Author: Brandon Sanderson
(My) rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Before I talk about Tress of the Emerald Sea, I first need to talk about Brandon Sanderson. Sanderson is, without a doubt, my favorite author. For that reason, I thought it was fitting to start my 2023 off with one of his novels. I’ve actually read all of Sanderson’s books, so it was very convenient that Tress of the Emerald Sea was released on New Year’s day!
Tress of the Emerald Sea is a stand-alone novel within the Cosmere, which is Sanderson’s fictional universe where many of his novels take place. Sanderson originally wrote this book as a gift to his wife, who later encouraged him to publish it.
Tress was born on Diggen’s Point, an island in the middle of a sea of aether spores. After the man she loves, Charlie, is taken by an evil Sorceress, Tress embarks on a journey to save him. Through her voyage, she overcomes impossible obstacles and becomes unlikely friends with a pirate crew.
The novel has many parallels to The Princess Bride. The idea for the book began when Sanderson thought about how The Princess Bride tale would have gone if Buttercup had left Florin to search for Westley after he didn’t return.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Many of Sanderson’s books are huge – like, 460,000 words huge. With that in mind, I started reading Tress and the Emerald Sea with the expectation of it being a lighthearted, feel-good story that introduced us to some new Cosmere characters, and that’s exactly what I felt it was.
The story was narrated by Hoid, a world-hopping character that appears in most Cosmere works. Hoid has always been a bit mysterious to me, so hearing how the events of the book unfolded through his witty (and maybe a little snarky?) point of view was great. It was entertaining and I was given more insight into Hoid’s backstory.
My favorite aspect of the book was the friendships that Tress made along the way. I love a brutal betrayal by the protagonist’s best friend as much as the next person, but I also find it really satisfying when a group of lovable characters bands together to kick some ass.
This is a quick and easy feelgood read. If you like The Princess Bride, you’ll have fun seeing the parallels between the two novels. If you haven’t read any of Sanderson’s other works then there will definitely be some references and easter eggs that won’t mean much to you, but the plot is perfectly digestible to everyone, Sanderson fan or not.