Title: The Nightmare Affair (Arkwell Academy #1)
Author: Mindee Arnett
Genre/s: Young Adult, Paranormal Fantasy, Mystery, Romance
Released Date: March 5, 2013
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Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare.Literally.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.
Let’s take a paranormal roller coaster ride inside Arkwell Academy in this thrilling first book in the series, The Nightmare Affair.
Being half-human, half-Nightmare is a huge pain in the butt for Dusty Everhart, not only because her magic is unstable and most of the time, misfiring but also because she unfortunately inherited her mother's bad reputation for causing trouble. And when a dream she recently saw, happened in real life, Dusty doesn't have a choice but get involve in a murder investigation that will spiral into a dangerous conspiracy that will not only endanger the magickind but also the human world.
Dusty Everhart is an amusing and feisty character to read. She’s very sarcastic, stubborn, compulsive and always gets herself “accidentally” in trouble. If there is ever such a thing as a trouble magnet, Dusty would be a good example for it. She sometimes annoy the hell out of me especially whenever she talks about her mother. But most of the time, she's okay.
Then there's Eli Booker, the only mundane student in Arkwell Academy. My first impression on him was that he's a typical overconfident jock who has an anger management issues. But soon, I realized, he wasn't as bad as I thought. In fact, he is quite thoughtful and knowlegeable in crime scene investigation which is really something.
I wasn't in love with their chemistry, though, and I think, there are two reasons for that. First is because it's their first time working with each other, there's still awkwardness (especially when Dusty positions herself to enter Eli's dream). And second, both of them has a significant other so they didn't get enough time to create some spark (their dream session doesn't count as bonding time to me). I will look forward to the next book and hope that they will have more swoon-worthy moments than in here.
What I really liked about this story was the murder mystery. It was complex and well thought out. I mean, I have my conclusions and suspects but I didn't expected the revelation about Merlin's identity. I really didn't see it coming.
Overall, The Nightmare Affair was an enjoyable read and I will follow this series to see how this will progress. I will recommend this to everyone who likes novels set in a school with a paranormal twist.
*An electronic review copy was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review (Thanks, Macmillan!)