Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson is a new standalone novel and is the first book out of a series of four in his Secret Projects series. Having pretty much all but given up on his Stormlight Archive series due to the sheer amount of books yet to be written, I felt once again alive and excited to get to read an actual standalone novel by one of the greatest fantasy writers today. Regardless of what the actual story was about, just the fact that it was a standalone novel got my interest piqued. Although the author pumps out books at an alarming rate, I didn’t want to get involved in another series that will take three to five years to complete, if that.
It is a great irony that society tends to look down on those who sell their bodies, but not on those who lease out their minds. - Hoid the Cabin Boy
This book caught me quite by surprise because I didn’t expect a fairy tale-ish story to begin with. Stephen King’s Fairy Tale left me pretty scarred to the point that I couldn’t finish it. Suffice it to say, Tress of the Emerald Sea is nothing compared to that disaster of a book. The characters, humor, pacing, and even to the simple plot are wonderfully written and controlled. Yes, the plot is not the most complicated but this is one of those stories where it really is about the journey more so than the destination. The magic system is also excellently done. It not only is heavily involved in the story but it is also a very fun one to read about as well. The author’s imagination truly has no limits it seems.
“You see, I’ve discovered that it’s all right to need help. So long as you’ve lived your life as the kind of person who deserves to be rescued.” - Tress
Another thing that is bound to delight readers is the constant metaphors and life lessons and comparisons being dropped by the main storyteller. They can at times be told with a completely serious tone to downright hilarious and silly at others. Truth be told, I didn’t expect to be contemplating life as I know it while reading this fantasy book. The one thing I had to knock this book for and big enough of a disappointment that it warrants a full removal of a rating star is the ending. I was simply not pleased by the lackluster end encounter. For its hype throughout the journey, I really expected something much more than what we got even for a fairy tale-type story. It felt rushed and it also seems the author didn’t put much care into thinking about it. A certain part regarding the curses at the end felt a bit too deus ex machina for my liking.
One might say worries are the only things you can make heavier simply by thinking about them. - Hoid the Cabin Boy
In the end, I consider this book another win for the author. Yes, I’m probably horribly biased by now after having read so many of his novels but I guess that’s also saying something to be able to keep my attention for so long? Tress of the Emerald Sea is what an adult fantasy fairy tale should be like. It has a bit of everything, even some darker sections as well. I can’t wait to see how much more fun the next story will be!