Spoilers for all RWBY works preceding this one will be left unmarked.
RWBY: After the Fall is a novel written by E.C. Myers, with help from Kerry Shawcross and Miles Luna. It was released June 25, 2019 by Scholastic, Inc.
It focuses on Team CFVY (Coco, Fox, Velvet and Yatsuhashi) as they continue to work as Hunstmen-in-training in the Kingdom of Vacuo, following the events of RWBY Volume 3. They are called to a settlement where the people seem to be suffering from strange and unnatural spikes in emotions, which in turn are causing a spike in Grimm attraction. As CFVY try to figure out what's going on and protect the people, their minds continually turn back to their time at Beacon Academy.
A sequel, RWBY: Before the Dawn, was released on July 21st 2020.
After The Fall provides examples of:
- Call-Forward: Flashbacks to Team CFVY's initiation, reveal that Coco and Fox find the cave where Jaune and Pyrrha encounter a Deathstalker a year later in the main show's Volume 1. They realize what's inside and opt-out, as Who Would Be Stupid Enough? to go into such a foreboding place.
- Claustrophobia: Coco is revealed to have a fear of enclosed spaces, having developed one as a child during a game of hide-and-seek where she hid in a cupboard and became stuck inside when the door wouldn't open. She is forced to confront her fear twice: once when descending into a cave through a small crevice to rescue a trapped family, and when she is Swallowed Whole by the Blind Worm when it attacks Team CFVY and the villagers.
- Comic Relief: During a flashback, Ruby and Fox discuss who is the Comic Relief for their teams. When Fox tries to make out that Ruby is her team's comic relief, she denies it by pointing out she's the team leader. Fox pointedly mentions Jaune, who is his team's Butt-Monkey in the main show. Convinced by Fox's logic, Ruby has a mild breakdown over the idea that she really is her team's comic relief.
- A Day in the Limelight: CFVY are side-characters in the show proper. Here they are the stars of the adventure, continuing the trend of Velvet's Ascended Extra status, having gone from being initially used to showcase Faunus racism to getting her own Huntress outfit and team due to fan response to her. Now the team are the lead characters of the novels with their own important adventures.
- Emotion Bomb: Team CFVY's attempts to protect the refugees from Grimm attacks is complicated by one person in the group having a Semblance that magnifies the emotions of everyone within a certain area. This turns the group into a giant Grimm magnet due to the Semblance being what the characters themselves describe as a "mood bomb".
- Flashback: Every so often, a chapter acts as a flashback, telling the team's story at Beacon Academy, from their initiation at the school to the day the school fell to the Grimm and their decision to leave for Vacuo and Shade Academy. The flashbacks include interactions they had with Team RWBY, Professor Ozpin, and others.
- Human Traffickers: Carmine and Bertilak, who are seeking people with powerful Semblances for a mysterious party known as 'The Crown'.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: A flashback showing Teams CFVY and RWBY talking about the upcoming school ball, which is featured in Volume 2 of the main show. Ruby's idea is a "Battle party" where people fight to appropriate music. It is immediately voted down.
- Let's You and Him Fight: Villain-version. Since Carmine is too difficult for students to beat, Fox has Yatsuhashi erase Bertilak's memories for the day, so he'll think Carmine is trying to cut him out of the mission and his share of the reward. It works (Because Carmine and Bertilak's partnership is tenuous at best) and his assault gives CFVY the edge they need to win.
- Once More, with Clarity: In the main show, Team CFVY are first introduced in full returning home from a mission in Volume 2. The only thing that's mentioned is that they're a week late, so Team RWBY had to take over finishing the preparations for the school dance, and that the reason they returned late is because they had to fight so many Grimm. In the novel, flashbacks reveal exactly what the mission was, that they failed to complete their objective, and just how exhausted and emotionally drained they were in that Volume 2 scene as a result of their ordeal.
- Retired Badass: Edward Caspian used to be a Huntsman, and he's considered too old to fight effectively any more. However, he can still fight a good fight for a short period of time if he has to, and he's still physically fit enough to run across a desert while carrying an unconscious man when driven by necessity.
- Series Continuity Error: Team CFVY make reference to their time attending Shade Academy after the Fall of Beacon, and specifically state they've been attending for over a year. However, while the main series does have a timeskip following the end of Volume 3 and going into Volume 4, it is very vague on exactly how much time has actually passed, not helped by the Four Lines, All Waiting in Volume 4 having the plotlines desychronized in terms of time. Numerous details however suggest that In-Universe, a full year hasn't passed yet, one of the most notable being Volume 5 having the attack on Haven start before the fall semester, but the Fall of Beacon happening during the fall before changing to winter.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Team CFVY and Edward's bodyguards are forced to work together to protect the refugees from constant Grimm attacks. However, there's a great deal of tension between them, which is initially driven by the two groups having different jobs and therefore priorities, along with Bertilak having an extremely abrasive and rude personality.
- Turtle Island: When the refugees aim for a rock formation to seek safety from an incoming Grimm attack, they quickly realise that it's actually a giant Sand Turtle, an extremely rare creature that 'swims' through the sand. Team CFVY quickly realises that everyone can climb up onto its back to ride it away from the Grimm. When they get up there, they discover signs that other people have also spent time travelling and living on the back of the turtle in the past.
- Save the Villain: After beating Bertilak, Fox has Edward bring him back to the others alive instead of leaving him in the desert to die.
- Sequel Hook: After defeating Carmine and Bertilak and securing a safe haven for the Caspians at Shade Academy, Coco decides that Team CFVY needs to look into this human trafficking operation that's targeting unusual semblances.