Dual Review: The Nightmare Affair

March 5, 2013 Review 14 ★★

Dual Review: The Nightmare Affair
The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Tor
Source: Netgalley
Pages: 368
Release Date: March 5th 2013
Series: Arkwell Academy #1
Genres: Paranormal
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.

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Important NOTICE: 

Both reviewers received their copies from Netgalley using two separate Netgalley accounts. No eGalley is ever shared at Readers in Wonderland.

bec (2) When I first learned of the existence of this book, I may or may not have freaked out. Supernatural beings that feed off dreams? A big murder mystery? The sounds of budding romance? I was excited. Very excited. That excitement peaked when I got accepted for a review copy on Netgalley.
Then I started reading it and, well…My issues with this book began in the first chapter. Info dumping everywhere. You couldn’t learn one little thing about a subject, you had to know everything about it right from the start. Unfortunately this was a trend throughout The Nightmare Affair that was accompanied by a distinct lack of imagery.

It didn’t help that the plot was incredibly predictable and sort of boring. I found my brain zoning out and thinking about other things only to return to my Kindle and realize I did not remember one word from the page I just read. There was nothing to keep my mind in the Academy. Events did not shock me into attention, even though there really wasn’t much planning to it. The “Twists” literally came out of nowhere.

The characters were also bland and I didn’t connect with them. Eli and Paul don’t seem like real people, they were too perfect. Dusty was… meh. Occasionally she was humourous, sometimes she just made bad jokes. Mostly I just couldn’t connect with her at all. Some big, emotional climax would be tearing the world around her apart and my face/mind was:

One of the few things I enjoyed about this novel was the world and the creatures in it. They were supernaturals you didn’t see very often at a school. Their lessons and the world laws and restrictions were fascinated. Yet we hardly learnt anything about it outside of the info dumps. Maybe it’s explored more in a sequel (whatever that’s going to be about) but I haven’t decided if I want to continue this series yet.


 Before reading: What? Bec didn’t like this? But it sounds so good… She must have been wrong.
After reading: Never doubt Bec.

So we have Dusty, our protagonist, who is-of course-one of a kind. Special in a world full other creatures we are used to being in stories and fairytales.

Dusty is one of the few in her magical school that is less magically inclined. She can’t really control her powers, and her spells never seem to turn out the way she wanted. Dusty is a living Nightmare, giving bad dreams to people in order to be able to use her magic. Amazing concept, poor execution.

Right away we are thrown into one of Dusty’s jobs, which just happens to be on an extremely hot, popular guy from her old school. Imagine that. This is where my problems with THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR originated. We aren’t even given a glimpse of how things normally work on a normal night with a normal nightmare. Right away, things have to go wrong, and it of course has to be with a cute guy who is immune to her magic.

There was a love triangle. A really stereotypical hot jerk vs perfect-gentleman-who-also-happens-to be-attractive love triangle. I didn’t care for either of them, they didn’t have any faults and were way too perfect to be considered even semi-realistic. Dusty was an alright MC, except she came off as really childish. It almost made me think this was a middle grade novel, not young adult.

The mystery is what kept me reading. It was actually very hard to predict and it keeps you guessing. There are quite a few twists and I really liked how you were solving the mystery right along with Dusty.

I will most likely not be continuing with this series.

Rating Report
Overall: 2

14 Responses to “Dual Review: The Nightmare Affair”

  1. Michelle

    This makes me sad bc it sounds SO GOOD! and I don’t even usually read this type of book! When the writing isn’t good though, it kills the book for me even if the idea for it is awesome. Oh well at least now I know… thanks :(

  2. Megan TheBookBabe

    Oh no! And I just read a good review too…sigh. I suppose everyone has different ideas of what’s good, right? Sigh. I’m sorry that you guys didn’t like it. That sucks. And you’re right, it would have been nice to see how a normal nightmare works…weird that the author didn’t show that. And of course the hot guys is a jerk. My face: o.O

    Megan@The Book Babe

    • Bec

      I’ve seen a lot of reviews and there’s such a big scale on ratings.

      A normal feeding session for a Nightmare would have been so nice to include. But alas, the author didn’t think to include or maybe keep it. Also, I’m strange and tend to love the hot jerks sometimes. Not always. But Eli was strangely nice for a jerk. It was so weird.

  3. rivie bleu

    This does sound really good but I guess it’s not how it seems. The concept is awesome, it makes you think the book will be very good. I was tempted to read the book but now I’m not so sure. It is a very unique concept, they should have edited it and make it better.

  4. Lauren Elizabeth

    I’m disappointed in this one—I was so excited for it, but it seems to be giving a lot of people problems. Boo for info-dumping, bland characters, and love triangles! Thanks for your honest reviews, ladies! :-)

  5. littlebookstar

    Uh oh, I think I’m going to pass. It kind of bores me now where the protagonist is “special” blah blah blah. It’s just redundant to read and the info dumping is just a no no! Awesome review guys!

    Leigh @ Little Book Star

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge