If you are at least somewhat interested in current and upcoming SFF books, you for sure have heard of Brandon Sanderson’s Kickstarter campaign last year.
The first book to kick off the Year of Sanderson is Tress of the Emerald Sea. And let me tell you, it has been well worth the wait. First of all, it is probably the most gorgous book on my shelves. The print edition is a premium hardcover with foil inlays, coloured illustrations and chapter titles.
We read it as a buddyread on The StoryGraph – if you haven’t checked it out yet, it’s a really cool feature. All of us basically flew through the chapters.
The narrator is Hoid, a recurring character from Sanderson’s Cosmere universe, and his witty tone is just perfect. Little tidbits and references make you want to read everything Cosmere-related.
The story itself has all the usual YA elements – a whimsical girl setting out on a rescue mission, discovering her talents and growing throughout the whole journey. Talking animal sidekicks. Sorceresses and pirates. The cliches are there. Except…. well, except everything?
Tress is the character a younger me would have loved – and older me still does. She is not only the hero of her own story, but a sensible and pragmatic one. She does things your usual YA heroine just does not do, she – gasp – pauses to think! This book is written so well that your usual YA stock should go stand in a corner and be ashamed.
On top of that, this book is highly quotable. I could have written something down from almost every page. Probably my favourite one:
One might say worries are the only things you can make heavier simply by thinking about them.Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson
I would have loved this book to get me through a lockdown. Stuck in a reading slump? Read it. Bad day at work? Read it. Need escapism? You know what to do. Just let me warn you that this will lead to a severe book hangover.
5/5… all the Magpies!
The Lady Duck Of Doom agrees wholeheartedly with everything the Marquess has written. This is the YA hero my 15 year old me would have loved. A girl who actually uses her brain, instead of being described as “thoughtful and intelligent” and then rushing into everything based on assumption and pure emotions.
Hoid, our narrator, delivers the story with so many unbearably good quotes about life, the universe and everything that I am considering buying an extra copy and re-reading it with a highlighter to get all the good ones. It will probably need more than one highlighter I think. The humour of our narrator reminds me a bit of Good Omens by Sir Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, and the afterword revealed it was indeed an inspiration.
I don’t know if it is possible for Brandon Sanderson to top this with the other three books lined up for this year. Next up is a non-Cosmere novel, and I can’t wait to get my hands on that. The book hangover should be over by then.
TheRightHonourableHarpyEagle doesn’t have a lot to add to what my fellow flock-mates already wrote. If you have ever wondered what might have happened had Goldman’s Buttercup gone looking for Westley, you should read this novel. Tress of the Emerald Sea is the one book that redeems the YA genre for me. It outclasses all other YA books I have ever read.
5/5 Harpy Eagles – actually, it should be 6/5 Harpy Eagles, because see above.