Happy Saturday! Hope you all are having a wonderful weekend. I am pleased and excited to be a part of The Nightmare Affair Tour hosted by Shane@Itching for Books. A big thanks to Shane for organizing this tour. I have a review and giveaway for you today!
The Nightmare Affair (Arkwell Academy#1) by Mindee Arnett
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.
Hardcover, 367 pages
Expected publication: March 5th 2013 by Tor Teen
Three and a half stars: A fun introduction to a magical series featuring a unique protagonist!
Dusty sneaks through the window, anxious to get her dream feeding over so she can return to her dorm. She tries to ignore the boy's sexy, half naked body as she straddles his chest and prepares to walk into his dreams. You see, Dusty is not exactly an ordinary girl, she recently came into her magical abilities and learned that she was a Nightmare. As a Nightmare, she feeds off others' dreams. As Dusty enters Eli's head, she realizes something is different this time. She witnesses a murder of a classmate at her school, and then to her horror, Eli can see her in the dream. He awakens and shoves her off his chest. When Dusty attempts to do the forgetting spell, it backfires so she makes a beeline for the window and escapes. Her troubles are far from over as she learns that what she saw in Eli's dream is reality. It gets even more complicated when Dusty discovers that she and Eli have a special connection. They are dream seers. Eli, a non-magical, is brought to her school, and Dusty is supposed to walk his dreams three times a week. Can the unlikely pair learn to work together and catch a killer?
What I Liked:
- I have said this countless times, but it bears repeating, I am a huge fan of all things paranormal, and it isn't often that I have the pleasure of encountering something that is new and different, but I had that experience with The Nightmare Affair. This book features a protagonist who is a Nightmare: a magical entity who feeds off dreams. Dusty during her feedings enters and walks through other people's dreams. It was fun to watch her uncover her powers and learn to change the dreamworld. I especially enjoyed the ideas of how the imagination and fictus work and all the parts that pertained the dreamworld, they were exciting and fascinating! If you are a big paranormal junkie, and you want something unique definitely give this book a read.
- I really enjoyed Dusty's character. She is an unlikely heroine as she is a bit of an outcast amongst her peers. She is unsure of her abilities and uncomfortable with her identity. As the book progresses, Dusty begins to unlock her powers and take charge. She is brave and refuses to back down as she tries to solve the murder, even it that means being a bit daring and reckless. She certainly has gumption. By the end, she has grown and become a bit more comfortable with her identity and powers.
- I liked the romance in this one, surprisingly. It is a bit of a love square as Dusty and Eli enter into relationships with other people, but you just get the feeling that they are destined to be together as corny as that sounds. Dusty and Eli have a complicated and antagonistic relationship. They are drawn together through unique circumstances, but they aren't exactly friends, but there are those looks here and hints of a brewing attraction, that they don't want to admit. Needless to say, this is a slow burner and it is fun to see how it all plays out. The love triangle or square, doesn't really become an issue because it is rather obvious from the get go how the romance will really turn out.
- I enjoyed the murder mystery in this one. Dusty and Eli attempt to unravel the clues and catch a killer before it is too late. Of course, there are plenty of leads and lots of suspects, including Dusty's own mother. The finale reveal was thrilling and action packed, even if there was a bit of predictability.
- I liked the difficult relationship between Dusty and her mother, Moira. The pair have never gotten along or seen eye to eye as Moira abandoned Dusty as a baby. Dusty doesn't trust her own mother and there is lots of tension between them throughout. I was happy to see movement by the end toward a better relationship in the future, even though, I suspect it will still have its moments.
- Selene, Dusty's best friend, who was a siren was a fascinating character. You would think as a siren she would be sexy and shallow, but surprisingly she is level headed, intuitive, and very adamant about sirens being seen as more than empty headed, sex symbols. She is an admirable best friend and very supportive of Dusty, definitely someone you would want to have your back.
- This book features a magical boarding school, which I found to be fun, even though not exactly original. There were plenty of paranormal entities from fairies, witches, werewolves, sirens, demons and more. One of the more interesting characters was an old hag who worked as a janitor. She was creepy and all kinds of interesting. I really wanted to know what was the deal with all the chocolate?
- I especially appreciated that one of the characters, who Dusty was extremely suspicious of as he did engage in a bit of elicit activity, while not exactly the most likeable guy, and in fact he and Dusty had a few tangles, ended up coming through at the end. This was an unexpected surprise and it is always nice to see a character who you thought was evil redeem himself. I hope to see more of this character in the next book as well as his trusty dog.
- Finally, I was thrilled to find that this book wrapped everything up and concluded nicely. It is so refreshing to enter into a new series and reach a satisfying ending! No dramatic cliffhanger in this one, but there are threads laid out for future story lines.
And The Not So Much:
- While I was completely enthralled with the whole Nightmare concept, I can't say that I felt like I got the whole picture. I wanted to know what happens if Dusty doesn't feed regularly? Does she lose her magic or something worse? How are the victims chosen? Does the nightmare feed off only bad nightmares? This was such a fascinating idea and I can't wait to see how it unfolds in future books.
- One aspect that I didn't like was the quick way that Eli was forced to give up his life and go to the magic school. I was expecting more on this angle, he is just dropped into the school and there is really not much discussion on how he feels about it all as he struggles to adapt. I really wanted Eli and Dusty to have a heart to heart about the whole situation, granted they have a brief chat, but I was hoping for a lot more depth. I really wanted to know what made Eli tick. I am also curious on the whole seer thing, and I am wondering if Eli will develop some magical abilities over time. It is hard for me to believe that he is a dream seer and that he will always be ordinary.
- My only other complaint is that this book with its unique heroine falls into a bit of an unoriginal story line as it follows a young girl who just recently came into her magical powers, and then is taken from her regular life and enrolled into a magical school, only to find that there is a killer out there and it is up to her to help stop it....does this sound a bit familiar? Though, it isn't exactly original it was still a fun read. Just don't be surprised if you find yourself drawing comparisons to other books you have read that have similar plots.
- I must admit, even though the ending was dramatic and thrilling with several surprises, I was a bit annoyed when Dusty distracts the killer before he deals her the death blow with the trite but wait....tell me how you did it first, and then the villain gives his crazed revelation speech. I was also confused about how the villain awakened, did someone do it, or did he rise on his own.
The Nightmare Affair, all in all, was a quick and pleasant read. This is a book that features a unique protagonist: a Nightmare. It has a magical boarding school, a murder mystery and a bit of romance. I enjoyed the magical world and the many different paranormal entities I encountered. If you are a fan of books set in a magical school with a protagonist growing and coming into their powers you should like this book.
"Looks shouldn't matter when it comes to judging a person."
"But I found out later that you couldn't pretend something didn't exist when it was staring you in the face."
"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."
"Imagination cannot be controlled or predicted by a spell. It is one of the few powers in the world that is truly wild."
"Power has to be kept in check. You've got to have rules and guidelines for things to work proper. Otherwise people get hurt that don't need to."
"With friends, you could survive just about anything."
I received a copy of this book as part of the tour in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
As part of the tour, I am able to offer you a chance to win a copy of this book. Just fill out the Rafflecopter to enter. Please note, this giveaway is not hosted by Rainy Day Ramblings.
About the author:
MINDEE ARNETT lives on a horse farm in Ohio with her husband, two kids, a couple of dogs, and an inappropriate number of cats. She’s addicted to jumping horses and telling tales of magic and the macabre. Her short stories have appeared in various magazines. Arnett has a Master of Arts in English literature with an emphasis in Creative Writing. She blogs and tweets, and is hard at work on the next novel in the Arkwell Academy series. Find Mindee: Website, twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.
a Rafflecopter giveaway