Title: The Nightmare Affair
Author: Mindee Arnett
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Cover Impressions: I love the black silhouettes against the purple background and the white elements stand out beautifully. I hope they keep the same general feel with other books in the series, perhaps changing the color each time...
Review: During my childhood I was surrounded by the stories of my culture - of ghosts that walked the shores, fairies that would steal babies from their cribs and the Old Hag who was the cause of debilitating nightmares. In college, while studying folklore, I discovered research that had linked the experiences of The Old Hag (believing to be awake, a feeling of pressure on the chest, inability to move) to traditions from many different cultures. I have always found this particular phenomenon to be fascinating. Needless to say, upon discovering that The Nightmare Affair featured a take on this belief, I was intrigued.
Dusty Everhart is a Nightmare. She is compelled by the mysterious Will that governs all supernatural creatures, to break into people's homes and invade their dreams. This involves the awkward practice of balancing on their chest and has led to some embarassing situations. When she explores the dreams of the oh-so-hot Eli Booker, she uncovers clues to a murder she didn't know had happened yet and the pair are sent on the search for a killer.
Arnett has created a very interesting world that could be expanded in any number of ways as she continues on in this series. She seems to concentrate more on the lesser known supernatural characters (Nightmares and Sirens being chief among them) rather than the been there, done that Witches, Warlocks and Vampires (though those creatures certainly exist). That being said, I would have preferred a little more development particularly in the explanation of The Will. I feel like I never really understood the rules or how certain characters had found ways around them.
There were some interesting characters in The Nightmare Affair that could have used some fleshing out. Most of them came across as a little two dimensional. My favorite character was Selene, Dusty's best friend, who has the potential for greatness, but needs a little boost in the humor department if she is to cement the sidekick role. Both love interests were fairly bland and I didn't feel a whole lot of chemistry between any of them. There were a number of adult characters that didn't seem to serve much of a purpose and I feel like they could have been cut so that we could spend more time getting to know the more important people.
The plot was fun and well paced. While certain events/villains were fairly predictable, I did not figure out the whole story until it was revealed and resolved. I enjoyed how the ending set up this series for further mischief and mayhem to come in future novels.
The Nightmare Affair is a solid start to a new series and I look forward to more obscure folklore and, hopefully, further character development.
Age: 13 and up
Sex: Kissing, PG-13 makeout sessions
Violence: Murder, Removal of a hand/fingers, Swordplay,
Inappropriate Language: Yes
Substance Use/Abuse: None