The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett

The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett
The Arkwell Academy #1
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Publisher: Tor Teen
Source: Publisher (NetGalley)
Goodreads Stars: 2
Rating: Bland

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 was so excited to read The Nightmare Affair because, hello, boarding schools! Who doesn’t like a good boarding school book? Better yet, this particular boarding school is full of magical folk, and the main character is a Nightmare! I’ve only seen one Nightmare in YA before, and that’s a character in Rachel Vincent’s Soul Screamers series – one of my favourite series to date. I had fairly high expectations, and The Nightmare Affair was one of my most anticipated debuts of the year. Unfortunately it feel very, very flat.

Dusty isn’t one of those protagonists that will stay with you forever. In fact, I’ve already pretty much forgotten her, and I only read this a couple of weeks ago. She was quite funny, and was put into some hilarious situations, but meh. There wasn’t enough substance to keep me interested in her.

I found the murder plot to be very interesting to begin with, but it got old fast. I just wasn’t interested in how Dusty and Eli would solve the case. It didn’t keep me engaged, so I ended up skimming the last 40% of the book. I didn’t want to DNF it, but I just couldn’t force myself to get stuck in. It’s a shame, because I was very interested at the start.

I also liked diving into the relationship between Dusty and her mother, at least in the beginning. The two were at odds, and I thought it was funny that Dusty’s mother was rebellious and her actions from when she was at school impacted Dusty in present day. Kind of like Harry and James in HP, right?

I didn’t enjoy The Nightmare Affair past the 40% mark, and it got positively dull after 60%. I’m glad I gave it a try, but I won’t be continuing on with this series. Hex Hall did the whole magical boarding school thing so much better. This review kind of sucks because I have no strong feelings for this book, I just feel very disappointed by it.

14 comments on “The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett

  1. Mel@Thedailyprophecy March 7, 2013 8:26 pm

    Bummer! The boarding school setting, the unique concept of being a Nightmare and the mystery sounded like a great promise. Another book disappointing book, it seems like a lot of new books don’t reach the expectations.


    • Amber (Books of Amber) March 11, 2013 2:13 pm

      I’m finding it very hard to find books that I adore this year. Maybe I’m just getting more picky?

  2. Christine D. March 7, 2013 9:59 pm

    Eeek. I had so much for expectations for this book. And why the blatant similarity to Harry Potter with the whole Harry/James thing? This is like the third review I have read where Dusty leaves no impression. That really sucks for a book about magic! Sad.

    • Amber (Books of Amber) March 11, 2013 2:14 pm

      Haha, I don’t think I’ll even remember who Dusty is in a couple of months. Of course, Harry/James had a lot more depth, but I couldn’t help but compare them.

  3. Rachel @ Unforgettable Books March 7, 2013 11:05 pm

    :) I enjoyed this book somewhat, but pretty much dont care much for it either. Fantastic review! Yeah, Dusty and her mother are similar to Harry/James influence, i also found that dusty’s and Moria’s interactions in the book similar to Janine and Rose Hathaway (vampire academy)

    • Amber (Books of Amber) March 11, 2013 2:15 pm

      Oh, nice catch! I didn’t even think of Janine and Rose, but you’re totally right!

  4. Maji Bookshelf March 8, 2013 2:02 am

    aww too bad you didn’t enjoy it that much. I really enjoyed Dustry but you are right about the mystery.. I just felt like it wasn’t written in a way to engage the readers. I must pick up Hex Hall soon then! I love boarding school / magical stuff

    – Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

    • Amber (Books of Amber) March 11, 2013 2:16 pm

      Glad you liked Dusty! You haven’t read Hex Hall?! Get on that! It’s a great series 😀

  5. Jenea Whittington March 8, 2013 1:26 pm

    I was really looking forward to this one, but after the reviews I keep seeing, I am really not so sure. Sorry you didn’t enjoy it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

    • Amber (Books of Amber) March 11, 2013 2:17 pm

      Eh, I haven’t read many reviews for it, but from what people have been telling me… Yeah, don’t get your hopes up :) I was really looking forward to this one too, so I felt really let down after reading it :(

  6. Renae M. March 8, 2013 8:00 pm

    Looking back after finishing this a few weeks ago, I totally agree that this is a mostly forgettable book. I don’t remember much about it, honestly, except that the ending was a major bummer and it really reminded me of Kiersten White’s writing. …and that’s honestly it. Not the best sign!

    • Amber (Books of Amber) March 11, 2013 2:18 pm

      Haha, I didn’t notice the similarities between this and Kiersten White’s writing! Maybe that’s another reason it didn’t captivate me.

  7. Nikki R March 9, 2013 8:48 pm

    I am so glad I’m not alone in totally agreeing with you… I’ve seen so many super-positive reviews, and wasn’t sure if I just wasn’t giving the book enough leeway. I thought it was fun, to an extent. Definitely light and silly a lot of the time – but almost too light and silly? Like you said, not enough substance. Truly a disappointment, because I was so excited for this book too – and that GORGEOUS cover.

    • Amber (Books of Amber) March 11, 2013 2:19 pm

      I feel that way often! Yes, that’s a good point: almost too light and silly. I had been looking forward to this since last year, so I’m actually quite sad. Or, I was quite sad, now I just can’t remember much of it at all XD

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