The Nightmare Affair
Author: Mindee Arnett
Part of a series? Arkwell Academy, #1
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Length: 367 pages (hardcover)
Genre: YA contemporary fantasy
Source: NetGalley ARC
Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare.
Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy, is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder.
Then Eli’s dream comes true.
Now Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.
When I first heard about this book, I had no idea that nightmares could actually mean actual creatures. But then I looked up "nightmares" on Wikipedia and encountered this lovely visual:
|Well, that's disturbing.|
|Okay, not that kind of teenage girl.|
"Meh" Moments: For me, this was the kind of book that was good... but could've been GREAT. I love the world that Arnett has created, along with its corresponding magical system, and I really like Dusty as a narrator, but the biggest drawback for me was the lack of depth in the secondary characters. They just fall a little flat and feel one-dimensional to me. I understand the need to place more focus on the action--it certainly helps put things at a faster pace--but there's also something to be said about thoroughly fleshed-out characters that feel real, that are complex, that linger in a reader's consciousness long after you turn the last page. And while Dusty as a heroine does achieve that to some extent, I can't help but wonder how much more epic the story could've been if more was revealed about Selene, Katarina, or even Eli. For instance, the Harry Potter series wasn't just about the magic and the adventure; it was also about Harry, Ron, and Hermione and the colorful cast of characters that they encounter along the way.
For fans of: Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, magical boarding school stories, and fairy tale retellings.
Buy or Borrow? A tentative buy. While it's a good, fun read, it might be worth skimming the first few pages of it first, just to see if you like it.