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Yumi and the Nightmare Painter Full Reactions (No Cosmere)

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I really liked the idea of the epilogue being optional. It was like the "Extra Episode" of the drama they watched that wasn't officially part of the story. You could absolutely end the book at the ending, or have the "extra episode" alternate ending. 

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So, I felt like this book had an extreme strong emotional core, even compared to most other Cosmere books. And by "emotional core" I primarily mean Yumi's arc, which is, in its core, a story about a person who was never given even the slightest bit of joy or even self, all of her life is duty, and there's something incredibly touching about those moments when she realizes what she can have, and that there's no way she doesn't deserve these things as well. It makes the slice-of-life moments of the book hit pretty hard. A scene about going shopping probably wouldn't be quite this magical without the arc of her discovering these normal things firsthand. It adds a whole other layer to those magical everday moments, it makes them both everyday and literally magical at the same time. The three scenes in particular I'm thinking of: The shopping scene, the flying scene within "her world", and the carnival.

On a side-note, I've read Sanderson books for more than 13 years, and back then I was a very plot-focused reader who was always looking for the next captivating story. That was when I was in my teens. My time at university had me discovering how beautiful depictions of everyday life could actually be, mostly via Ghibli films (Whisper of the Heart and My Neighbor Totoro come to mind), but also due to arthouse films like the Before trilogy by Richard Linklater or the filmography of Wong Kar-wai. From then on, these have always been sort of two different things to look out for in a film or book in my mind, and they've been kind of separated: Sanderson is a story-teller first and foremost. Filmmakers like Wong or Linklater don't care quite as much about story and more about the vibes, the little things, the everyday stuff. Of course, Hayao Miyazaki is already kind of on the edge on these things (Mononoke being more story-driven, Totoro being more vibes-driven), but most of the time, it works well to think of these as two separate intentions that art/artists can have.

And this book is outside of these categories in very beautiful ways. Sanderson has found a way to make these little moments matter in a broader, captivating story and the arcs of its characters, specifically Yumi. With her, he has created a premise that can make these everyday moments work perfectly in a tighter story. And in some strange way, having followed his writing for so long and having my taste expand so much, I'm somehow oddly proud of him pulling this off. I think this is the latest point where people criticizing him as mechanical or too plot-focused or not as strong in terms of prose have to deal with a very, very strong counter argument.

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Hi friends! I hope we're all having a lovely day!

Ohhhh I finished reading the Yumi today and it was so fun! I don't normally enjoy romance all that much but brandon does it good. I will admit to feeling a little bogged down with it during the middle but wow when the Sanderlanche hit I was gasping and yelling the whole time. And tbh there's a lot of stuff like with Yumi and Akane and Tojin that I liked. Wow nightmares were scary at first to, lots of horror sections that had my hairs standing up and skin crawling. I hear that people weren't so much a fan of certain explanation sections but I actually really appreciated them and helped fill out any questions I had. All in all a very fun read and between this and Tress these cosmere secret projects are incredible!

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On 7/27/2023 at 8:26 AM, Elegy said:

But once every 3-4 books is actually an outrageous amount if you consider that doing it constantly can make the stories lose stakes for a lot of people. There have been several instances of characters actually dying and people needing Brandon's confirmation via WOB that they were actually died because they didn't believe they actually died (and a shoe was once eaten because of it :D). Cases like these show that this is not something that an author should do liberally. Of course, I understand your experience. But I've heard it repeatedly that people are annoyed at this.

And this particular case was one of the worst in my opinion. Like, it literally says that she "evaporated into nothingness" (what's a more definitive way of saying that a character died) at the end of the chapter, so it's hard for me to imagine that Brandon didn't want the reader to believe she died and feel the feeling as if she had died. And, like I said, to me that feels dishonest. (Now that I think about it, I wouldn't have been nearly as mad about it if he had just let her come back at the end of the chapter instead of closing that door in one chapter, then opening it again in the epilogue as a separate chapter and doing it the other way. It just wasn't well-done imo.)

Anyway, there's more discussion about fake deaths in this section of the Cosmere Beef 2 Shardcast episode (obviously full of spoilers, even beyond the Cosmere, and released waaay before Yumi, so I have no idea how the casters think about this particular case).

I think I said what I wanted to say about this topic, especially considering that I didn't want to talk about it initially :D The ways we perceived the ending are both valid and we can agree to disagree. It is, however, a fact that to some people, Brandon's tendency to bring characters back feels a bit overdone and easy.

I promise I will write something more positive about the book in the next few days, because like I said, I loved it and there's so much to talk about, and it feels bad to just rant on about the one single thing that I disliked about it. (EDIT: Took me a bit longer than I wanted, but there it is!)

Also, the physical copy just arrived and it is such a piece of art, I'm going crazy over it.

This is kind of fascinating to me, that you perceive a take-out death to be cruel.

Bear in mind, I tend to be pretty easy to please, but in most cases I don't mind being faked out about an emotional death...it let's me have my cake and eat it too...to go through the emotions that the death brings out, to feel that moment fully...but then afterwards have the satisfaction of the happy ending. I know many find it too simplistic, or childish but I like happy endings most of the time.

In the end it's going to be deeply personal how someone feels about these things,  and as a reader each of our experiences is valid.

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