Tress of the Emerald Sea – Spoiler Free Review

Hello book friends! As some of you may know, Brandon Sanderson is set to release a couple of secret projects. Tress of the Emerald Sea is the first one, and while I didn’t quite have the cash to fund the kickstarter, I did have the cash to buy the regular book a few months later. So by now I’ve read it, obviously.

As a side note, if someone ever decides to sell their kickstarter edition, I will likely throw money at them real fast. With that said, the regular edition looks really good on my shelves, too.Tress of the Emerald Sea

Anyway, this book isn’t really like any other Brandon Sanderson book (at least not like ones I’ve read), but it was a super enjoyable read!

Tress of the Emerald Sea Book Cover

Tress of the Emerald Sea

By Brandon Sanderson

My Rating: ★★★★☆
First published 10 January 2023 by Dragonsteel Books
Fantasy | Adventure | Pirates
The only life Tress has known on her island home in an emerald-green ocean has been a simple one, with the simple pleasures of collecting cups brought by sailors from faraway lands and listening to stories told by her friend Charlie.

But when his father takes him on a voyage to find a bride and disaster strikes, Tress must stow away on a ship and seek the Sorceress of the deadly Midnight Sea. Amid the spore oceans where pirates abound, can Tress leave her simple life behind and make her own place sailing a sea where a single drop of water can mean instant death?

My thoughts

Let me start with worldbuilding. Normally Sanderson loves to take forever with worldbuilding, because all of it is done through dialogue. Here that’s not the case. The whole story is actually narrated by someone (someone you likely already know). That means that everything about Tress’s world is nicely explained in a timely manner. This world is nothing like ours, but I can’t explain too much about it or else I’ll spoil the whole thing. One thing can be said though; Sanderson really thinks about every aspect of the worlds he creates. That means everything has a logical explanation; the moons, the danger, the magic. All if it makes sense in an almost scientific way.

A big part of this book takes place on sea, but it’s not like you’d expect. There are smugglers and pirates, but these too, are unconventional. Tress’s interactions with all the different characters in the story were a joy to read. That said, sometimes the pace of the book did slow down a bit. There’s only so much you can do while on a ship, after all. I really liked Tress’s character, as well. She’s a bit unconventional; she’s had no training, she won’t pick up a sword, and adventure definitely wasn’t on top of her to-do list. Reading Tress’s story from the narrator’s POV did add a fun extra dimension to her character arc.

Another thing this book had going for it is that it’s occasionally funny and has tons of philosophical musing throughout. So while this story sometimes gets serious in tone, it’s never too deep. It’s whimsical and highly enjoyable, but like I said, nothing like other Cosmere novels. I wouldn’t call this book very plot heavy, but rather a book about self-discovery. If you’ve read (or are going to read) this book I also highly recommend reading the post script, as Brandon Sanderson explains where he got his inspiration from. I’d say he’s nailed it.


And that’s it for my review of Tress of the Emerald Sea! All in all a whimsical, very enjoyable read that I highly recommend. Don’t expect your typical Cosmere novel, but do expect fun, found family, and a life lesson or two.

Find more reviews in my Archive!

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