leaves you feeling hopeful.
My View – Narration:
I must be honest and say that this is one of those books that I preferred to read rather than listen to. Gregory Salinas was easy to listen to but for me I felt that he didn’t get Brady’s voice quite right.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the audiobook of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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