Saturday, June 7, 2014

Book Review: The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett

The Nightmare Affair (Arkwell Academy #1)

Robin LaFevers

Publication Date: March 5th 2013

Publisher: Tor Teen

Pages: 367

Genre:  Mystery, Paranormal, Young Adult

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.
The voice of this book reminded me so much of the voice of quirky supernatural mystery books that I tend to read when I need something to take me away and not make me think too hard. I love that voice, I'm so happy to have found it in a YA book.

Dusty Everhart (real name Destiny), our main character, is what the book's world calls a Nightmare, which seems to take off the actual origin of the word "nightmare" which goes back to people saying that a hag was sitting on you, pushing you down so you can't move (in other words, good old sleep paralysis). Pretty much to "feed" on dreams, Dusty sits on top of them and then enters their dream.

I like this set up, because it leads to some amusing moments, including the opening scene. As far as Urban Fantasy/Paranormal goes, the specific way Arnett has created her world has made it unique in good ways.

The best thing about this book however (excepting the fact that the mystery was very well done) was the way this book is YA, and contains emotional and dramatic things, yet somehow keeps out of the annoying "High-School Drama" zone that YA often finds itself in. Dusty could very well have been whiny, her personality has the basis for it, but she isn't. The romance could have involved lengthy descriptions of woe-is-me and he-is-so-beautiful, but it totally didn't. In fact Dusty pretty much blatantly ignored her attraction to the main male for most of the book, which was pretty awesome.

I really enjoyed Dusty. There was something really fresh about her. I also took a bit of sadistic pleasure in the fact that she would never get away with things truly. In most mystery driven books, the main characters often (unless it's the climax) are able to to sneak away without causing too much suspicion when trying to learn new things, but nope not Dusty. She'd get caught and there would be consequences (compounded by her open mouth insert foot problem).

I recommend this book to people who enjoy reading lighthearted paranormal mysterious. I also recommend this to people looking for a highly entertaining book, without having to worry about the book emotionally dragging you down. I personally enjoyed reading it before bed (before the mystery got too gripping to put down).



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