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Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson

--Staff Picks General

Tress of the Emerald Sea

Brandon Sanderson
Published: 2023
Age Range: Teen to Adult
Genre: Fantasy

Tress enjoys an uncomplicated life on a tiny island called The Rock that’s situated in the Emerald Sea where she works as a cleaner, collects cups, and is close with the local duke’s son, Charlie. The Duke does not approve, so he secretes Charlie away to find him a suitable wife, but returns with a different heir altogether. Tress, who never had any desire to leave her island, decides she must find and rescue Charlie and so stows herself away on a smuggler’s ship. This leads to adventures with pirates, danger with dragons, and much character growth for Tress and her found family.

Tress is the first novel in Brandon Sanderson’s “Secret Projects” Kickstarter series–the most successful Kickstarter project of all time. It’s a standalone novel that takes place in Sanderson’s Cosmere universe, but you don’t need familiarity with that universe to enjoy this story.

Sanderson has explained that this book was inspired by the classic fantasy novel, The Princess Bride by William Goldman. He also noted that for tone, he looked to Good Omens, another fantasy classic by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. The most Pratchett-like influences I noticed while reading were the bits of luminous yet practical wisdom tucked into an otherwise whimsical fantasy story. So, this book will most likely appeal to those who appreciate either of those titles or any other book of philosophy disguised as comic fantasy. It may also appeal to anyone who likes great world building and action-packed, sea-faring adventure, coming of age stories, or books about courageous women and their found families. Also, of course, it will appeal to fans of the Cosmere–but those folks devoured Tress months ago and are hungrily awaiting the next in the Kickstarter series.