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Differences and similarities

EricWijnen 10 februari 2024
Brandon Sanderson hardly needs any introduction in the Fantasy genre. He has published so much books the past years that a lot of writers would like him to stop writing, so they can catch up. Although he already published 4 books - one if which was the much acclaimed Elantris - before his career sky-rocketed when he finished writing The Wheel of Time based on Robert Jordan's notes. Besides writing a lot, each year he teaches a lecture at BYU about writing, with specialisation on Fantasy. These lectures can be found at YouTube, the lectures from 2020: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cf-qdZ7GbA&list=PLSH_xM-KC3Zv-79sVZTTj-YA6IAqh8qeQ . If you are a writer, not just a fantasy-writer, I can definitely recommend watching these lectures. Back to books: during the COVID-pandamic, when everybody was at home, guess what Brandon Sanderson did in that year: he wrote four secret novels, from which this is the thrid one.


Yumi lives on a bright world. She is a revered person that helps people by performing rituals that are asked of her. Painter lives on a dark world. His sky contains only one star, and not a bright one at that. He paints nightmares, that come out of the shroud, before they get too powerful and become dangerous. One day Yumi is asked for help by someone that only speaks to her. A short time later Painter is sent to her, to help. or is he? Yumi seems to be an overall bright person, where 'Painter' is more glum.

The worlds Brandon Sanderson shows you feel real and at the same time fanatstic. Almost our world, but with perpetual darkness, and a bright world that feels like ancient China or Japan, with a lot of rituals to get through the day. That sense is stengthened by the names of the characters throughout the book. Both the Yumi and Painter character are totaly different, and yet have so much in common. Both have the same drive, although it is burried deeper at one of them. The bickering between them almost always has a comic note to it, and gives a sense of recognition.

In the narrative you wil find at some points texts between brackets, these are thoughts from the Hoid character and, altough he is the driving force behind this story, I found this narative to be disruptive and pushed me out of the story instead of further in. Until you get at the end, where his narrative shines some brightness on what was happening in the story. Happily these intermissions are very short during the story, and it was very easy to pick up the story.

The resolution to the story was a bit surprising and made a nice twist.

The deeper you get into the book the more the Cosmere comes into plain sight. The Cosmere is what connects most of Brandon Sanderson's books, but you can read Yumi and the Nightmare Painter without any knowledge of the cosmere. The remarks that are made in the books, throw a different light on The Stormlight Archive. Personaly I am not that involved in the Cosmere and if I catch the hints I catch them, and otherwise I just don't.

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