Healers Series Recommendations

These are some books and other media that I’ve enjoyed that you, if you liked my Healers series, might also enjoy — based on nothing more than vibes, in most cases. None of these creators endorse me or even know who I am; likewise, I do not vet every aspect of a creator’s life and milieux before saying “I liked this piece of art.”

Don’t fall into that unhelpful polarized social media brain, in other words. Thanks.

Similarly, I am not interested in guaranteeing that any given work of media is safe or comfortable for any given reader, not because it isn’t important (it is), but because I believe that this is much more individualized than people tend to assume. I don’t know you. I don’t know what you need. You do, and so you are better equipped to determine what’s best for you.

For more rambling from me on books in general, here’s the As a Reader tag from my blog.

First, this post featuring a rec list of low-key fantasy (and its expansion here) is one of the biggest compliments anyone has ever given my work. And my book was just a jumping-off point; I’m not taking credit here. It’s a good list, is what I’m trying to say.

Spice and Wolf
Light novel series by Isuna Hasekura; localized by Yen Press in my region
Anime series, localized by Crunchyroll in my region
(I believe there’s also a manga, but I haven’t read any of it)

A light novel / anime series originally started in the mid-00s, and about to be rebooted in the spring 2024 anime season. I first watched the anime adaptation somewhere in the very long writing and rewriting process of The Healers’ Road, and I have to admit that it was an influence on one aspect in particular: THE BANTER.

Holo, a character whomst I love, is an arrogant asshole of a harvest god in human form. Lawrence, likewise, is a born mansplainer of a traveling merchant. They roam around the pastoral vaguely-European countryside and playfully bitch at one another while the plot deep-dives on nerdy economics concepts like currency valuation and speculative markets. Also, the dub is quite good, in my opinion.

If you’re at all inclined to this type of media, I would recommend it. I know nothing about the 2024 adaptation yet, but I’m sure to ramble about my opinions on the blog.

The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula LeGuin

I’m kind of mad at fate that I didn’t read any LeGuin until I was in college. But here we are, all the same. I don’t fully feel equipped to talk about this series except that it is one of my favorites, and the later books (which veer away from grand quests toward a smaller scale) were massively influential to me. But then, so was the second book, which is also peak banter.

It’s not to everyone’s taste — the style can hit some readers as ponderous, plotless or detached — and that’s okay, too. We don’t all have to like the same things.

Wyngraf: The Magazine of Cozy Fantasy (literary magazine / short story and novella compilations)

In a happy coincidence, I get the feeling that Wyngraf’s editorial definition of “cozy fantasy” is fairly close to my own tastes. I’ve enjoyed every issue and look forward to more. And the nice thing about an anthology is that if you don’t click with a story, that’s fine; another one will follow.

The Dreamhealers series (starting with Mindtouch) by M.C.A. Hogarth

Maybe it’s because I’m not in touch with the furry fandom, but the worldbuilding in this series was so delightfully out of left field. It’s one of the only series I’ve encountered so far that revolves around what I’d call a queerplatonic partnership, which is fantastic to see. (I acknowledge that the author might not use that term. My reading/impression isn’t The Absolute Truth.) It also has a character-first plot structure that I deeply appreciate.

I did get tired of the “no homo”-y thread running through it, but at the same time, I also understand how tiring it can be for readers to assume that every close relationship MUST be romantic and/or sexual. It’s not, and that’s okay!

Also: recipes. Darling. I never did make any of them, but I have vivid memories of drinking turmeric soy milk while reading this series, which I think is fitting enough.

A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers / the Monk & Robot series (I still have to read the second book, but I’m sure it also fits)

Probably the most successful Roaming Around Talking About Stuff, That’s It, That’s All book thus far. And if that sounds flippant, I apologize. The solarpunk-style utopian worldbuilding was refreshing, and it proved that capitalism does not have to be the center of every story.

Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

Okay, so you might think I’m just saying this because of the name, but I appreciated how this book grounds itself in its flawed protagonist and her internal journey/growth. …I do feel like it contains its own sequel, two-thirds of the way through; I’m not sure I understood that editorial decision. But that didn’t tarnish my enjoyment of the rest.

Also, I think this is one of my favorite book covers? I might be subconsciously comparing it to Dragon Age: Inquisition, but I dunno, it’s really cool.

The Steerswoman, Rosemary Kirstein

This series keeps flying under the radar. It’s technically unfinished, which may chase off some readers, but I feel it’s worth reading anyway. Having finished it, I recognize where the plot might have gone, but I can accept the story for what it is and how it exists at this moment.

The tone is mostly in the LeGuin vein, but a notch less introspective and more action-y: thoughtful and focused on knowledge over brute force, but not without battles and chases. (…Doctor Who, anyone?) It’s also … somewhat spoilery to comment on how it layers genres, so I will leave it at that.

Books two through four lean further into the action/adventure — a long stretch of book 3 is basically survival horror, at that — but they tend to contrast that with thoughtful characterization and domestic/small-town sequences that anchor the stakes of the story. G.R.R. Martin has a quote to the effect of “it’s all about the smallfolk,” but this is one of the series where I actually believe that.

Happy reading!