By Brandon Sanderson
Inspired by Korean and Japanese culture, the standalone book Yumi and the Nightmare Painter chronicles the adventures of the two protagonists: Yumi, who comes from an ancient world where the ground burns to the touch, trees float in the air, and spirits connect through her to help her community, and Painter, who lives in a more contemporary world where a dark mist shrouds his surroundings, technology modernizes society, and fearsome beings called nightmares terrorize his people. Both play important roles in their respective worlds; Yumi uses the art of stacking rocks to call on the spirits, and Painter uses ink-wash painting to drive away the nightmares. One day, their separate worlds collide, and Yumi and Painter are forced to work together to uncover ancient threats that may lead to the ruin of both of their communities.
From the first few pages, I was immersed in the lands of magic and mystery. The contrast between the two worlds was striking, and the vivid descriptions of the magical lands were captivating, to say the least. In my opinion, this book may be one of the author’s best; the story intertwines a fascinating plot, intricate magic system, and realistic characters to create a beautiful tale of two people fighting to save their lands. Without giving away too many spoilers, I would say that this book has many similarities to the anime Your Name and the plot itself reads a bit like an anime story, which may or may not be a disadvantage to some readers. Also, while the novel is built as a standalone, it alludes to many other books that the author, Brandon Sanderson, has written and may contain spoilers for readers who are just venturing into Sanderson’s works. I also found that the ending of the book did not wrap up quite satisfyingly, and information was provided to the readers rather than letting the story conclude naturally. Still, the book was an enjoyable read, and I would recommend it to anyone who is searching for a fantasy novel that merges magic and art in a novel way.
Reviewed by Amal