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Dusty Everhart is a nightmare – literally. True, she is only half one as her father is a normal human, but she is still capable of working with magic and has to feed from other people’s dreams. The result: she makes a habit of breaking into stranger’s bedrooms, sits on their chests and enters their dreams. It is as strange and awkward as it sounds.
When she enters Elijah Booker’s dream, nothing is as usual: the dream is too real and especially terrifying because Eli is dreaming of one of Dusty’s classmates, or rather of her corpse. It gets even worse when that classmate is actually found dead, murdered. Now it is Dusty and Elijah’s task to find out who did it and why – and particularly who is going to be the next victim.
I admit it: if Marissa Meyer had not recommended the book, I probably would not have taken notice. But she did, and so it landed on my wish list, later in the shopping cart; my one and only treat, I swear! I did not regret it, but “The Nightmare Affair” is different from what I expected – those expectations were based on what Marissa Meyer writes, though, and it would be pretty boring if one author is just like the other.
What you can expect of Mindee Arnett’s novel is this: a lot of banter, humour and also some corpses.
Anybody who is looking for perfectly developed, round characters please leave now. Dusty, whose actual name is, much to her dismay, Destiny, is a likable protagonist you can easily laugh and suffer with and whose humour is perfectly integrated into the text. Of all the other characters you mainly get an idea, and some of them look an awful lot like stereotypes. For example, Katarina is the beautiful but mean girl that likes to make Dusty’s life hell; on the other hand, Dusty makes her unsure of herself which is why she is not exactly well-disposed towards her. Unfortunately, we usually get to know such important information trough other characters, by telling – Selene, who is a siren like Katarina, knows more about her than Dusty, so she can tell what is going on in Kat’s head; we do not get to know Katarina well enough to understand it ourselves, we have to be told. It is the case with most characters here, but I got interested in them and that is something. After all, there is still hope for the upcoming books.
I had fun with the characters or at least with what they were allowed to show; I did not even mind that much the typical love triangle Mindee Arnett included. The protagonist is not caught between two guys as it usually works. Instead, she gets to know one and has a crush on him, starts a relationship with him just to see, you know how it works – she really likes him, but that does not mean that she cannot find other boys attractive, which is the case here. Dusty does not suddenly decide to “try out guy #2”. She gets to know him and realizes that they might like each other more than they thought. First and foremost, they are friends; time will show whether there is more to come, and that is okay, good even. You will not get any hasty love promises here or unnecessary drama because two guys like the same girl, so I was perfectly fine with the boys’ little squabbles and could enjoy both their presences.
The book’s best part is still the story and the world it is set in. Magickind lives hidden amongst humans and are taught in secret school; yes, it does sound a little bit like Hogwarts, but Harry Potter was not the first boarding-school story to be ever written. The whole thing is important in the end, and here we get various magical kinds whose power lies within themselves, the nature or in others; there are fairies, mermaids, sirens, wizards, witches, demons of a sort... and nightmares, of course, even though they are rare. It was fun to get to know some of the kinds with their own oddities and characteristics, and that especially accounts for Dusty, who can do some pretty cool stuff in other’s dreams. All of that and the investigation created suspense and left me wondering what is going on. The resolution was not entirely unpredictable, but I never knew for certain how it would end. The result is nice: I would love to continue reading right away.
You really should not expect too much depth of Mindee Arnett’s “The Nightmare Affair”, but if you are looking for something nice and fluffy that is thrilling and funny at the same time, then this is the book you should read. It is pure fun to venture into this magical world; who would have ever thought one could truly enjoy a nightmare?