Yumi and the Nightmare Painter

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Yumi and the Nightmare Painter
Yumi US Cover.jpg
Setting Komashi, Cosmere
Released July 1st, 2023[1]
Publisher Dragonsteel Entertainment
Page Count 479
Word Count 113,455

Yumi and the Nightmare Painter is a stand alone Cosmere novel, told as an in-world story by Hoid. It is about Yumi, a yoki-hijo, and Nikaro, a nightmare painter. During the story Hoid is trapped on the planet Komashi, where the Shard Virtuosity Splintered herself.[2]

Yumi and the Nightmare Painter was the third of the secret projects released in 2023. It was released on July 1st, 2023 as part of a Kickstarter Campaign.[1] This will be followed by a standard publishing release on October 3, 2023.[3] The Dragonsteel edition is illustrated by Aliya Chen.[4]

On March 17, 2022, Brandon released the first seven chapters, along with some brief commentary, which can be read on his website and listened to on his YouTube channel. He also did a full spoiler Q&A about these preview chapters, which can be listened to on his YouTube channel.


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?

—Tor blurb [3]


The story is set in two vastly disparate locations -- the city of Kilahito, in a world covered by a perpetual shroud of darkness, and the land of Torio, where the ground is extremely hot and humanity can only survive around geysers. In Kilahito, Nikaro, or Painter, works a thankless job as a nightmare painter, capturing nightmares that slink out of the shroud into the city to feed on the fear of its people. In Torio, Yumi is a traveling yoki-hijo, a rare priestess able to summon and command spirits that serve various necessary functions for Torio's inhabitants. Painter is beginning to feel ennui, and slowly realizing he needs to improve himself; Yumi feels trapped between her yearning to be free and her sense of responsibility as a yoki-hijo.[2]

One day, Yumi is contacted by a spirit from deep below, who asks her to help free them. She agrees and collapses. Around the same time, Painter tracks down and scares away a particularly powerful nightmare before feeling extremely tired and falling asleep.[2] When the two wake up, they realize they are now bound together. In Torio, Painter appears to others as though he was Yumi, while she herself is a disembodied spirit visible only to him; in Kilahito, Painter is the disembodied spirit and Yumi inhabits Painter's body (but still looks like herself). They now must work together to learn each other's jobs and figure out what happened to tie them like this--and how to stop it.[5]

Main CharactersEdit


I've always wanted to dive into doing a story with some kind of fantastical job, or maybe two. Something cool (yet somehow still mundane) involving the sorts of work one could only do in a fantasy world.


Yumi and the Nightmare Painter was written as one of the secret projects that Brandon worked on during the Covid-19 pandemic.[1] Alongside Tress of the Emerald Sea, it is an experiment in writing Hoid narration in anticipation of Dragonsteel. While Tress has more of a fairytale tone, Yumi is supposed to be a more dramatic voice.[5]

While the setting is a mix of Japanese and Korean influences, it was inspired mostly by Japanese media. The initial concept came from Hikaru no Go, which Brandon became familiar with through Peter Ahlstrom's fan-translation. In it, a young boy finds a Go board haunted by an old master who offers to teach him the game -- hence a ghostly Painter teaching Yumi his craft, while ghostly Yumi teaches Painter hers. Additional inspiration came from Your Name, as well as Final Fantasy X. Yumi's name specifically is derived from Yuna, one of the protagonists of FFX.[5]

Cover GalleryEdit

Interior ArtEdit


  • Yumi and the Nightmare Painter is Brandon's favorite of the Secret Projects.[6]

Statistical AnalysisEdit

Yumi and the Nightmare Painter consists of forty-one chapters and two epilogues. It has a total word count of 113,455.

Word Count 113,455 Excluding postscript.
Page Count 479 Dragonsteel edition
Chapter Count 43 Including epilogues.


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