Narrator: Michael Kramer, Kate Reading
on July 11, 2023
Genres: Fantasy Romance
Length: 14 hours, 42 minutes
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Yumi comes from a land of gardens, meditation, and spirits, while Painter lives in a world of darkness, technology, and nightmares. When their lives suddenly become intertwined in strange ways, can they put aside their differences and work together to uncover the mysteries of their situation and save each other’s communities from certain disaster?
The third book in Brandon Sanderson’s hugely successful Kickstarter is Yumi and the Nightmare Painter. This has been my favorite of the three books as it is set in the Cosmere, has some manga and Asian cultural influences and has a great story told by Hoid who is currently stuck at a statue while his Criptid runs a noodle parlor.
Yumi’s entire life has been ritual and sacrifice. She is waited on, revered and shrouded in mystery. She is also pretty much a prisoner and so lonely. When a spirit offers her a boon, she can’t think of anything she wants, so instead it asks a boon of her to save the spirits. Nico’s life is also lonely. Every night he roams his sector looking for nightmares to trap into forms by painting them. It is a strange job but someone has to do it to keep the city safe from nightmares that could become sentient. The reasons for his loneliness are very different but still present
When Nico wakes up in Yumi’s body it is so confusing. She is there as a spirit to guide him but the two must find out why they are now linked together in this strange bond where they spend time together in each other’s world. Yumi has never had an outsider see her life and Nico keeps pointing out things that are ritual that seem pointless. Whereas Yumi sees Nico’s life and wonders why he hasn’t made more of it if he gets to make so many choices. As the are forced to get to know each other, they find that they understand the other in ways no one else has.
“It’s a common mistake to assume that someone is weak because they are accommodating. If you think this, you might be the type who has no idea how much effort— how much strength— it takes to put up with your nonsense. Yumi wasn’t weak. She wasn’t a pushover. Don’t assume fragility where you should see patience.”
Together they will have to find ways to save both Yumi’s and Nico’s worlds. The twist in this one was fantastic, I didn’t see it coming and really part of me should have. That is the best thing about a Sanderson book. Usually once the reveal is made you see all the other clues that lead up to it and they are always there.
This was written for his wife Emily and so it is definitely a love story, probably his most love storylike story yet. Still it is Sanderson so the fantasy, plot and worldbuilding are impeccable too.
“You’re staring,” she said.
He was a painter. Not a poet. But somehow he found the right words. “I only stare,” he said, “when I see something too beautiful for my eyes to take in at once.”
While I listened to this on audiobook, I also had the ebook and went back through it to look at all the illustrations. So much of the book revolved around art and so it was nice to see some of the scenes brough to life at the beginning of the chapters. I enjoyed how well it lent to the overall story. If like me you are a huge Cosmere fan, there are great references to some of the places and characters in other stories in the Cosmere to also enjoy.
Side note: Hoid makes a most dashing Hat/Coat rack
If you’ve listened to anything set in the Cosmere then you are well versed with Michael Kramer and Kate Reading. They are fantastic narrators and always do a great job especially with the huge casts of characters that are in Sanderson books. The diction, voice changes and pacing are top notch. I was able to listen at my usual 1.5x speed.
Listen to a clip HERE
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