The Nightmare Affair (The Arkwell Academy #1)

 
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The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett
eARC received from Tor Teen via Netgalley
Release Date: 3-5-2013
Reviewed by: Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say: Ethereal, Gripping, and Dazzling

I have been looking forward to reading The Nightmare Affair ever since I read the blurb (months and months ago). It was one of the coolest ideas I have ever heard—Dusty’s a nightmare! A nightmare! How cool is that? I love the idea of taking something so abstract and turning it into embodiment of a person! Mindee’s world is utterly hypnotic—filled with duplicitous magickind and twisted into the stuff of…forgive me, nightmares. So, fantasy and magic fans, dive straight into this world! But be careful, here there be monsters.

Mindee’s story jumps straight into the action from Chapter 1, which, if you know me, is exactly how I like them. I understand that first books in a series need the world building, but at times it can get dense and boring. But not with this one. Each chapter brings a new mystery or a new revelation, and I couldn’t make my eyes read fast enough. The action kept me intrigued while the characters captured my imagination. I loved that Mindee was able to weave her world building into the action—and what a world it is. There are all sorts of magical creatures living in one place, and I just love how this book portrays them. You have sirens, vampires, demons, witches, mermaids—you name the paranormal creature, and it’s probably in this book. It was neat seeing a book where you get to see multiple creatures, instead of just focusing on a few.

Dusty was such a great main character—feisty and fun, but at times, immature in her thinking and actions. Normally, this would but me, but it just seems natural with Dusty. I didn’t get annoyed with her rash decisions, and believe me, she did make quite a few. It felt more like a rite of passage than just dumb mistakes. I think some people might get annoyed with her jump-straight-in attitude, but it didn’t really bug me. Now, I did think she was a little dense in the romance department, but that’s just me being biased because I like Eli. Paul is sweet and he seems like a great guy for her, but I just didn’t like him. Add that to the fact that the dream sessions with Eli are something that could definitely end in some great romancy scenes, and I just have high hopes that she’ll choose him.

So, obviously you know I’m a fan of Eli. Now, don’t get me wrong, he is definitely not perfect. He can be a big jerk at times, and like Dusty, he’s also dense at times when it comes to romance. But he just seems so sincere, and again, I like the connection that Dusty has with him. I would have liked to see a bit more alpha male in him, especially because he’s this big athlete and Mr. Popular from his last school. But, I really didn’t see that. We saw brief glimpses of jealousy and antagonism, but it wasn’t full blown. I would like to see some possessiveness show out in him in the next book.

I really liked the minor characters, too. You have Lance, who is this big jack***, but there is something about him that seems friendly, like if you manage to get past the goofy and jerky barrier, he could be an amazing friend. I might be wrong about him, but I still like his character, and I look forward to seeing more of him in the future. Then you have Selene, Dusty’s best friend. She’s the “give me no excuses and I won’t kick you in the butt” type of girl, and I really like her sincerity and her protective side.

The only complaint I really have is that some parts were predictable. Not all of them were, there was a big twist at the end that I didn’t see coming; however, I did see a few of the other big twists. This predictability didn’t keep me from enjoying the book, though. I still enjoyed every aspect of it, and I can’t wait until the sequel.

Horned Demons
Contraband Magic
Smexy Dream Scenes
Duplicitous People
Dark Secrets
Add those all together and what do you have? A nightmare worth dreaming.
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