The Nightmare Affair (The Arkwell Academy #1)
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. The setting is Arkwell.
And then it comes true.
Now the 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.
MAJOR SELLING POINTS:
I love the weird and whacky supernatural creatures we don't get to see often. Beings that feed off people's dreams definitely fit in that category. That unfamiliar mythology and the fact that Nightmares reminded me of maras from Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamers series pretty much guaranteed I was going to give this book a chance.
I love my mystery shows. I don't often read crime books, but I don't mind having a mystery as a side plot. Especially one as dark and mysterious as a serial killer.
I was disappointed with The Nightmare Affair. The mythology was good! What little there was. The rest just kind of fell short. Predictability was a big problem, as was the fact that the twists literally came from nowhere, there was no set up whatsoever. I had no idea where they came from. None of the major climatic events were that exciting either. I couldn't care less what was happening. I just thought it was 'meh'. I don't think I'll be continuing the series.
Once again, 'meh'. There was nothing special about this writing. It was kind of boring. Lots of info dumping and a complete lack of imagery, which was my biggest issue. We were told quite a lot of things. Sometimes Dusty was fairly humourous, but the jokes were pretty lame more often than not or I missed the reference/tag line completely. I think it may have been more suited to people a little younger.
Dusty is so clumsy it is ridiculous. There is no way that much stuff could go wrong in reality. (Life, please don't prove me wrong) This fact, along with her flat personality, made it really hard to connect with Dusty. My honest thoughts on her was that she was okay. Her obliviousness was annoying quite a bit, and her humour silly, and I can't think of anything that stood out as really good about her.
There is no way Eli would exist as a real person. No one is as good as Eli is. It's impossible. Really nice guy who gives off a bad boy attitude. Really well built and fit, a jock, but still stands up for the nerds. Smart, sarcastic, perfect. He is way too well rounded to exist in reality. This could just be stereotypes rubbing off on me but seriously, Eli cannot be real. He has no flaws!!
Paul (his last name is one of the obvious plot developments but still slightly spoilery)
Dusty might think Paul is a really wonderful nice guy, but I was never certain. Like Eli, he was too nice, too convenient. I never liked him. He was too suspicious. And it was so obvious where his development and motivations were going.
The romance in The Nightmare Affair didn't really exist. The was no chemistry, no anticipation, no build up. It happened to way to fast and as a result, I did not care about the relationship at all. This is strange for me because I always ship characters. Always. It probably didn't help that I could tell where the relationships were heading as soon as the males were introduced. (Oh yeah, it's a love triangle).
-Dusty x Eli
-Lance x a fist to the face
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.
The characters in The Nightmare Affair were just fabulous. I immediately knew who I liked, who I didn't like, who I trusted, who I didn't trust and who was going to get with who. Of course, I knew these things for all of five minutes before I realised these characters were too well-done to be figured out this early on. In fact several of the things I felt for sure were true/would happen were wrong which leaves me severely doubting my detective skills.
As soon as I heard about 'F' I immediately guessed what it stood for (and I was right, yay detective skills!) and was pretty sure of who it stood for, but this was just a tiny piece of the puzzle and the rest was completely hidden from me. I just couldn't work out who the main baddie was. I jumped from character to character to character until the only people left who I hadn't suspected were Dusty and Eli! As frustrating as it was not to be able to guess 'who dunnit' I was really pleased at how well written the mystery was. I was really taken on adventure and I was surprised at almost every turn.
I loved that the relationships were real and that just because Dusty and Eli were crazily linked they weren't immediately thrown together to live out a long, tortured, forbidden love! I was expecting, as happens in a lot of YA books these days, that they'd fall in love but Eli (or Dusty) wouldn't want to admit because they weren't both human, or something along those lines but instead their relationship was fairly slow and took a while to build into a friendship. I don't want to say anything to spoil the book so I'm not going to say whether or not they get together, or fall in love with someone else, or get eaten by dragons.. you shall just have to read the book (or ask someone else who's read it)!
I'm not sure I can find much wrong with this book, it was just so great! The story was mostly unpredictable and the characters all had their own personalities. I really liked this book but I could feel something 'more' towards the end and I just know the next book is going to progress and grow, and that I'm going to love it just as much, if not more!
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.
He grunted. "Like I've never heard that before. Funny, but I expected a little more originality from Moira's daughter."
"Yeah, well, the dog ate my notebook with all my good excuses."
I should have taken notes on The Nightmare Affair whilst reading, but it was so amazing that I simply couldn't put it down to write about my thoughts. I had to read this straight-through.
The story starts off with Dusty breaking and entering -- well, not really breaking and entering -- into Eli Booker's house to plant nightmares into his dreams. You're probably reading this with a baffled expression like, 'first off, why is this child named "Dusty" and what do you mean by "plant nightmares?"' Hold on to your underwear, please, and let me explain. Our protagonist is a Nightmare -- the kind of mystical 'creature' that, in order to survive, must plant nightmares into a person's head and basically feed off the energy. This is what Dusty has to do, but her 'feeding' totally backfires with Eli's dream because something out of the ordinary occurred and changed their lives for ever.
Dusty is a very witty and sarcastic sixteen-year-old who attends Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for the magickind (i.e., werewolves, demons, witches and wizards, fairies, sirens, etc.). She is the only Nightmare there, so it's really hard for her to fit in. The Nightmare Affair was amazingly written and absolutely hilarious. I found myself wiping the tears from my eyes from laughing hard. This book is oozing with magic and I am very upset at the fact I have to wait a year for book two.
You can tell Mindee Arnett was inspired by the Harry Potter series (in fact, this book sort of reminds me of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets combined). It's not as though this was a rip off to the HP series, god no, but you'll notice Ms Arnett snagged a few ideas from them. You'll know what I'm talking about once you've read The Nightmare Affair. Nevertheless, it was such a fun and charming read. Also, I usually abhor love-triangles; however, I will let this one slide because I enjoyed it.
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
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.
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.
Smexy Dream Scenes
Add those all together and what do you have? A nightmare worth dreaming.