Friday, March 8, 2013

ARC Review: The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett

Title: The Nightmare Affair (The Arkwell Academy #1)
Author: Mindee Arnett
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Fantasy

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.
Review by Nara

Thank you to Macmillan- Tor/Forge for sending me an advance copy of The Nightmare Affair through NetGalley. In no way did this affect my opinion of the book.

NOTE: Quotations were taken from the ARC and may not be the same in the final published copy.

A fresh take on the genre of young adult paranormal fantasy, I must say that I enjoyed the fact that the novel focused on the lesser known mythical creatures, e.g. Sirens and Nightmares, rather than the cliched vampire or werewolf. With no build up, from the start of the novel, we're plunged straight into the action, with Dusty attempting to dream-feed off of her former classmate, Eli Booker. Within his dream, she finds herself looking at the dead body of one of her classmates. And when the classmate actually does turn up dead, Dusty is told that she is a dream-seer- a Nightmare who can predict the future by entering the dreams of a certain partner (in this case, Eli).

One aspect of the book that I really enjoyed was all the lore backing up the main story, i.e. the background to Nightmares, the Keepers, the Will- it was obviously well thought out and well written, with all the questions that I would have had about these things being fully explored. I also quite enjoyed the light humour scattered throughout the novel. Some examples from early in the book:
Some stories said that Nightmares were demons (not true), while others said they were "hags", as in scary old women who lived in the forest and abducted lost kids to cook for supper (more true, although I didn't recommend saying so to my mother).

"I didn't do anything wrong. I swear."
He grunted. "Liked 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."

Sidenote: I love how so many books these days take a dig at Twilight&Co.:
Magickind started rumors about themselves in the ordinary world all the time, the latest example being the ordinary pop culture obsession with vampires as misunderstood victims who'd rather kiss a human than kill one. So not true.

All the characters were well developed by Arnett, particularly Dusty (really interesting nickname by the way). Both love interests, Eli and Paul, were relatively well developed, and I could see Dusty connecting to both characters rather than the superficial instalove many novels include. One thing I didn't enjoy so much was Eli dating the bitch of the book- why does this happen so often in Young Adult??

A minor issue that I had was that some sections were a bit cliched, and the writing style at times seemed as if it would better suit a younger audience, but it wasn't so much so that I found it annoying or boring. The scene at the climax of the novel was pretty damn epic- action packed and dramatic, it was exactly the sort of scene needed after the skillful build-up of suspense and tension throughout the book. Unfortunately, I do have to say that I predicted some of the "big twist", but some parts were completely unexpected, so, well played, Arnett, well played.

The Nightmare Affair is definitely an impressive start to the author's career.

Recent Recommended Books:
1. Pivot Point by Kasie West
2. The Archived by Victoria Schwabb
3. Altered by Jennifer Rush
4. Slated by Teri Terry

Liked it

Overall: 8/10
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 4/5


  1. Sometimes I love books that plunge in instead of the build up. You just have to jump right in and figure it out, and it can be fun that way. I have heard that this book was more suited for younger readers, but I enjoy those, so I will definitely be reading this. Thanks for the review!

    1. Yeah, I agree, I quite liked the way that Arnett structured her novel. The book does seem targeted for younger readers, but I definitely still found it enjoyable.

  2. My co-blogger also said that this might better suit the middle grade audience, but she enjoyed it as well. I need to find time to read this one soon! I love the idea of a personified nightmare!

    1. Definitely have a read! I found the ideas very original :)

  3. I'm so glad you enjoyed it- it makes me even wanna read this more! :) I like the idea of Sirens and Nightmares- seriously sick of vampires and werewolves. And I love the fact that it makes references (aka fun) of Twilight. ;) Judging from the quotes you put, this sounds like a snarky and fun book, so yeah, I really wanna read this now!

    1. Such a great idea to focus on the lesser known mythical creatures! I hope you enjoy the book when you read it :)