Review: Yumi and the Nightmare Painter

Yumi and the Nightmare Painter by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

On the Cosmere subreddit there’s always a debate on how the eventual Cosmere films should be made. Some of us think it would work best as an anime. There are certain things like the Mistborn jumping around that might look better with the suspension of disbelief that comes with animation and look silly in live action. But in the past Sanderson has said he’d prefer live action and some folks are VERY opposed to the idea of anime. I mention all of this because as I was reading Yumi and the Nightmare Painter, I found myself thinking this sounds like Cosmere: The Anime. Interestingly enough, Sanderson says at the end of this book that he was partly inspired by the manga Hikari No Go and another one called Your Name.

Like many Cosmere books, this one has a bit of a slow start. One of my friends bounced off both from the start, but also from the characters. Sanderson sets up both main characters to have lots of character growth, so they start off kind of unlikable (not as bad as Quentin in The Magicians ), but perhaps not exactly the type of main character you might want to follow. (Again, same friend had issue with this) That said, there is a very good plot reason for one of the characters to be this way.

Now for a part that needs spoilers. (I think when this later appears on my blog the spoiler tags from Goodreads don’t translate over.) First of all, this is the first time I’ve seen a fantasy novel tackle the science fiction trope of (view spoiler)[ the AI singularity where a machine is tasked with making paperclips and eventually makes everything into a paperclip (hide spoiler)]. Also, perhaps because Sanderson wrote this in the previous year, it’s funny that he tackles concepts (view spoiler)[we’re currently debating with ChatGPT and Dall-e (hide spoiler)] but doesn’t mention it at the end when he talks about his influences. Also, based on what (view spoiler)[Hoid (hide spoiler)] says, I think that he did NOT (view spoiler)[intentionally intend for Taravingeon/Odium to mess with his memories (hide spoiler)].

Overall, it’s a fun book that doesn’t seem to have too many Cosmere connections. It seems to have slightly less than Tress. So, while I enjoyed it, if you want to skip it, I don’t think it’s the end of the world.

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