Sixteen-year-old girl/Nightmare must feed on people's dreams to survive.
I believe that's what they call an elevator pitch. Short, sweet, and more intriguing than all get out. Paranormal is a very popular genre. But YA paranormal? You can go to the bookstore, pop into the teen section, and see how overwhelming it really is. There are tons of kids with powers, Chosen Ones (Nerd Alert: for me, there's still only Harry J), vamps, witches, mermaids. You name it; you can find it in YA.
But a Nightmare? A teen who literally feeds on "fictus" aka the stuff dreams are made of? Well, not only that, but how they have to feed, like the actual process of perching over someone chest while they sleep? The plot stood out first and foremost, and when I got to know our heroine and hero I was hooked.
Dusty Everhart (love the nickname btw) is just a teen trying to get through her days at Arkwell Academy--a boarding school for all things magical--until one night when she dream feeds and sees a murder.
The boy whose dreams she's feeding on is none other than Eli Booker. He's hot. He's only wearing boxers. His scorpion tattoo is visible in all its glory. But what strikes Dusty is the vividness of his dream. The colors are vibrant. The smells are spot on. The scene is chillingly real: A girl has been murdered on school grounds. And Eli is an ordinary, so how could he have seen Coleville Cemetery to recall it in such detail?
When Eli throws Dusty out of his dream, she is immediately taken in by the magical police force. They bring her to Coleville Cemetery where she finds out that not only has Eli's dream/nightmare come true. But she and he are linked in a way neither one could have imagined.
I liked a lot of things about The Nightmare Affair. Like I said, the sheer originality of a book about a Nightmare was fantastic. Eli and Dusty find out that they are part of a dream-seer pair (a rare bond between two people where one can see the future by viewing the other's dreams). Very cool. Dusty's magic doesn't work on Eli b/c of this bond, and they have to do dream sessions during the week to try and discover the killer. Awkwardness abounds :-).
"The Will" was interesting b/c it forced magickind not to hurt anyone, magic or otherwise. Good b/c it keeps everyone in check. Bad b/c like I said, it's a spell that steals magical folks free will.
I really liked the romance. Eli and Dusty were a great couple. Couldn't get enough of them. Actually, to be honest, I wanted more. What can I say? I love me some romance J. I mean, dream sessions? Bring on the swoon! I will say though this was not a case of insta-love, and I did enjoy that.
I thought the tie-in with the King Arthur legend was nicely done, but the ending could've been better. That was my only real qualm with the book. I already knew who the bad guy was. The legend had already been explained, so I just wanted more. Ninjas are greedy that way.
Anyway, I really liked Eli's scorpion tattoo, and I enjoyed this book. Thank you NetGalley! Great debut, great premise, so many possibilities. I'll be looking forward to book 2!