Monday, March 11, 2013

Review: The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett



The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett

Published March 5th 2013 by Tor Teen
Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare.


Literally.

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.
*An advanced copy was provided via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review - 
A big thanks to Tor Teen*

The Nightmare Affair was a book I was immediately attracted to as soon as I laid eyes on it.  Beyond it's alluring cover, the idea of a living Nightmare being a breed of  'Magickind' and what that entailed appealed to me very much.  Not only am I a HUGE lover of magical elements in my books but I have always been fascinated by dreams.  Needless to say that when the two themes collide, I'm in! Overall, I found The Nightmare Affair to be a light, easy-to-read fantasy.  I was quickly absorbed in both the fantasy world created & the dream world we get to explore though I wish we would have had even more 'dream-sequences' to enjoy.  For the most part the characters were diverse & memorable.  And even though some of the twists I was able to predict, the plot still kept my interest & left me eager to spend more time at Arkwell Academy.

The story begins with Dusty Everhart who is the MC and a Nightmare, meaning she needs to feed on other people's dreams. As a Nightmare, she feeds on 'fictus' the sort of 'fuel' of dreams made possible by human's imaginations.  So Dusty is on one of her bi-weekly sessions to quench her need for fictus, only this time she happened to land in Eli Booker's bedroom- a boy she used to go to school with.  A cute boy to boot!  Things go from awkward to scary when Dusty finds Eli dreaming of a murder. Going from bad to worst, Eli's dream turns out to have been prophetic, the murder he dreamed of becomes a reality...and it's no coincidence that Dusty witness it all! And so begins a quest to investigate what's really going on here, both in real life & in dreams, before the killer strikes again.

Easily the best part of this book for me was the creative world building.  I loved the different magical castes and how they are all brought together.  The dream-world was unique & brimming with possibilities which I hope we be explored in more depth in future books.  Needless to say those scenes were easily some of my favorites in the entire book.  Author Mindee Arnett does a good job of meshing her own unique ideas with other more familiar, well established tropes.  The resulting world felt fresh and enchanting but not overwhelming as some of the more high-concept fantasies can be.

I liked the assorted cast of characters too.  Dusty as the main protagonist was a very relatable snarky teenage girl.  I liked her attitude, her awkwardness and her determination.  Even though she made some mistakes along the way, it was easy to see where she was coming from and why she had acted the way she did.  Her story arc was well rounded & satisfying while leaving plenty of room to grown and change from here. I really liked Selene & Eli too, they were nice supporting players to help Dusty along and their personalities were distinct and memorable.  Some of the teachers & villains did come off a little too familiar for my taste, but it wasn't enough to really frustrate to the point of affecting my interest in any of them for too long.

The plot was engaging & honestly I found the whole thing fun from start to finish.  I never found my interest wavering or my thoughts drifting elsewhere. When I sat down to read, I was invested.  Some of the twists were a little obvious (and a few were a little too familiar *ahem*) but other really left me guessing how everything would play out.  Surprising or not, this was a fun read for me throughout.  The ending did a nice job of bringing the whole story together -   I loved the world Mindee Arnett created & the characters who inhabit it.  There certainly is room for the series to grow from here & I look forward to what is in store for Dusty & the rest of her friends at Arkwell Academy.

My rating : 3.5 out out of 5 stars ★★★★☆

18 comments:

  1. Great review hun! While I was reading, I had several 'right... I should have mentioned that in mine!' moments ;)
    I completely agree about the world building, it was awesome! I loved the trash trolls and the animation syndrome of the computers etc :D And I really liked Selene too! It was generally refreshing to have some not-so-often-written-about species in the novel :)
    But yeah, there were other things that were a bit more predictable, as you said. Though I'm not super-great at seeing things coming, usually ^^' Anyhow, I'm also looking forward to seeing where this is headed!

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    1. Thanks doll!! And don't worry, the same thing happened to me reading yours actually ;)
      Yeah the animation syndrome was another aspect I thought was so well thought out. Sometimes little details like that make a big difference!
      Despite it's small flaws, I really did enjoy it! Had I read it when I was younger I think it would have been a favorite of mine.

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  2. I loved the world building in this one too the creatures/paranormal beings and the nightmares were really cool and i loved that they weren't all romanticized. It was definitely a fun book! Kind of reminded me of Hex Hall, too, if you're looking for something similar. Hex Hall was better though I liked it a bit more.

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    1. Yeah, the world building was a BIG win for me. And I like what you mentioned that the Nightmares weren't all romanticized - another aspect I enjoyed. You're right 'fun' is a perfect word to describe this!

      Eeeek, thanks for the rec., I may have Hex Hall on the reading list already BUT I didn't know it was similar to this, I'll move it up the list then :D

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  3. I've been seeing this book everywhere, and I think I need to move it up on my TBR list. I love snarky MCs, so I think Dusty and I will get along very well. The world also sounds fantastic!

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    1. I hope you'll have as much fun with the world (AND with Dusty) as I did Lee!

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  4. I've been wanting to read this one - I like the Nightmare mythology. Thanks for the fabulous review! :)

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    1. I hope you get to read it soon Brandee, thanks for the nice comment!:)

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  5. Yay, you enjoyed it! So glad. I thought it was such a fun read. Agree that it is a bit predictable but there is still so much future potential. :D

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    1. Definitely future potential :D it was just so much FUN!

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  6. I think that it's important for a fantasy to be light, otherwise I could see myself not wanting to read any further because I didn't know what was going on, LOL! Dusty sounds like a really good character, because I absolutely love snark. ;) The world-building also sounds really good. Maybe I should pick this one up. ;) Fab review, darling! (:

    Loves,
    Megan@The Book Babe

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    1. If you do end up checking it out, I hope you have as much fun in the world with Dusty as I did!! Thanks for the thoughtful comment Megan :)

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  7. I'm glad you enjoyed this one too!! I really liked it even with some predictability and annoyances. Overall it was a good read. Awesome review babe!!

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    1. I couldn't agree more!! Thanks love!

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  8. Oh good, I was hoping this one would be positively reviewed because like you, I was immediately in love with that concept. I just know I would love the dream scenes and the world building, too! Certainly sounds creative, which is the most exciting thing about this one for me. The familiarities is a book can either be a good thing or a bad thing for me, depending on the book, so I can't say how I would feel about that yet until I read the book. Which I do plan on doing! I really loved this review!!

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    1. Oh I'll be interested in your thoughts when you get around to reading it for sure Aylee! Overall it was a really satisfying read for me, I hope it will be for you too. Thanks for the sweet comment doll ♥

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  9. This sounds great! I'm into magic and different worlds these days, another new add to my TBR :)

    Thanks for the great review <3 have a great week.

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    1. Yay! Glad you'll be checking this one out Lexxie :D I hope you'll have fun with it too!! Thanks for stopping by *HUGS*

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