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The Cosmere

Tress of the Emerald Sea

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#1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson brings us deeper into the Cosmere universe with a rollicking, riveting tale that will appeal to fans of The Princess Bride.

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?

365 pages, Hardcover

First published January 10, 2023

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About the author

Brandon Sanderson

399 books203k followers
Brandon’s major books for the second half of 2016 are The Dark Talent, the final volume in Alcatraz Smedry’s autobiographical account of his battle against the Evil Librarians who secretly rule our world, and Arcanum Unbounded, the collection of short fiction in the Cosmere universe that includes the Mistborn series and the Stormlight
Archive, among others. This collection features The Emperor’s Soul, Mistborn: Secret History, and a brand-new Stormlight Archive novella, Edgedancer.

Earlier this year he released Calamity, the finale of the #1 New York Times bestselling Reckoners trilogy that began with Steelheart .

Brandon Sanderson was born in 1975 in Lincoln, Nebraska. As a child Brandon enjoyed reading, but he lost interest in the types of titles often suggested to him, and by junior high he never cracked a book if he could help it. This changed when an eighth grade teacher gave him Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly.

Brandon was working on his thirteenth novel when Moshe Feder at Tor Books bought the sixth he had written. Tor has published Elantris, the Mistborn trilogy and its followup The Alloy of Law, Warbreaker, and The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance, the first two in the planned ten-volume series The Stormlight Archive. He was chosen to complete Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series; 2009’s The Gathering Storm and 2010’s Towers of Midnight were followed by the final book in the series, A Memory of Light, in January 2013. Four books in his middle-grade Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series have been released in new editions by Starscape, and his novella Infinity Blade Awakening was an ebook bestseller for Epic Games accompanying their acclaimed Infinity Blade iOS video game series. Two more novellas, Legion and The Emperor’s Soul, were released by Subterranean Press and Tachyon Publications in 2012, and 2013 brought two young adult novels, The Rithmatist from Tor and Steelheart from Delacorte.

The only author to make the short list for the David Gemmell Legend Award six times in four years, Brandon won that award in 2011 for The Way of Kings. The Emperor’s Soul won the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Novella. He has appeared on the New York Times Best-Seller List multiple times, with five novels hitting the #1 spot.

Currently living in Utah with his wife and children, Brandon teaches creative writing at Brigham Young University.

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Profile Image for Petrik.
675 reviews43k followers
May 4, 2023
4.5/5 stars

Tress of the Emerald Sea was simply whimsical and wonderful. Starting the year 2023 with the first secret novel from The Year of Sanderson is the correct action for me.

“Even small actions have consequences. And while we can often choose our actions, we rarely get to choose our consequences.”

The time is here. The first of the four awaited secret project novels, Tress of the Emerald Sea, by Brandon Sanderson is here. If you're active in the fantasy community, or even if you're not, it is no longer news that Sanderson has shocked the world with the immense success of his four secret novels Kickstarter campaign. I mean, number one most pledged Kickstarter campaign of all time; it doesn’t get more successful than that. And it shouldn’t also come as a shock that I, as a longtime fan of his Cosmere novels, end up enjoying Tress of the Emerald Sea. I wanted to start my year with a great book, and choosing this book as the first novel of 2023 (as I said) was the right pick. Sanderson plus a full-length Cosmere novel is a formula that never ceases to impress me. What I did not expect, however, was just how visually beautiful Tress of the Emerald Sea would be. I am pleasantly surprised. I am glad the past Petrik decided to buy four premium hardcover editions of the secret novels, and I am eternally thankful to my co-blogger, TS, for covering the expense of the shipping fee. Without TS, I do not think I would cave into buying the premium hardcover editions, and I would regret it so much. I will go into more details on this later, but at $40 per secret novel (not counting the shipping fee) and for everything we get, this special edition can be considered, relatively, a bargain. This is on top of it being such a fun and cozy book to read.

“Leaving didn’t feel exciting. It felt heavy. Every child looked forward to the day when they could choose a different path from the one their parents were on. Tress sincerely hoped she hadn’t decided on one that led straight off a cliff.”

All her life on an island named The Rock in the emerald-green ocean, Tress lived a simple life with the simple pleasures of collecting cups received from sailors from faraway lands and listening to stories told by her friend, Charlie. But when Charlie’s father takes him on a voyage to find a bride and disaster strikes, Tress must leave her simple life to stow away on a ship and seek the Sorceress of the deadly Midnight Sea. Although I expected to love this book, I was initially worried after reading the first few chapters. Note the word ship in the official premise. Sailing and seafaring dominated the majority of Tress of the Emerald Sea. Personally, I tend to have mixed feelings about fantasy books with a heavy focus on seafaring unless they're The Liveship Traders by Robin Hobb and The Tide Child trilogy by R.J. Barker. And there were indeed some sections here where I felt a bit of a lull because of this. However, my overall experience was fun. Most of the time, it was difficult for me to stay away from the book. Sanderson's prose and the relatively short length of the novel, plus its short chapters, made it easy for me to steal-read one or two chapters whenever I had some free time. This was a delightful book about human beings, contradictions, leadership, found family, stories, love, bravery, and empathy.

“It might seem that the person who can feel for others is doomed in life. Isn’t one person’s pain enough? Why must a person like Tress feel for two, or more? Yet I’ve found that the people who are the happiest are the ones who learn best how to feel. It takes practice, you know. Effort. And those who (late in life) have been feeling for two, three, or a thousand different people… well, turns out they’ve had a leg up on everyone else all along. Empathy is an emotional loss leader. It pays for itself eventually.”

Before reading Tress of the Emerald Sea, I did not read any of the secret novel preview chapters. However, based on the known artists and the title or premise of the four novels, Tress of the Emerald ranked third out of four. I am interested in all four, but I am most excited about the third and fourth secret novels. Based on these, the first two secret novels felt like they would be the most tonally different from Sanderson's other Cosmere books. Having read all published Cosmere stories, including this one, I can convey that Tress of the Emerald Sea has proved it. Sanderson has mentioned that The Princess Bride is one of the main inspirations behind this book. Another good comparison for what kind of tone you're getting here is Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman. So it is time to admit something. I haven't read or watched The Princess Bride yet, but I have watched Good Omens. And I think Sanderson nailed the comparison he's going for. The storytelling is whimsical and light-hearted in tone but also imbued with clever philosophical nuggets and serious themes occasionally. I loved the novel for it. I don't think I would've liked it this much if it was just all fun and joy all the way through. Sanderson's comedy, especially when the narrative involves young adult characters, doesn't land well with me often. But his hard-hitting and thought-provoking passages? That's another story. Sanderson may not have flowery prose, but the words he put on the pages of his novel frequently hit and became passages I think about daily. A few examples from this book are:

“While a healthy measure of foolhardiness drove our ancestors toward discovery, fear kept them alive. If bravery is the wind that makes us soar like kites, fear is the string that keeps us from going too far. We need it, but the thing is, our heritage taught us to fear some of the wrong things.”

And also these two long passages about memories.

“Beyond that, memories have a way of changing on us. Souring or sweetening over time— like a brew we drink, then recreate later by taste, only getting the ingredients mostly right. You can’t taste a memory without tainting it with who you have become. That inspires me. We each make our own lore, our own legends, every day. Our memories are our ballads, and if we tweak them a little with every performance… well, that’s all in the name of good drama.”

“Memory is often our only connection to who we used to be. Memories are fossils, the bones left by dead versions of ourselves. More potently, our minds are a hungry audience, craving only the peaks and valleys of experience. The bland erodes, leaving behind the distinctive bits to be remembered again and again. Painful or passionate, surreal or sublime, we cherish those little rocks of peak experience, polishing them with the ever-smoothing touch of recycled proxy living. In so doing— like pagans praying to a sculpted mud figure— we make of our memories the gods which judge our current lives. I love this. Memory may not be the heart of what makes us human, but it’s at least a vital organ. Nevertheless, we must take care not to let the bliss of the present fade when compared to supposedly better days. We’re happy, sure, but were we more happy then? If we let it, memory can make shadows of the now, as nothing can match the buttressed legends of our past… Do not let memory chase you. Take the advice of one who has dissected the beast, then rebuilt it with a more fearsome face— which I then used to charm a few extra coins out of an inebriated audience. Enjoy memories, yes, but don’t be a slave to who you wish you once had been. Those memories aren’t alive. You are.”

Although possible, it wouldn't feel organic to have these kinds of passages appearing throughout the book if the novel is told through the first-person or third-person perspective of Tress. These were effective because the entire story in Tress of the Emerald Sea is narrated through Hoid's perspective. Hoid is an integral character in Sanderson's Cosmere universe. And we, Cosmere fans, are all waiting for Hoid's origin story. Sanderson mentioned he wanted to practice and be more fluent at writing Hoid's perspective before that backstory novel happened, and this is the book where it came to fruition. This won't, however, be how the story is told eventually in Hoid's backstory novel. It will definitely be less whimsical. But to give you an idea of the kind of voice Sanderson is giving Hoid in this book, if you've read The Stormlight Archive series, this is more in tune with the unforgettable "Wandersail" and "The Dog and the Dragon" stories Hoid told in the series. A full-length version of that kind of in-world story. I absolutely loved "Wandersail" and "The Dog and the Dragon," and obviously, I ended up loving Tress of the Emerald Sea as well.

“Worldbringers like myself spend decades combing through folk tales, legends, myths, histories, and drunken bar songs looking for the most unique stories. We hunt for bravery, cleverness, heroism. And we find no shortage of such virtues. Legends are silly with them. But the person who is willing to reconsider their assumptions? The hero who can sit down and reevaluate their life? Well, now that is a gemstone that truly glitters, friend.”

So yes, we get to learn more about Hoid and the Cosmere (more on this in the next paragraph) inside this book. But at the end of the day, even though this is told through Hoid's perspective, Tress of the Emerald Sea is still a standalone story about Tress and her adventures. I mentioned The Stormlight Archive earlier, and I am no stranger to voicing how much I love the Bridge Four group in the series. The found family trope is one of the many things Sanderson executed extremely well in The Stormlight Archive and the first Mistborn trilogy. And he managed to craft another cherishable found family in this book. Tress, Huck, Fort, Salay, and all the characters are well-written and likable characters. The Deaf character representation was written with the help of a special sensitivity reader to do it justice, too. And hey, for the first time in the Cosmere, we finally get to see a real dragon. As Tress and the crew of the ship she's in face danger constantly, the bonds between them grow deeper and deeper. My investment in them, too. And upon reaching the last page, I can't help but hope we will get more stories or appearances from these characters eventually. Knowing how connected with each other the Cosmere is now, I'm confident we will.

“She… didn’t need to do this all on her own. That shouldn’t have been such a revelation for her. But after spending ages walking around with everyone piling bricks in your arms, it can throw you off balance when someone removes a brick to carry for you.”

Speaking of Cosmere connections, and because people will ask me this question, should you read other Cosmere books first? Tress of the Emerald Sea is a standalone story in the world of Lumar. This marks the first time we get a book taking place in this world in the Cosmere. Like always, it is not necessary to read the other Cosmere books first to enjoy the main story here. But will you benefit from reading them? Yes, you will. I talk about this already in my review of The Lost Metal. But moving forward, Sanderson's future publications in the Cosmere universe, especially the ones taking place after book 5 of The Stormlight Archive, will most likely have heavy Cosmere crossovers. If you intend to read all of Sanderson's Cosmere books, it is a good idea to start catching up reading them if you want to reap all the connections. As for this book, reading the entirety of The Mistborn Saga so far will be beneficial. Additionally, there were a few small nods to the magic or technology portrayed in Warbreaker, Elantris, and The Stormlight Archive. I will leave it to you to decide whether you want to read them first or not. There is no spoiler for these three series. Also, although not the primary planet of the magic and there is no main novel for it yet, aethers and its explosive potential are explored here.

“Now, most people would agree that humans are not telepathic. We can’t directly send our thoughts or emotions into the minds of others. Nevertheless, you can hear my story and imagine the things I describe—the same as I picture them in my own mind. What is that, if not a form of telepathy?”

One more thing before I end this review. I will update this once I have the physical copy, but right now, even the ebook of the premium edition alone is exquisitely made. Unless the paper quality of the physical copy sucks, which is so doubtful, I can vouch that the $40 I spent on getting this book is well spent. Maybe too well spent. It is almost ridiculous. You won’t get a premium/special edition like this with only $40 anywhere else. If Subterranean Press or Grim Oak Press publishes a book like this, I guarantee it will cost at least $200 (not counting the shipping fee and customs fee yet). The stunning design and the more than ten interior artworks (four fully colored art and the rest in green-toned black and white) by Howard Lyon enhanced the quality of the aesthetic and the tale. They are magnificent. And I am brimming with excitement waiting for the physical copy to arrive at my place. And if the first secret novel already reaches this level of production value, I want to read and find out what the other three will look like. Rest assured, in this review, I leave out some surprises in the clever design and artwork inside this book for you to find out for yourself.

“One of the great tragedies of life is knowing how many people in the world are made to soar, paint, sing, or steer— except they never get the chance to find out.”

Whether aesthetically or narrative-wise, Tress of the Emerald Sea provided a whimsical and wonderful reading experience. It is a refreshing addition to the Cosmere universe. And it is essentially (at least, it read like one) a Cosmere version of an adult fairy tale. With the success of the secret projects, some readers might think Sanderson favors quantity instead of quality in his books recently. It is up to you to think that way, but I can't voice the same sentiment. Personally speaking, Tress of the Emerald Sea doesn't show any drop in storytelling quality. Every book in the Cosmere, including this that he wrote in secret, works amazingly well for me. Similarly to the first Mistborn trilogy, even though this is undoubtedly a different kind of book, I think Tress of the Emerald Sea is a standalone story that can be enjoyed by both YA or adult fantasy readers. Making this even more appealing to a bigger audience. This is a superb first book of 2023 for me, and I hope this signals the positive trajectory of my reading year. I look forward to receiving the physical copy and reading the next secret novel.

“The first is that heroes can be trained. Not by a government or a military, but by the people themselves. Heroes are the ones who have thought about what they’re going to do, and who have trained to do it. Heroism is often the seemingly spontaneous result of a lifetime of preparation… In the frenzied anarchy of destruction, loyalty to causes and kingdoms alike tends to fall to the chaos. But the bond between people, well, that’s stronger than steel. If you want to create heroes, don’t give them something to fight for. Give them someone to fight for.”

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Profile Image for Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews.
235 reviews3,116 followers
January 5, 2023
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Going into this book, I was quite confident that it wasn't going to be for me. In general, I haven't really like the Brandon Sanderson one-off books in the past, and knowing that this book is more YA (a category I don't normally enjoy), this had "DNF" written all over it.

And while reading the first 20% of this book my predictions were correct, I didn't like the characters, didn't love the setting, and thought the writing style was trying to be far too humorous, which I don't think Brandon Sanderson excels at.

To my incredible surprise, the plot quickly picks up the pace and turns into an incredibly fun adventure full of amazing characters with great personal growth, an enchanting world, an inventive and fun magic system, great plot twists that I truly didn't see coming (but should have - the hallmark of a great twist), and a wonderful ending.

By the end of this book I was full of smiles while reading, and was regretting getting to the end of this book. I can't wait for my kids to get older so I can read them to them and see the wonder in their eyes as they experience this fantastic adventure story.
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,172 reviews98.2k followers
April 23, 2023
“Our words, like our hearts, are weapons still hot from the forging, beating themselves into new shapes each time we swing them.”

The first of brandon sanderson’s secret cosmere projects was everything for me. This story is truly unlike any other that brandon has created before, for so many reasons, but mostly because it reads like a fairytale! This is inspired by The Princess Bride, which I actually have never read before, but it didn't hinder my reading experience whatsoever! And just seeing some long time favorites from the cosmere world, and some cameos and name drops that I was not prepared for, felt like coming home - even if this setting is one that I would have never anticipated! But… dare I say, because I know this is a keyword everyone is looking for these days… this was cozy fantasy perfection!

You do not need to read any other book in the cosmere to read this story, but you will miss out on so many easter eggs throughout and i am not sure if not having that appreciation will hinder your reading experience - so here is a little warning, in case!

To put this very briefly, this is a story about a girl who leaves the only home she has ever known to brave a very strange ocean, in a very different cosmere world, with a very sweet pirate crew (for the most part), for love. Because at the end of all my favorite types of stories, it’s always for love and it’s always worth it.

But I so quickly fell in love with Tress and her teacups and her story. Also, if you’ve been following my reviews for a while, you will know how much I adore a questing storyline and this book delivered that and more so! I also feel like every cosmere series has such a perfect and different found family, yet you always feel like you are a part of that family as well, and it’s so beautiful each time, but this one was extra close to my heart.

I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on the second secret project, because the bar has just been set so very high for me. (plus howard lyon is one of my favorite magic the gathering artist so it was extra perfect for me!) I also have a very soft spot for the character who narrates this story… and to keep being secretive… I loved the whimsy of this story extra, too! muhahahahah!

I predict this will probably make my best of 2023 list, because my heart overflows more and more each time i think about this story. It just felt so warm and cozy and was filled with so much light and hope - and that’s exactly what I want to be reading in my life right now.

trigger + content warnings: mentions of war, poison/drugging, vomit, captivity, murder, talk of cancer/tumors very briefly, brief weight loss comment, mention of slavery, and… lots of mentions of spores (i only say this because i think a lot of people are watching last of us right now and it might make you think about things lol)

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The Frugal Wizard’s Handbook for Surviving Medieval England ★★
Profile Image for Anna [Bran. San. Stan].
262 reviews83 followers
February 2, 2023
This was just as wonderful, delightful, and enchanting as I’d hoped; especially the humourous, whimsical tone and Hoid’s narrative voice were a joy. And the worldbuilding is just as amazing as ever: Picture a world with twelve moons, each releasing sand-like spores unto the land, creating twelve vast seas not of water but of alien dust - each a different color (the eponymous emerald being one of them). Each type of these spores explosively grows aethers (e.g. vines or crystals) when touched with water - the results of which range from “uncomfortable” to “deadly” considering “the number of wet things that leak from human bodies even if they’re healthy.” Only salt and silver render the spores inert. And they are not just a cool visual; they naturally serve to further the story.

As for the plot, the novel starts as a love story but then quickly becomes an adventure - farm boy (or rather window washing girl) leaving home to go on a hero’s journey. With our heroine, Sanderson again creates a magical character you can only love; she is proactive, competent, both brave and pragmatic, and above all relatable.

”The girl had been given the unfortunate name of Glorf upon her birth (don’t judge; it was a family name), but her wild hair earned her the name everyone knew her by: Tress.”

Tress is very much in love with the Duke’s son, Charlie, who is not very dukely at all. Charlie actually sounds a bit like Sanderson himself with his passion for story telling and words.

”[The Iriali] supposedly had golden hair. Like yours, the color of sunlight.”
“My hair is not the color of sunlight, Charlie.”
“Your hair is the color of sunlight, if sunlight were brown,” Charlie said. It might be said he had a way with words. In that his words often got away.

Charlie, however, is absent from the narrative, and Tress’s adventure lies in trying to save him from an evil sorceress. (She is, in a way, Buttercup who had gone searching for Westley.) Her journey is interwoven with a variety of characters, among them a cursed Hoid, a talking rat, a Cosmere creature, a horrible cook and also several insignificant people all referred to as Doug for simplicity’s sake.

With this “grown-up fairy tale”, Sanderson has once again created something extraordinary, something magical and enchanting and something very much unlike anything he has ever written before. And yes, Hoid’s story did feel like a “full-length version of something like 'Wandersail' or ‘The Dog and the Dragon’” - just as he intended. And even if I saw a twist at the end coming, I loved every bit of it, from the very first page.

In terms of Cosmere implications, what can you expect? (Skip if you’d rather not know. Essentially, no previous knowledge is required for you to enjoy the story; however, you will appreciate it even more if you do know your Cosmere.)


🔹Hoid as both a storyteller and character, though his role within the narrative is initially hilariously complicated because of a curse (some knowledge of either Warbreaker, Elantris, both Mistborn eras, White Sand and especially Stormlight is helpful)
🔹Aethers, though a different type than shown in The Lost Metal and the non-canon Aether of Night (no previous knowledge required)
🔹Kandra (Mistborn knowledge is helpful)
🔹the Nalthian magic of awakening (no previous knowledge necessary)
🔹having read Secret History is a bonus


March 5, 2022: The first five chapters of this (no-longer) secret project #1 are just enchanting. I loved that Hoid is telling this "slightly more fairy-tale-ish" story in his customary cheeky tone. I can just picture him telling Tress‘s story to others in the Cosmere. Did I mention I can’t wait to read this?

“She felt less a human being and more like a human who was just being.“

I’ve been beyond excited these past couple of days about Sanderson‘s announcement and these four new books! So happy to be a part of his Kickstarter campaign! (And spending waaaay too much money on it.) So much to look forward to, this year and the next...

PA: You can listen to Sanderson reading the first chapters here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBUVX...
Profile Image for Jonathan O'Neill.
160 reviews324 followers
January 4, 2023
DNF @ 35%

Don’t give me that look, I’m as shocked as you!
I was always told that if I had nothing Positive to say, then I’d best say nothing at all…
But I hate being told what to do so let’s get Negative!

Ha! Jks (kind of), I’m not looking to rain on anyone’s parade and I’m willing to shoulder a percentage of the blame for this DNF (only my 3rd ever, I believe) as I had no right picking this up. Modern Fantasy hasn’t been “trending” on my tbr for over a year now but, nevertheless, I couldn’t resist buying into Sando’s Secret Projects and when I saw this in my email, I fell into my friend Nataliya’s reading philosophy and thought, “Ooh, shiny!”.

Plot: Teenage Girl loves boy—boy gets kidnapped by Sorceress—girl decides to cross treacherous ocean composed of deadly spores in order to save boy—alarmingly negligent parents not only approve but assist in girl’s efforts to stow away on a ship full of men of unknown repute in order to achieve said goal… You know how it is.

I said I’d shoulder a percentage, but not all of the blame for this DNF. It really boils down to one reason I just COULD NOT continue with this. Well, two but they really fall into the same category: dialogue and inner monologue. They are written so incredibly poorly I could hardly believe what I was reading. Through the narrator’s (Hoid’s) voice, Sanderson has gone with a kind of “jovial-look-how-(wit)ty-I-am-let’s-make-an-observational-joke-about-absolutely-everything” tone and it’s so SO CRINGE! I was rolling my eyes so much while reading this that it turned into a sort of motor tic and started affecting my personal life!

”Why are they always fair maidens?” she said. “Are there maidens that are unfair? Perhaps they mean ‘fare’, as in food. I could be that kind of maiden. I’m good with food.”

Sando thought this one was so clever, he used it twice in the space of 7 pages:
"It might be said [Charlie] had a way with words. In that his words often got away."

"It might be said that Tress had a way with words. In that her words tended to get in her way."

tina fey opposite

It just goes ON and ON, my friend:
”It wasn’t quite like water; it was too thick, and the tips of the waves broke apart into puffs of green spores. In fact, the sea was wrong in the way that solely something almost right can be. Familiar, yet alien. As if it were liquid’s disrespectful cousin who told inappropriate jokes at Grandma’s funeral”.
W..what are you even talking about?! Put your hand up if you think that makes ANY sense!
tina biggest

In the introduction, Sando says they hired a “sensitivity reader” for the project. I’m walking away from reading this with a perpetual eye roll and a newfound propensity for telling shit jokes! Who’s looking out for my comedic sensitivities?! ‘Team Dragonsteel’ had 53 employees as of 2022 (likely more now), I don’t think it would blow the budget to hire one more for comedic quality control.

Shit, I didn’t say anything positive did I?... Umm, there's probably an epic Sandalanche?! 😅
Profile Image for Sofia.
258 reviews6,494 followers
April 12, 2023
Tress of the Emerald Sea is a whimsical, earnest, and surprisingly crustacean-free surprise novel from Sanderson’s record-breaking Kickstarter. It is also one of the best YA fantasy books I’ve read. Every aspect of the book feels balanced and rewarding. Tress is perfectly paced and compulsively readable, full of plot twists that make sense but are still thrilling. I wasn’t sure if Hoid’s narration would be effective, but it definitely is. His commentary strikes the perfect balance between silliness and genuine insight. The familiar adventure structure of the story runs the risk of becoming predictable, but Sanderson doesn’t fall in that trap here. His skill as a storyteller shines in this novel; it is further proof that he doesn’t need thousands of pages to tell a compelling, meaningful story that is also fun and wholesome and heartfelt. I can already tell that this will be a book I look back on with fondness and warm, nostalgic feelings. Tress of the Emerald Sea is one of those gently affecting books that make the world seem a bit less scary.

5 stars

“It’s really not a problem that someone needs to be saved. Everyone needs help. It’s hard to be the person who makes trouble, but the thing is, everyone makes trouble. How would we help anyone if nobody ever needed help?”
Profile Image for Holly.
1,431 reviews986 followers
January 23, 2023
3.5 stars

This book is unexpectedly really funny at times! Unfortunately it also seems a bit more YA-ish than I would like, though Sanderson bills this as a grown-up fairy tale in the postscript. On the other hand, this is a book narrated by Hoid which I absolutely enjoyed. The world building is pretty unique and interesting, while still fitting into the greater Cosmere. So all in all, rounding this up to 4 stars and looking forward to the next “secret project” from Sanderson’s Kickstarter.
Profile Image for Deema ♡ (tella's version).
155 reviews414 followers
May 12, 2023
There's no denying that Brandon Sanderson is a master storyteller, and this cute and whimsical novel was a joy to read. This story is about Tress who has never left her home island until the man she loves needs to be saved. That is the first reason I enjoyed this book: Tress's courage and character development.

On her dangerous journey across different seas to save Charlie, she meets a cast of the most amazing characters. That brings us to the second reason: Each character was uniquely written, entertaining, and added to the found family element of this story. The narrator plays an active part, too, which I really enjoyed and added so much humour with his use of similes. It felt like being read to by a sassy and witty friend with a love for odd comparisons (I won't add any quotes because it's so much better to be taken by surprise like I was).

The action scenes were fun, and the last few chapters moved so quickly that I was left trying to catch my breath while hoping my beloved characters would be okay. Last, but not least, this story is filled with pretty inspiring quotes that'll make you think about the way you see the world, art, work, and change.

I'll end this review here, because I don't want to give away too much of the magic that's within the book's pages. This was a delightful first installment in Sanderson's 'secret project' novels, and I am looking forward to the next one.
Profile Image for Overhaul.
273 reviews610 followers
February 1, 2023
En su isla natal sobre un océano verde esmeralda, la única vida que Trenza conoce es sencilla, marcada por el placer de coleccionar las tazas que traen los marineros de tierras lejanas y escuchar las historias que le cuenta su amigo Charlie.

Pero cuando el padre de Charlie se lo lleva en barco para buscarle esposa y sucede una catástrofe, Trenza deberá colarse como polizona en un barco y partir en busca de la hechicera que habita en el mortífero mar de Medianoche.

Sobre unos océanos de esporas repletos de piratas, ¿podrá Trenza abandonar su tranquila vida y crearse un lugar en un océano donde una sola gota puede significar la muerte instantánea?

Hago esta reseña desde un punto de vista que igual a algunos os interesa ya que coincidimos y es que estoy quemado con y de Sanderson, me leí casi todo y ya los últimos del archivo me han decepcionado. 1500 páginas que muy cuesta arriba se me fueron haciendo, cada libro más. Bueno, pues aquí vuelve el autor que a mi me gustó en "Elantris", "El Aliento de los Dioses" o "Nacidos de la Bruma".

Sólo con un, no sé si llamarlo defecto, no lo es y es que a diferencia de esos, es un historia algo más juvenil, otro tono. Pero no le quita que sea disfrutable para "todos".

Entretenido, muy original, con buenos personajes en unas 500 páginas. NO 1500...

Sanderson muestra ya su dominio típico de la narración, la brillante capacidad de grandes construcciones de mundos y el trabajo que tienen detrás los personajes.

Seguimos a Trenza, una chica que emprende una aventura épica para rescatar al chico que quiere de las garras de la Hechicera. Se vuelve un libro pirata que me ha gustado mucho por ese aspecto.

Barcos, piratas, mar del color esmeralda, magia marca Sanderson, y ¡Autoconclusivo!. Chapó.

La historia es contada por un personaje que muchos conoceréis, de hecho, es uno de lo varios guiños al Cosmere. Cuya narrativa hace que el tono de la historia tenga su personalidad y sus toques humorísticos.

El mundo de Lumar está muy bien construido. Se sentía tan único e inmersivo, es el aspecto que más me ha gustado. Dentro de la sencillez de la propia historia de chica salva a chico, está el mundo y la magia, no diré complejas pero si de lo más fascinante.

El concepto de doce mares diferentes y un montón de lunas diferentes que brillan sobre ellos. Cada mar tiene un tipo diferente de esporas, peligrosas y tóxicas para los humanos, pero todos pueden ser utilizados por expertos para hacer todo tipo de cosas diferentes, lo que me pareció un sistema mágico único y muy bien pensado. Es Sanderson, lo que no se le ocurra a este señor.

Los personajes que acompañan a esta obra son muy buenos, honestamente este libro me trae agradables recuerdos de "Elantris", tiene esa magia que logra este autor sin llegar a las 1500 páginas. Es ese Sanderson que me gusta.

Es muy ameno, sencillo, un cuento de grandes e interesantes ideas. No es el mejor Sanderson, por supuesto, pero si hacía algún tiempo que no disfrutaba con uno suyo, más que nada por la longitud de sus novelas.

No puedo decir más, solo que aquí os espera una gran aventura, tintes piratas sobre un mar de colores en un mundo de ideas fascinantes al igual que su magia.

Disfrutable, ameno y entretenido..✍️🎩
Profile Image for Charlie Holmberg.
Author 39 books6,224 followers
January 11, 2023
Wherein Brandon makes a fun world and decides to amuse himself whilst exploring it ;)
Profile Image for Gabriel.
492 reviews644 followers
February 3, 2023
Una historia de aventura por el mar con piratas, hechiceros, un dragón y referencias al cosmere con un halo a cuentos de hadas. Pero sobre todo divertida e ingeniosa.

«La mayoría de la gente nunca vive de verdad, Trenza, porque teme perder los años que le quedan, años que también pasará no viviendo. Es la ironía de una existencia cautelosa.»

Trenza vive en su pequeña isla, es cobarde, no resalta, no tiene un objetivo por cumplir más allá de ser una limpiaventanas y recolectar tazas de distintas formas y diseños. Sin embargo, al igual que en tantos otros cuentos de hadas el amor la mueve a hacer algo por recuperar un ser querido. Y en este caso, ella (la chica) es quien debe rescatar al chico y quien se zambulle en una historia mágica y fantástica donde las lunas "vomitan" esporas tóxicas y peligrosas sobre los mares que rodean diferentes islas y lugares, las cuales solo pueden ser detenidas con sal y plata.

Vine a esta historia porque sí, la portada me sonaba a un cuento de hadas y efectivamente hay muchos guiños, referencias y arquetipos de personajes típicos dentro del libro. Y me ha dado en parte eso, así que quedé más que encantado. Además, leer el libro es disfrutar del narrador (que seguro ya muchos conocen) quien con su sentido del humor y el de los demás convierte esta historia en una lectura rápida por sus capítulos cortos y por el tono humorístico y desenfadado.

«Aunque una medida sana de atrevimiento llevó a nuestros antepasados al descubrimiento, fue el miedo lo que los mantuvo con vida. Si la valentía es el viento que nos hace volar como cometas, el miedo es el cordel que nos impide ir demasiado lejos.»

La aventura comienza más pronto que tarde a través de un barco con piratas excéntricos, germinadores, una capitana mala malota (de las rudas), una rata parlante, un médico "zombie" y surcar más mares de distintos colores y explotar y conocer más esporas mortíferas, hasta llegar a un dragón fuera de lo común y una hechicera protegida por monstruos marinos y soldados. Además de conocer otros términos como comeesporas, germinadores y alguna que otra maldición por los distintos paisaje y la ambientación marítima que es fantástica y mágica sin duda alguna.

«Una verdad aburrida siempre tendrá dificultades para competir con una mentira emocionante.»

En general, lo mejor que tiene para mí es el humor y las dinámicas entre los personajes, a nivel narrativo es bastante predecible, regulero y conveniente, pero se lo perdono por lo bien que la pasé. Y tambien innova un poquito en las figuras típicas y representativas de estos personajes en los clásicos cuentos, ya que rompe el molde y no los deja encasillados en tópicos, estereotipos o arquetipos planos.

Y si eres adicto a las referencias dentro del cosmere a lo mejor y te encuentras bastantes huevos de pascua de sus otros libros (yo solo encontré referencias a Elantris y Mistborn pero a lo mejor hay más).
Profile Image for Gillian.
126 reviews154 followers
May 28, 2023
3.5 stars!

I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand I really liked the premise of the book, but on the other hand the pacing was inconsistent and the plot dragged at times. The pacing was slow for most of the book until the end. The world building was great, the idea of an ocean of spores was very interesting, although it was confusing at first. I really liked Tress, she is brave, kind, loyal, persistent, and strong. At first I had a hard time connecting with Tress, but once I got to know her, I really liked her and felt a connection to her. I also really liked Huck, (talking rat) he is sweet, funny, brave, and intelligent. I liked the side characters as well, but I wished that their back stories were explored a bit more. The narration was unique and interesting, but it was hard to get used to at first. It has first person narration but the narrator is not the main character. The ending was so good and exciting! I’m glad that it ended on a happy note. Overall, it was a decent book, but it didn’t wow me and I struggled with the slow pacing.
Profile Image for Angela.
419 reviews853 followers
April 10, 2023
Actual Rating: 4.5/5

This was delightful! I love adult fairy tale fantasy books and books with a narrator, this has both so I knew I was in for a fun time from Chapter 1 and that's exactly what this is. Tress's adventure and the friends she makes along the way is such a whimsical cozy time, even while having to problem solve her way out of VERY dangerous situations. I know the inspiration is more Princess Bride but it reminded me so much of Stardust, which is a huge compliment cause I am always looking for things that make me feel as happy as Stardust does. I think a few things that prevented this from being a new favorite of all time (although it is still absolutely amazing for my tastes) is that because of the narrative voice I was not quite as close to Tress as I wanted to be. But that's a small complaint. Everything was so vibrant, the tone was on point and I loved the pacing and pay off. Maybe on re-read one day it will become and all time favorite, it is incredibly close.
Profile Image for Zoranne.
190 reviews1 follower
April 11, 2023
i’d give this book 6 stars if i could

more coherent thoughts to come
Profile Image for Lamaleluna.
287 reviews1,141 followers
February 7, 2023
Un año esperando leerlo y por fin se dió la oportunidad ✨

Trenza del mar esmeralda es el proyecto secreto 1 de Brandon Sanderson. Una novela independiente que forma parte del Cosmere, escrita por el autor durante la pandemia y publicada dos años después de forma sorpresa.

Nuestra protagonista Trenza tiene una vida súper rutinaria en la Roca y ella asegura no destacar en nada. Un día el chico del cuál está enamorada decide marchar, y Trenza al enterarse que él está en peligro un tiempo después, decide emprender una aventura por el mar para ir a rescatarlo de las garras de La hechicera. A lo largo del viaje Trenza irá conociendo el mundo exterior y aprendiendo un montón de cosas sobre los demás y sobre ella misma. ✨

Una de las cosas más interesantes que tiene este libro es la narración, toda la historia de Trenza está contada por Hoid, saltamundos y cuentacuentos famoso dentro del Cosmere. Es la primera historia larga que lo escuchamos narrar y la verdad es que hizo una diferencia.

Me gustaron mucho los personajes también y la ambientación. Te encariñás mucho con Trenza y siento que con tan solo este libro llegas a conocerla muy bien, sin duda uno de los personajes más valientes creados por el autor. El sistema mágico y el ambiente fueron muy originales y me gustó explorarlos. Claramente entendemos por qué Sanderson destaca en esto. 😎

El libro tiene referencias, menciones y spoilers a otras novelas del Cosmere. Considero que para leerlo y disfrutarlo bien tienen que haber leído los otros libros. Si únicamente te llega la atención Trenza del mar esmeralda, podés leerlo de forma independiente (te vas a perder unas cuantas cosas). Pero si tu plan es leer todo el Cosmere, déjate Trenza para el final, lo vas a disfrutar muchísimo más.

La razón por la que no le doy 5 estrellas es que hubieron un par de escenas que se me hicieron un poco aburridas. No creo que sea algo del libro sino más bien algo mío, en general no disfruto los libros dónde están viajando todo el tiempo o las historias que transcurren todas en el mar. Esta parte de la crítica viene de algo completamente personal, hay mucha gente que disfruta de este tipo de historias.

La vibra de cuento de hadas fue preciosa de leer, la verdad es que está muy recomedado de mi parte. Ahora a esperar al próximo proyecto secreto, viaje antes que destino ✨

Yo leyendo Trenza del mar esmeralda: 😌🤭🥰🥺☺️
Profile Image for Raquel Estebaran.
293 reviews176 followers
February 5, 2023
Novela de fantasía perteneciente al universo del Cosmere aunque es independiente, que nos cuenta las aventuras de una chica para rescatar a su amado.

Una novela encantadora con un tono más juvenil y con mucho humor, con una protagonista valiente y capaz y personajes carimáticos, narrada por Hoid, uno de ellos.

Un mundo marítimo brillantemente construido, con océanos de peligrosas esporas surcados por piratas y una magia original y fascinante.

Una narración fresca, acogedora y dinámica.
Profile Image for Andi.
1,182 reviews
January 4, 2023
I didn't want to rate this 2 stars, but I gotta. Out of everything I read of Brandon's this is perhaps my least liked book of his. Many authors have books that are so-so, and even still, I continue to buy their books. This book was written for his wife and there is a sentimental reason behind it.

This book was written as a bit of a nod to The Princess Bride. That instead of Wesley saving Buttercup, instead it's Tress saving Charlie. I have no problems with that what-so-ever. I think that we need more stories with females saving their male 'true-love'.

But, this book sadly is not what I hoped it would be. Did I expect a romance? No. I don't see Brandon writing one like that. However, I expected a story told from Hoid's perspective of a girl finding herself.

One will argue with me that she found herself, that I am rating this book rather poorly. For me, I can't really say what went wrong and why this book (the first of the bunch) turned out to be a dud, but I'll go into it:

I don't know how the other books are written except for the beta team but I expected something with more meat on the bones. Instead, I got a boring, rather drawn out short story about a dull girl who goes to rescue a dull 'man of her heart' from a lame villain who doesn't do anything to make shit difficult for her. But again: this was written as a story for his wife, and if she enjoyed it that's what should matter. Props to him for being an amazing husband and writing a novel for her enjoyment. I hope more writers do that for their wives.

I hope book two is better :/
Profile Image for Laura Fantasyliterature.
326 reviews417 followers
February 20, 2023
Este libro es maravilloso como todo lo que crea Sanderson. Es cierto que para mi fue un poquito predecible pero tiene ese aura de cuento de hadas de Neil Gaiman con la creación de mundos de Brandon. Simplemente alucinante.
Lo he disfrutado muchísimo y meter piratas y hacerlos una familia es brillante. Sanderson tiene una habilidad especial para crear planetas con sistemas mágicos impresionantes. Y tan bien explicados científicamente… uf. Maravilloso de verdad.
Es necesario leer al menos Elantris, también recomiendo leer antes la trilogía de nacidos de la bruma.
Profile Image for TS Chan.
700 reviews868 followers
January 5, 2023
So what do you know, experimental Sanderson is absolutely awesome!

His typical mastery of storytelling, worldbuilding and character work were present, of course. The whimsical tone of the story that still manages to pack some serious and not-so-serious philosophical messages was the icing on the cake. Fun, delightful and chock-full of Cosmere in an incredibly imaginative world that borders more on sci-fi than fantasy, Tress of the Emerald Sea is a very promising start to The Year of Sanderson.

P/S: The production value of this book was spectacular and I don't even have the physical copy yet, which I'm certain will be stunning to behold.
Profile Image for Tim.
476 reviews616 followers
April 16, 2023
If one were to ask me what my favorite genre was, depending on my mood I would answer either fantasy or horror. It used to always be fantasy, but sometimes I get jaded with the genre and its frequently reused tropes. When this happens, I find that I pretty much all but abandon the genre for a bit... until something comes along and reminds me why I loved the genre so much in the first place.

Tress is one of those novels. Now first I’m going to state that I’m not super familiar with Sanderson’s works. So, if you’re like me and don’t have his works memorized inside and out, fear not, this is a wonderful stand-alone. There are references to his other works (and I gather our narrator is kind of a big deal to say the least) but you in no way need the information to follow along with the story. In fact, this may be a good go to if you’re interested in the author and don’t know where to start.

This is a pure fun read. This is not a book about the fate of the universe being in peril, but rather a Princess Bride meets Pirates of the Caribbean style adventure. The book has an absolutely wonderful sense of humor to it as well, with a narrator that found a way to delight me in every chapter (I particularly love a running joke in which he informs us that there are more characters than he can remember, so unimportant ones will all be called Doug as it’s the only name that exists in every world he’s been to).

I’ve seen some say that the book has a YA feel to it. I honestly don’t fully see it. While the book has nothing objectionable for younger ages, and does indeed have a few tropes that YA loves, it feels more like an 80s fantasy novel that would have inspired such works rather than being a part of them. Maybe I’m just too jaded with the term YA, but I just don’t fully see it here.

Tress is a wonderful adventure novel filled with humor and heart. One I recommend to every fantasy fan... and yes, this may be the one that finally convinces me to check out other Sanderson novels. 4/5 stars.
Profile Image for Blake the Book Eater.
855 reviews377 followers
January 14, 2023
What a whimsical, wonderful novel! This was such a surprise as the tone was a departure from Brandon’s usual style but I absolutely loved the almost fairy-tale nature of the story. Tress was a lovely protagonist and following her on her journey was just wonderful. The narration from
Hoid was so welcome and gave many hints to other hidden secrets. I can’t wait to read the rest of the secret projects and this was just such a fun experience!
Profile Image for Javir11.
529 reviews162 followers
February 25, 2023

De primeras diré que no es lo mejor que ha escrito Sanderson ni de lejos, pero si es una de sus últimas novelas que más me ha entretenido. Me ha recordado a mis inicios en sus lecturas, cuando leí Elantris o Warbreaker. Un Sanderson más relajado y centrado en la narración en si, que en todo lo que rodea al Cosmere.

A su favor tiene que engancha y mucho. Es el A,B,C de una novela de aventuras, pero al mismo tiempo en su sencillez radica su encanto. Destacaría el ritmo narrativo, muy bueno, así como la narración que al no ser siempre desde el POV de la protagonista, le da un extra que se agradece y mucho. Los personajes me han gustado bastante en general, a pesar de ser clichés andantes. El worldbuilding tiene mucho potencial, aunque desaprovechado, y a pesar de ser una historia de "amor", esta no fagocita la trama.

El único pero para mi gusto, lo achacaría a lo poco que sabemos sobre el mundo en el que transcurre la acción al arrancar la novela, y lo poco que seguimos sabiendo al terminar esta. La sensación al final es que se ha desaprovechado un poco un magnífico worldbuilding, aunque supongo y espero en el futuro volver a leer más sobre esta parte del Cosmere. Del resto no tengo muchas pegas, incluso las menciones al Cosmere tienen más sentido que en sus otras novelas.

Resumiendo, novela muy del estilo del primer Sanderson, el que nos enamoró a casi todos, repleta de aventuras y escrita en un tono más desenfadado, lo que la hace apta para cualquier lector que simplemente busque entretenerse, aunque no sea un gran fan de la fantasía.

Aunque todavía le queda bastante al autor estadounidense para conseguir de nuevo mis 5 estrellas, esta Trenza del mar Esmeralda es un buen primer paso para conseguirlo.

Profile Image for Eon ♒Windrunner♒  .
423 reviews467 followers
January 6, 2023
I had no idea what to expect of this story or even if I would like it anywhere as much as his other work, but Brandon delivered again with this absolute gem of a fairytale type novel. I loved it.
Profile Image for Alba Turunen.
660 reviews208 followers
February 1, 2023
5 Estrellitas. ¡Maravilloso! Sanderson me ha dejado con la boca abierta durante toda su lectura. Es sencillamente maravilloso. Iba algo escéptica ante esta campaña de Kickstarter que creó Sanderson y ha superado todas mis expectativas con ésta primera novela.

"Trenza del mar Esmeralda" es un cuento para adultos ambientado en el Cosmere. El mundo de Trenza no es como nos lo hemos imaginado. El mundo de Trenza tiene doce lunas, y sus océanos no están formados por agua, están formados por esporas que caen de las doce lunas. Y las esporas, son peligrosas cuando entran en contacto con el agua, pues crecen enredaderas de manera exponencial y son altamente mortales.

Trenza vive en una roca, en una pequeñísima e insignificante isla, en medio del mar Esmeralda. La suya es una familia muy pobre, pero Trenza es feliz con su existencia insignificante. Colecciona tazas y jarras que traen marineros de remotas tierras y limpia ventanas en la mansión del duque. El problema con Trenza es que está enamorada de Charlie, el hijo del duque, y el sentimiento es mutuo.

Cuando Charlie cumple la mayoría de edad, él y su familia se embarcan para buscarle a Charlie una esposa entre la multitud de princesas disponibles de otras islas o tierras. Transcurrido un año, Charlie no vuelve. Su padre, el duque, dice a los habitantes de la Roca que Charlie fue apresado por la malvada bruja del mar de Medianoche.

Desde entonces, Trenza sólo tiene un pensamiento, y es liberar a Charlie. Los habitantes de la Roca, excepto el duque, tienen prohibido salir de la isla por orden del rey; pero Trenza se disfraza de supervisora y se embarca en el primer barco que sale de su isla.

Una vez en el mar Esmeralda de esporas, pasarán una serie de aventuras. Trenza conocerá a un ratón hablador llamado Huck, que será su compañero inseparable, su barco será pasto de los piratas, y ella sobrevivirá, será apresada por ellos, y enrolada a la fuerza en su barco, El canto del Cuervo, donde Cuervo su capitana, se dedica a saquear y destruir todos los barcos que se le acercan.

En El canto del Cuervo, Trenza conocerá a una serie de tripulantes, que serán sus amigos, el sordomudo y enorme Fortín, la carpintera Ann y Salay la timonel. En seguida, Trenza descubrirá que estos tripulantes no están a favor de los métodos de la capitana Cuervo, y a Trenza no le costará sobrevivir y hacerse valiosa para la capitana, descubriendo los métodos para manejar las esporas.

No puedo contar mucho de las aventuras ni de lo que va pasando en el libro. Me ha parecido una delicia y veo justo que el resto de lectores disfruten de ello.

Lo que sí me ha sorprendido es ver a Hoid en ésta novela, y verlo de tal forma, tan espectacular, pues él es narrador y a la vez personaje del propio libro, y también ha sido maldecido por la bruja del mar de Medianoche.

La de Trenza será sobre todo una lucha por sobrevivir y llegar al mar de Medianoche para rescatar a Charlie. Trenza crecerá y madurará en éste viaje, aprenderá a usar las esporas, navegará por el mar Esmeralda y el mar Carmesí y hasta se enfrentará a dragones. Todo por llegar hasta la malvada hechicera y derrotarla para rescatar a Charlie.

El libro en sí es maravilloso, y aunque puede leerse de manera independiente, sí recomiendo haber leído antes a Sanderson, por lo menos "Elantris", pues Hoid es un personaje fundamental en el Cosmere y habrá una serie de menciones o personajes que pasen desapercibidos a lectores que nunca han leído a Sanderson.

Físicamente, el libro también es asombroso. Verde, tapa dura, una letra aceptable y con unas ilustraciones que son preciosas, algunas incluso a color. Sin duda se han lucido con la presentación de éste libro, y ya digo que no es nada barato y sí una joyita, merece mucho la pena.

No tengo más que comentar, solo decir que si os gustan las novelas de Sanderson, ésta os encantará, es diferente, es divertida y muy ingeniosa. Para mí ha sido carne de 5 estrellas, y estoy deseando que durante éste 2023 salgan los siguientes Proyectos Secretos.
Profile Image for Mangrii.
870 reviews244 followers
February 2, 2023
1 de marzo de 2022. Los seguidores del Cosmere estábamos expectantes (y atemorizados) tras el anuncio -un poco serio- del propio Brandon Sanderson donde decía que tenía algo que contarnos. Supongo que ya estás al día con el tema, pero ahí empezó lo que se conoce como: el Año de Sanderson. Cuatro novelas, lanzadas a través de una campaña de Kickstarter (una por trimestre), donde tres de ellas suceden dentro del canon del Cosmere. Nada más y nada menos que el Kickstarter con mayor financiación de la historia. Y Nova, la editorial en español de sus novelas, anunciaba que los títulos saldrían publicados más o menos de forma simultánea por aquí, con solo unos días de diferencia.

Y aquí nos encontramos, en este enero de 2023, con la llegada de la preciosa edición (que incorpora ilustraciones de Howard Lyon) de Trenza del mar esmeralda a las librerías. Decía Sanderson, poniéndonos en antecedentes, que como siempre la novela surgió por una mezcla de ideas y conceptos en la parte trasera de su mente. Sin embargo, el germen principal, a parte de dedicársela por completo en secreto a su mujer, fue ver La princesa prometida con sus hijos por primera vez y conversar con ella sobre la película. Cuando está le pregunto: «¿Por qué se queda Buttercup sentada después de escuchar que Westley ha sido secuestrado por piratas? ¿Es que no hay nada que pudiera haber hecho?» algo hizo contacto en su mente. La historia de Goldman, como bien sabemos, lleva su nombre en el título, pero ella no hace nada. Fusiona eso con las ganas de trabajar con los Éteres (interesantes para el futuro) que tenía Brandon y el concepto de fluidización ¡et voilà!

Como Trenza no hay ninguna
La novela, como en casi todo cuento de hadas para adulto o para niño, comienza con una historia de amor, y por supuesto, se convierte en una aventura. Trenza vive en una remota y alejada isla llamada la Roca, en los confines del mar esmeralda. Tiene una vida sencilla y tranquila, marcada por el placer de coleccionar las tazas que le traen los marineros de tierras lejanas, limpiando ventanas del palacio real y disfrutando de escuchar las historias de su amigo Charlie. Sin embargo, Charlie es el hijo del duque de la isla, y este lo obliga a viajar por todos los mares para buscar una esposa. Un viaje del que Charlie no regresará.

Trenza decide coger sus pocos bártulos, colarse como polizona en un barco y partir en busca de Charlie. Un viaje que la llevara a abandonar su tranquila vida, relacionarse con una extraordinaria variedad de peculiares personajes, enfrentar peligros de vida o muerte y llegar hasta el mortífero mar de medianoche donde habita la temible hechicera. Trenza en el mar esmeralda se desarrolla como una novela ágil, construida a través de pequeñas y divertidas desventuras que cimientan un mundo de lo más imaginativo. Una historia de amistad y superación, de las contradicciones humanas, el amor, la valentía y sobre todo, del amor por las peripecias. Una novela donde su protagonista encarna a esa joven proactiva e identificable, que se crece ante la adversidad pero que a la vez es pragmática y reflexiva. Ya lo decía antes, como Trenza no hay ninguna.

El contador de historias
El atractivo número dos (por que el primero es la edición, eso esta claro) para la lectura de Trenza del mar esmeralda es la voz con la que esta escrita. Nuestro querido Hoid le cuenta esta historia a alguien (que no sabemos quién) con el mismo tono que lo hizo en Velaerrante o El perro y el dragón. Comenzando con un tono más caprichoso, alegre e ingenioso, conforme pasan las páginas Trenza del mar esmeralda va tomando un regusto más de fantasía épica, filtrada por la voz y las pepitas de filosofía marca de la casa en Hoid. Una narración que recuerda a clásicos como La historia interminable o a (casi) cualquier película de Pixar, que disfrutan tanto jóvenes como adultos, pero que en cada uno de nosotros puede resonar de formas diferentes.

De esta forma, hay que decir que Trenza del mar esmeralda tiene un tono bastante diferente al resto del Cosmere, siendo más similar a la trabajada y florida prosa que vemos en historias como El alma del emperador o Sombras por silencio en los bosques del infierno que a otras mucho más funcionales. Sin llegar a las cotas de metaficción e intertextualidad pretendidas al emular La princesa prometida, Sanderson si que consigue aquí construir una historia sencilla pero de lo más entretenida y bonita, que juega a romper una cuarta pared al puro estilo Buenos presagios o El demonio de Próspero. Todo ello repleto de acción y aventura, carisma y algún que otro giro interesante, elaborada en un tono más jocoso y con un humor bastante efectivo (y parecido a la serie Alcatraz) que nunca llega a ser forzado como en otras ocasiones. Es, diría yo, un Brandon Sanderson que se ha divertido, disfrutado y exprimido al máximo sin pensar en entregas, tiempos ni lectores.

Dame Cosmere que me quiero morir
Dado que Trenza del mar esmeralda se sitúa cronológicamente unos cuantos años en el futuro del Cosmere y Hoid -el cazador de poderes- es nuestro narrador, era imposible que algunas perlas de Cosmere no salieran a la luz durante su lectura. Y aunque es mas disfrutable en algunos aspectos si has leído Elantris, la primera era de Nacidos de la Bruma, El aliento de los dioses e Historia Secreta, eso no impide decir que Trenza del mar esmeralda sea una buena puerta de entrada al Cosmere y a las novelas de Brandon Sanderson para nuevos lectores. Y es que, pese a estas escasas (aunque interesantes) referencias que funcionan más bien como guiños para sus ávidos lectores, el mundo de Lumar contiene una historia independiente y autocontenida en su totalidad, de la que no es necesario tener ningún conocimiento del Cosmere para regocijarse por completo.

Reseña en el blog: https://boywithletters.blogspot.com/2...
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