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The Nightmare Affair (Arkwell Academy, 1) Paperback – February 18, 2014
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“The Nightmare Affair is brimming with wit and charm, along with plenty of mysteries that kept me guessing to the very end. Mindee Arnett has created a brand new school of magic to delight and enthrall us, and I'm sure I won't be the only reader impatiently awaiting the next adventure at Arkwell Academy.” ―Marissa Meyer, New York Times bestselling author of Cinder
“Mindee Arnett has a knack for magic. The world of Nightmares, Sirens, Wizards and Demons at Arkwell Academy is wondrous and strange, yet so human and well-drawn that you get the feeling you might stumble into it by accident if you go out wandering too late. THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR is whimsical and wild. I read it too fast. What's next, Arnett?” ―Kendare Blake, author of Anna Dressed in Blood
About the Author
- Publisher : Tor Teen; First edition (February 18, 2014)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0765333368
- ISBN-13 : 978-0765333360
- Reading age : 14 - 18 years
- Lexile measure : HL730L
- Grade level : 9 - 12
- Item Weight : 12.5 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.88 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #339,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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It's hard not to feel for Dusty. Even though she always had a magical heritage she didn't actually come into the powers that no one ever expected her to have until later in life, as a teenager. So she spent most of her childhood living the life everyone else does and among ordinaries she was fairly popular and well adjusted, smart, pretty and athletically talented, it's not a surprise that she fit in well. At Arkwell Academy she's never have magic until recently so it's not a surprise that she doesn't control it well. And she's going to school among Sirens so her pretty is really more average looking. In this school athletics really aren't a thing and what matters is magic ability that she doesn't seem to have so it's not a surprise that the easy acceptance she found among ordinaries isn't there among magickind. Though it's sad to see how very little acceptance there is at all. Her mom who wasn't around for most of her childhood is pretty much a notorious criminal among magickind so everyone holds that against her too. At Arkwell Academy she's an outcast and her only friend is her roommate Selene, a Siren who thinks the boat needs to be rocked because she doesn't want to spend her life thought of as a sexual object as Sirens currently are.
The story begins when Dusty goes to a routine assigned feeding only to find that the subject is the cool guy from her own high school, you know that guy that most girls have a crush on. She doesn't have a choice about feeding on him because the Will which controls all magic won't allow her not to. She doesn't expect to find herself in a dream of a murder scene at her school of one of her classmates. She definitely doesn't expect the dreamer to find her boot her out of his dream and then for her magic not to work on him when she's trying to get away and she definitely doesn't expect to learn she and he are part of a dreamseer pair and to find him going to her new school resentful of her because of all he lost coming there. Fortunately for him he fall right into the popular crowd there too despite his lack of magic, but still not having magic makes him feel like an outsider and he blames Dusty for it making her life even worse.
What follows is this really interesting mystery filled with myth and magic as Eli and Dusty become unlikely allies in search of a killer on the campus of Arkwell Academy. This book is a page turner from beginning to end and a definite must read for anyone who likes urban fantasy type novels. Highly recommended.
Because she is a Nightmare she has to feed from ordinaries while they sleep. One night she sneaks into Eli Booker's house and something strange happens. Eli goes to the same school as Dusty did before she knew she was magickind. She has always had sort of crush on him because he's the tall, dark, and handsome sort and also nice. Dusty learns that she is a special sort of Nightmare called a Dreamseer and Eli is her partner. Since the first dream they share shows the death of another student at Arkwell after she was murdered, they quickly get involved in trying to find out who killed her and why.
Eli is transferred to Arkwell which he really resents because he doesn't have any magical talent himself. And, as an athlete, transferring to a school with no sports teams just adds to his resentment. He and Dusty spend a lot of time being snitty to each other. But that's okay with Dusty. She has a boyfriend in Paul Kirkwood who is the son of a prominent magical family but doesn't have any magic himself.
Dusty also has to deal with cryptic warnings from her mother as she investigates. Dusty's relationship with her mother isn't easy both because she feels her mother abandoned her and her father when she learned that Dusty didn't have magic and because her mother has a bad reputation for the way she uses her magic.
The world of magic in this story was well-developed and filled with interesting characters from sirens for roommates to werewolves guarding the campus. I thought the mystery was well developed too with both clues and red herrings scattered throughout the story.
This would be fun for students who like paranormals, boarding school stories, and mysteries.
Top reviews from other countries
Dusty sometimes came off as a bit melodramatic and whiny at times, but it seemed to work for her. Maybe because of her role (being a Nightmare), and the sticky situation that she found herself in. I loved the concept of the book and it was what sold it to me in the first place. I knew from the get-go that Dusty and Eli are going to have some sort of connection, which will in turn flourish into a romance. I did not expect Dusty to go and become infatuated with a different guy though! Enter nerdy librarian Paul, who is such a sweetheart and seems to give Dusty all the attention and affection she's been craving.
What I like about this book is that it jumps straight into the events of the story, there's no prolonged introduction or background on the characters. You somehow have to get to know them as the action is taking place. When Dusty finds out she's a Nightmare, like her mom, and has to leave everything she knows behind to join Arkwell Academy, a place where other paranormal creatures go to learn more about their powers and how to deal with them, she suddenly finds herself in a place she doesn't belong. She's only one of very few Nightmares that still exist, and they don't seem to have the greatest reputation, thanks mostly to her mom and her conspicuous past in the school.
Having just started her journey as a Nightmare, and needing to feed on people's dreams at night, she finds out sooner than expected that not only is she a Nightmare, but she is a dream-seer as well. Her other half being Eli, a completely normal human she used to go to school with.
Eli, having caught Dusty in his dream, is now forced into this unpleasant situation and is forced to change schools and join Arkwell Academy. Worse, he has to team up with Dusty, to find out more about the crime that they both witnessed in his dream! Meaning, she has to spend an hour every night feeding into his dreams and collecting more clues.
So they get off to a rough start, understandably so, but neither one can deny the chemistry they have together, even after Dusty meets Paul. As the mystery begins to unfold, Dusty's mother gets involved, having been reassigned as a teacher at the Academy, and with more murders taking place Dusty is getting desperate to find the culprit. Desperate enough that she begins to suspect her own mother.
With the help of Eli and her best friend, Dusty is able to capture the real culprit, but not without consequences and some heart break.
I've also found out that this is only the beginning of what looks to be a series! So I'm excited about that. Very good beginning to a very interesting storyline. Can't wait to see where it goes next.