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The Nightmare Affair (Arkwell Academy Series #1)

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  • Posted March 5, 2013

    Thanks Tor Teen for providing me with this ARC in exchange for a

    Thanks Tor Teen for providing me with this ARC in exchange for a honest review.
    I wanted so badly to love The Nightmare Affair. A pretty and unique cover – paired with a synopsis boasting mystery, humor and romance – how could I not be intrigued. Unfortunately The Nightmare Affair‘s outer appearance turned out to be deceiving. Yes, there was mystery, humor and romance, but these elements correspondingly felt flat, overdone and non-existent. I knew this book would be supernatural through-and-through with the setting taking place at a school for magic-folk. In the beginning I welcomed this new world. I was excited to see Arnett’s take on what it seems to be a pretty popular YA setting these days. You’re given a lot of world building info in the beginning, which I found hard to digest. There was just too much too soon. Werewolves, hags, dreamseerers and moody electronics, are but the tip of iceberg when it comes to The Nightmare Affair‘s world. Every time a new concept was introduced or revelation produced, my memory struggled even more to keep up. Although it takes place in the real world with “ordinary” folk, The Nightmare Affair pushes into the high-fantasy category by integrating so many new magical concepts, places and events. This world was too complicated for me to keep up with, especially with the constant flow of new info. I enjoyed Dusty’s witty sarcasm, but that’s about it. She had a very contradicting personality that I found grating. Both Dusty and her mother are nightmares – a rare, powerful and despised race. Dusty’s mother is practically famous for her reputation of out-of-control, dangerous and rule breaking stunts. Most, if not all students and adults are afraid of and loathe Dusty’s mother. Dusty was very fickle when it came to her mom. Sometimes she hated her mother’s reputation, other times, she used it to her own advantage. I personally never formed an opinion of Dusty’s mom, because she never stuck around long enough for one to get a feel. The same can be said of the rest of the characters. Their appearances were flighty. The Nightmare Affair is very much a murder mystery, having started with the mysterious death of a popular and pretty girl. Very cliched, I know. Dusty’s Nancy Drew habits could have turned this book towards the road to awesome, unfortunately a lot came over to blatantly obvious. Everyone appeared too suspicious. There wasn’t any “out of left field” surprises. The big reveal came and went with little to no exclamation from me. To be quite honest, I don’t believe I would purchase the second book in this series. It wasn’t really the firework I was looking for. I would however contemplate borrowing or checking it out of the library just to curb what’s left of my curiosity.

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