I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett
Series: The Arkwell Academy #1
Published by Tor Teen on March 5th 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery, Paranormal
Also by this author: The Nightmare Affair
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.
Mare or Nightmare
1. an evil spirit or goblin in Germanic folklore which rides on people’s chests while they sleep, bringing on bad dreams (or “nightmares”).
Dusty is a relatively normal 16 year-old girl, except for that whole “my mother is a Nightmare”. In the most literal sense. Literal meaning she’s a mythical creature that feeds on what dreams are made of. One night while Dusty is doing just that, she finds herself in a dream depicting a murder of one of her classmates that is vivid enough to leave her shaken. She returns to her school that night only to find out that that was no ordinary dream, she had just witnessed a real murder.
Nightmares aren’t the only mythical creature in this vibrant and imaginative world Mindee has created. Dusty attends Arkwell Academy along with other magical beings such as warlocks, witches, vampires, sirens, mermaids, demons, and of course, nightmares. The purpose of the Academy is to teach all magical creatures how to function and live in this world undetected. Considering there was so much to this world, there was a lot of information to be explained in detail for the reader and it was a bit of an information overload in the beginning. There was one particular aspect of this world regarding what was called ‘The Will’ which was a powerful magic that essentially acted as a ‘Big Brother’ and kept individuals from using their magic to harm. It played a huge part of the story as a whole but wasn’t explained as easily as it could have been and I was left with unanswered questions regarding its functionality.
I dislike comparing books with out another because there is so little these days that is truly original. Some facet of every story has more than likely already been done time and time again, the part that becomes most important is how that author takes that used idea and molds and transforms it into something uniquely theirs. I could go on and on about how much the setting reminded me of Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins with its supernatural school with various different magical beings. How the main character who is quirky and funny yet ultimately an outcast. How her enemies are the beautiful popular girls and even the parental setup is similar with her mother being estranged and her father being non-magical (just the other way around in HH). I could even go so far as to compare the seriousness and intensity of the mystery to a Dan Brown novel and the magical battles and ending worthy of a Harry Potter book. I could likely do this form of comparison with all my book reviews.
The point in all this, despite these comparisons that danced through my head while reading, is I loved those bits that were truly unique and given the authors special touch. Using a ‘Nightmare’ as a supernatural being was genius and I loved it. I also loved how she took a supernatural story and added a medieval twist (two things that I would normally never put together in my head) and really made it work for me. I’d like to see some stronger character development in future installments and please, please, make that completely unnecessary love triangle go away. This book is one Nightmare you mind experiencing. Recommended for supernatural mystery fans looking for a bit of a twist.