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The Healers' Road

(The Balance Academy #1)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  183 ratings  ·  33 reviews
An alternative cover edition for this ASIN can be found here.

Agna had looked forward to her overseas assignment for the last four years. It was just a side project on the way to taking over her father’s art agency, of course, but she eagerly awaited the opportunity to use her education and prove that studying to be a magical healer had been worthwhile.

Keifon never wanted t
Kindle Edition, 290 pages
Published October 18th 2014
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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Pauline Ross
This is an unusual book. Yes, yes, I know I specialise in unusual books; not for me the dull old treadmill of mainstream popular works. I read stuff you’ve never heard of. But this book is special: I came across it on a forum where the author lamented that she’d only sold… no, let’s not put a number on it. Let’s just say: not very many. So this is a book that nobody has ever heard of.

So what’s it about? Well, let me tell you first what it’s not about. It’s not about saving the world. It’s not ab
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
5 stars for this truly lovely book. It is such a shame it has not been read and reviewed more. Thank you Pauline Ross for pointing it out. The story is moving, the writing subtle, and the editing tight.

short version. This is well worth reading. I got it on Kindle Unlimited but I now plan to buy it. Give it a try. And if you like the book check out the authour's site. It was there that I found her link to this song she said was her soundtrack for Keifon's early practice sessions where he is obses
I read this for the first time several years ago, and I loved it so much then that I was a little worried about how well it would hold up on re-read. Well, I still love it!

This is a somewhat unusual book, meandering slowly through two years of life for Agna and Keifon. There's not a plot, per se, and the world building is gradual and fairly limited. But Agna and Keifon are compelling and well characterized, and slowly through the details of their lives we learn more about their world. The autho
Intisar Khanani
Dec 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Strong literary fantasy, with both cultural and gender diversity. This is a story of relationships and personal growth, of coming to terms with yourself and learning to trust in yourself and others. If you're looking for action, there's an exciting moment around the 20% mark, but other than that, this is a story of developments, hope and heartbreak and new beginnings.

I'm surprised this author doesn't have a bigger following! I picked up this book on the strength of Pauline's review. Her review
This was recommended to me as a slow-burn romance, and it's that, but also much more. It's about growing up, moving past your regrets, and building something new. It's very in-depth on characters and very light on action, but I didn't mind that at all. When I find myself tearing up over character's journey, that's when I know that a book has been truly successful for me, and I definitely did that here. Highly recommended if you're into character-driven emotional stories.
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is going to be a tough one to review. It's not like any fantasy I've read before. When I think of fantasy novels, I think elves, dragons, sorcery, vast empires, epic scale etc. The Healer's Road isn't at all like that.

Magic is small, and an everyday part of life. It's hardly even noticeable within the context of the book. Agna is a Balance healer, and her patients don't think anything of it. And that's pretty much the extent that magic is used in the book.

What the book is about is people. F
Stacie Davis
Dec 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love reading books like this...or rather, I'd be able to say that if more books like this existed. Not many do, so The Healer's Road was a very welcome surprise. The characters in this book are medics, herbalists, and merchants; in a brick-sized epic fantasy, people like them would be nearly invisible unless they did something to help or hinder the hero significantly. Here, two healers and their fellow caravan travelers are the stars of the show, and they carry the reader on a sincere journey ...more
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Probably 6.5-7, but rounding up anyway. This was an enjoyable read for me, so I won't give it 3/5 stars, but I know it will really depend on what people enjoy.

The Healers Road is a slice of life story about two radically different people. You have Agna, a rich, university educated healer, and Keifon an army medic, who get paired up to be a charities doctors on a year long caravan trek. At the beginning they both dislike each other, purely from cultural and assumed offences taken and given persp
Francesco Lanza
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is really a nice little book. It is fantasy (barely fantasy) slice-of-life with a little bit of romance. Or a lot of - it depends if friendship for you has most of the same connotations as a love story. If it is so, then it is a 100% romance book.

The tale follows terribly immature Agna Despana the 20 year old rich-kid-just-out-of-college fantasy healer coming from a Southern-Europe sounding culture and Keifon, who comes from some sort of vaguely Eastern culture and is a non-magical healer.
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I saw this recommended on r/fantasy for people looking for slice-of-life fantasy. I didn't really think such stories existed but this book came at the right time for me. The writing style starts out really unremarkable, gradually improving as the story progresses. It isn't anything bad--good enough at moving the story but once we get to know the characters better, the author's style gains some spirit.

I have so many thoughts but I just finished THR and I'm struggling to piece them together. I wo
Apr 14, 2020 marked it as not-in-rolla-okc-wi-but-want
I am considering because it's an answer to the prompt of Becky Chambers and Goblin Emperor, and because "(really, truly just slice-of-life fantasy, without much magic)."
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
Read this for the r/fantasy book bingo challenge as "Slice of life".

I actually enjoy slice of life fantasy and this book was recommended repeatedly so I gave it a shot.

Frankly I don't see why it was so hyped. I don't regret reading it and I liked a lot of the things it was trying to do but the execution was not up to the job.

So first the meh (because I prefer to end on positive notes, and there ARE some):

The writing is pretty average and the two protagonists act like socially awkward teenager
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
I feel bad - everybody else seemed to love this book, and I...didn't.

The first 25% was exquisitely painful. Everybody making assumptions of each other, and making each other miserable. It reminded me a lot of Fitz in the Robin Hobb series. Agna in particular. But that's fine, it's a deliberate choice of the author. It's something that I decided 10 years ago that I don't like to read, but I got through it.

The next 50% of the book everybody just became too solicitous of each other. There do come p
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's been a while since a book drew me in this much, making it hard to lay down and go to bed in the evening. Agna and Keifon (the main characters) became close friends to me, much more quickly than I expected, and much more deeply than I bargained for. I frequently had to lay down the book and examine the many ways in which their experiences paralleled and diverged from mine, and what I could learn about myself from that.

It's not an epic fantasy story. It's slice-of-life, and gives insight into
Dec 27, 2016 added it
Shelves: read-in-2016
this is a wonderful book. it's introspective and reflective -- a kind of slice-of-life character study. lots of little insights about communication, fear, love, courage, insecurity, etc. i really enjoyed this. i need more like this!! the two characters' love for each other is not romantic, and the casual mention of guys with boyfriends are just <333 ...more
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Would give 4.5 stars if possible. Solid fantasy with well developed characters. Loses a star because the world is not as well developed as the characters and can come off as flat. Some parts dragged and had very little to do with the plot. Over all very solid and engaging. First heard of this book through Improbable Island and got sucked in. Thank you CaveMan Joe :-p
**½ stars rounded down. I guess YAisms and weak worldbuilding annoy me more than I would have guessed.

So this book is called THE HEALERS' ROAD. It certainly features two healer-type protagonists, on a road, but the healing and the road are both very peripheral to the story, which is roughly "two disagreeable people with chaotic emotional states eventually become agreeable to each other."

It wasn't enough for me. Agna and Keifon were each annoying to read about for roughly half the book (almost al
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5* rounded up

I like slice of life stories, so this was a rather enjoyable read for me, and I think the slice-of-life feeling is done quite well here.

The Healers' Road follows two very different individuals who are paired together for a sort of mobile medical clinic: Agna, a sheltered rich girl, and Keifon, an army medic with a boatload of personal problems. They start off hating one another, and the story follows their gradual personal growth and burgeoning friendship.

For the most part, I th
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I found out about this book through a recommendation on r/fantasy for unusual fantasy books, and I am glad I picked it up. One of the main characters, Agna, had me so mad at her for like nearly all of the beginning half of the book. She was condescending, rude, and assuming, to just name a few of the things I ranted to my friends about. I liked the other main character, Keifon, better, but he didn't help matters in their relationship with his personality and the way he communicated, or rather, t ...more
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A cozy, slice of life story

I have never read anything quite like this, the closest comparison I could make is to the anime *Spice and Wolf*, which is also a small, episodic, slice of life story that happens to be set in a fantasy world.

I loved this book. I loved the relaxed, calming rhythm of the storytelling. I loved the shortness of the chapters, and how the story sort of meanders along, how you fall in love with the characters slowly as you come to understand them better. It's not a fast-pace
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to love this book, because I immensely enjoy slice of life books. Which is why I finished it, even though it was difficult at times to keep reading.
I just couldn't get into it. Not because very little happens, as I said, I'm all for that, but because I couldn't connect with the characters. They just didn't feel real to me, the way they reacted in many instances reminded me of children (not even teenagers) even though they were supposed to be adults.
It felt a bit more plausible f
Katherine Coble
Jan 13, 2020 rated it did not like it
This book is...there’s absolutely no feeling of place. I was given to understand that it was a quiet character study. I love books like that.

But there is no way to study a character if they’re floating in a descriptionless environment like a specimen in formaldehyde.

You get the character’s actions, thoughts—plenty of thoughts—but no sense of where they are, what type of world or what era it is.

This was a Kindle Unlimited selection for me and I’m glad to be out nothing but my time.
May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I knew this was slice-of-life. The title led me to think there'll be plenty of healing magic and stuff. It turned out to be a story about two healers adjusting to each other and overcoming their prejudices. About friendship and love and fear and caravans and art and so on. The actual healing part was quite minimal. I liked the book, but I found the prose awkward to comprehend. I got used to it after a while but I'm sure I missed many nuances that the author wanted to convey. I'm putting the sequ ...more
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
About two healers in a traveling caravan who initially hate each other but need to learn to live and work together, this is a really comfy story that anyone who’s interested in something small-scale should check out. It feels a bit like a fantasy version of Becky Chambers and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who’s a fan of her work.
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's so nice to read a fantasy novel where the plot isn't about the fantasy stuff. It's just there. I want more! More interpersonal relationships! There's no intense plot, but it never feels slow. I just went with it.
Those first 100 page, it's like watching two cats spitting and hissing at each other, and everything around them. Everything after that is just so wholesome and adorable, and there's not enough daws in the world. Very good slice of life story.
Oct 22, 2019 rated it liked it
This was so well-written! A bit slow for me and I would have appreciated a little more plot or focus on other characters. But enjoyable and worth the read.
Sep 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
DNF at 40%. Too slow paced for me.
Sep 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this slice-of-life fantasy. It's all about characters not saving the world. I appreciated the character development (great) and the stakes (low).
Ahmad El-Sherif
Another book where I was pushing my comfort zone, and didn't regret it.
The 'Slice of Life' genre is completely new for me. It kept treading on the line between relaxingly uneventful and just plain boring which was more apparent in the second half of the book.

Positives: Never thought I would be able to enjoy 300 pages with absolutely nothing going on, started strongly disliking both protagonist and ended up rooting for them.
Negatives: Uneventful as it was meant to be, the feeling displayed were r
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S.E. Robertson lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and their cat. She enjoys quilting, making bespoke teddy bears, gardening, working through her giant to-be-read book pile, discovering new music, and occasionally cosplaying as villainous characters.

Other books in the series

The Balance Academy (2 books)
  • The Healers' Home (The Balance Academy, #2)

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