Book – Tress of the Emerald Sea
Author – Brandon Sanderson
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?
– Goodreads Synopsis
Brandon has said that the inspiration for writing this book was taking the classic movie we all love, The Princess Bride, and flipping a trope. What was the trope? The “Damsel in Distress,” otherwise known as female characters (Princesses are typical for this) who need to be rescued and spend most of their time standing around uselessly. It’s not too fair that has been a common trope for ages now is it?
So what Brandon does here in this story is have the heroine, Tress, go out to save a prince who is not the most competent in fighting battles. This shows that even against those popular tropes, men can be useless too! (Fun fact: You’re reading one of their blogs now!)
“It might be said that Tress had a way with words. In that her words tended to get in her way.”
Adventure & Romance
This story is such refreshing take on a classic adventure, and such a refreshing new story told by Sanderson. A lot of his works have moments that hit you deep, possibly bringing you face-to-face with your own internal struggles, and that can be tough.
Now I’ve never been one to read much (or any…) romance. It’s not featured as heavily in this novel as seen in The Princess Bride comparison, but I’ve always found something romantic when it comes to adventuring. I guess that’s why it’s called wanderlust. To be a small-town girl like Tress and to head out on their first-ever trip outside of the small place they have only known on a quest to save a true love and learn about their unknown magical powers along the way? Even without the magic that sounds magical.
“We want to imagine that people are consistent, steady, stable. We define who they are, create descriptions to lock them on a page, divide them up by their likes, talents, beliefs. Then we pretend some—perhaps most—are better than we are, because they stick to their definitions, while we never quite fit ours. Truth is, people are as fluid as time is. We adapt to our situation like water in a strangely shaped jug, though it might take us a little while to ooze into all the little nooks. Because we adapt, we sometimes don’t recognize how twisted, uncomfortable, or downright wrong the container is that we’ve been told to inhabit.”
Makes you think huh? Are you in the right place? Have you misjudged someone? Have you thought someone could change and they didn’t? Did they?
Should I Read It?
Sanderson’s most significant work will be The Cosmere, the shared universe he has created for most of his novels. Like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you must commit to understanding and experiencing all of it if you want to get full enjoyment.
The good news is that Tress can be read with no understanding. It is a perfect Cosmere story to be read as a standalone, and even if you don’t get the hidden Easter eggs and references, it’s still 100% an enjoyable story.
If you’re heart yearns for adventure, read it!