The Nightmare Affair (The Arkwell Academy #1)

 
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4 reviews with 3 stars

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Overall rating 
 
3.4
Plot 
 
3.5  (8)
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Fun but not memorable
Overall rating 
 
3.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
This was actually pretty fun.

The Nightmare Affair was one my list of top 5 most anticipated debut novels this year. Ever since I read the blurb I knew I wanted to read it because I've never read a book about a real Nightmare. Dusty invades other people's dreams in order to feed. I didn't explain it right but once you start reading it, you'll get it. And look at that wonderful cover!

I did not expect it to be such a fun book. I thought it would be more dark and mysterious but I prefer it the way it was because I don't think I would like it if it turned out to be spooky since I read plenty of horror books this past few weeks. It was just what I needed.

Dusty Everheart is a Nightmare and after her latest 'victim', Eli, discovers her sitting on his chest while he was sleeping magic government(or something like that) send him to her school where Dusty and Eli have to meet up 3 times a week for dream invading sessions.

Eli is your typical hot guy so he didn't spark my interest at all, while, his roommate, Lance, the guy who bullies Dusty all the time, made me laugh a couple of times while he was bickering with Dusty. I'm not saying I approve of bullying it's just that he seemed more real than Eli. I look forward to D/L pranks in the future.

There's no use of denying The Nightmare Affair has some similarities with Harry Potter. I won't bore you with the details, if I could ignore those similarities, I'm sure you will too. The bad guy/killer aspect of this novel was too predictable. Maybe younger readers won't see it from the start who is the fishy character. I also find the thought of teenagers against powerful adult warlocks silly. If I was 10 years younger I would accept it with no questions asked.

All in all, a charming debut novel for the fans of magic boarding schools. I will definitely read the sequel.
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The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
2.0
This book was one of my most anticipated reads of 2013. I was all hyped up to read it by other bloggers and then the cover was beautiful, I just KNEW that I would love it.But then when it was released I saw so many people either putting it on the back burner or giving it a low rating that I just waited along with everyone else. And now I see why everyone waited for it. Because I wasn't that impressed either.
Ever get that feeling where you know you read something before but you know its just not this specific story? That's how I felt with this story. It reminded me heavily of Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins. The good thing about that, I loved that story. The bad thing, the more I read this, I thought about re-reading Hex Hall and putting this one down. I mean it had its differences with Dusty being a nightmare and the whole dream thing, but it also had times where I was thinking "Dang this sounds like Sophie's story." And then there was the whole "love triangle." I'm already not a fan of them, put that with the fact that I really didn't fall for either one. I wasn't particularly happy about that.
What I did like was the concept and the actual plot twist. It was not exactly what I was expecting, which was a nice turn after me not liking the rest of the story so much. I also liked the dream visiting. Although that was most of the story. But I will say I was expecting an epic battle scene at the end. It honestly wasn't even luke warm smh Especially since it was always the same spells used throughout the entire book.
All in all, I guess I'm a little disappointed When I read the premise of this book and saw the amazing cover, I just knew that this was going to be a five star. Now I'm just surprised it got 2.
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The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett
(Updated: March 30, 2013)
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
This and other reviews can be found on http://readingbetweenclasses.blogspot.com

Title: The Nightmare Affair
Author: Mindee Arnett
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Rating: 3/5

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.

Teaching/Parental Notes:

Age: 13 and up
Gender: Both
Sex: Kissing, PG-13 makeout sessions
Violence: Murder, Removal of a hand/fingers, Swordplay,
Inappropriate Language: Yes
Substance Use/Abuse: None
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Fun and cute
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
Fans of upbeat, non-serious paranormal will doubtless love The Nightmare Affair. It’s a quick read, featuring fun characters and a unique premise, and it’s unquestionably entertaining. Of course, at the same time, Arnett’s plot construction was a bit too simplistic, the story too predictable, and the text, overall, lacked the sort of emotional depth I tend to look for in books. So there’s definitely a trade-off there.

Initially, the reader is introduced to Dusty, a Nightmare who’s sneaking into some hot boy’s room to feed off of his dreams. Except things don’t go according to plan, because the boy—Eli—wakes up, and because of certain circumstances, he now has to transfer to Dusty’s magic school and work with her to apprehend a murderer. Together with a couple of other friends, Dusty and Eli uncover some cover-ups, and Arnett throws in a really cool twist on the Merlin/Excalibur legend. Then the mystery wraps itself up rather cheesily, and all is well again in Dusty’s world.

The best I can describe The Nightmare Affair is as a book similar to Paranormalcy as far as seriousness and depth go, but with a sort of Inception-esque element thrown in. Basically, if Kiersten White had written a book version of Inception, I think this is what we would have gotten—or something close. Upbeat, likable, and fluffy are three words that capture this book in a nutshell.

I did enjoy Dusty’s narration. I think she was a fun, realistic girl stuck in a paranormal world, making the best of what she had. Was she fully fleshed-out? No. But that’s okay, in the long run—Arnett definitely shows herself to be a plot-driven author over a character-driven one. There’s nothing wrong with either, but as a reader who enjoys characterization and development more than any other aspect of a novel, I probably would have enjoyed seeing all of the characters (not just Dusty), more well-rounded.

The plot was also good. I did feel that the conclusion to the mystery was a little obvious and juvenile, but it did work well for the book itself. And room was definitely left open for the sequel, as well as a stronger connection between Dusty and Eli.

Overall, The Nightmare Affair was a fun and fluffy read that didn’t require too much effort to enjoy. Readers looking for depth should steer clear of this, but if you want some light entertainment, this is probably a good place to look.
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