Review: The Nightmare Dilemma by Mindee Arnett

The Nightmare DilemmaRating: 4/5
Series: The Arkwell Academy #2
Review for previous book: Rashika’s review | Faye’s review
Genres: YA, Paranormal/supernatural, Boarding School 
Release Date: March 4th, 2014
Publisher: Tor Teen
Source:  Finished copy from Publisher
Check out on GOODREADS

Dusty Everhart might be able to predict the future through the dreams of her crush, Eli Booker, but that doesn’t make her life even remotely easy. When one of her mermaid friends is viciously assaulted and left for dead, and the school’s jokester, Lance Rathbone, is accused of the crime, Dusty’s as shocked as everybody else. Lance needs Dusty to prove his innocence by finding the real attacker, but that’s easier asked than done. Eli’s dreams are no help, more nightmares than prophecies. 

To make matters worse, Dusty’s ex-boyfriend has just been acquitted of conspiracy and is now back at school, reminding Dusty of why she fell for him in the first place. The Magi Senate needs Dusty to get close to him, to discover his real motives. But this order infuriates Eli, who has started his own campaign for Dusty’s heart.

As Dusty takes on both cases, she begins to suspect they’re connected to something bigger. And there’s something very wrong with Eli’s dreams, signs that point to a darker plot than they could have ever imagined.

REVIEW

A finished copy of the book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion in any way.

This was definitely one of my most awaited sequels for the year and when I got a copy in the mail, you would not believe how loud I screamed. When I finally got around to reading the book, I was so glad to not have been let down. I wouldn’t say it got better or worse, it was just the same level as awesome as The Nightmare Affair.

The events of the previous book resulted in making The Will disappear so now all the kinds have unlimited access to their magic and can do whatever they wish to, this has resulted in a making the differences between the dark kinds and the light kinds more evident and there seems to be a lot more hostility between the two groups.

Dusty remains her awesome self. She is such a likable female lead and her narration is definitely one of the plus points of the books. She has a tendency to make smart ass comments at inappropriate times because it’s her way of making things seem less serious, her coping mechanism. Dusty is so relateable though, she is afraid of things, she isn’t out to save the world but while she knows that she can use her powers to help, she will need time to think about things before jumping on board because wanting to help doesn’t automatically translate into your fear disappearing. One of the other things that makes her a great female lead is her ability to consider other possibilities and give people the benefit of doubt. Her vulnerabilities make her shine though, they show that she, in spite of the fact is a nightmare, is still human(????). She is still hurting over the events of the previous book and they have resulted in her having trust issues. She makes mistakes and is not perfect, in fact, even though her magic is powerful, she doesn’t have great control over it.

One of the major problems I initially had in this book was Selene and Eli’s behavior. Eli was running hot and cold. Which is not helpful. He wasn’t leading her on necessarily but he pulled the ‘we cannot be together’ stuff and that bothered me but you could really see how much he wanted to be with her, he didn’t try to hide that once they actually sat down and discussed their feelings but he remained cryptic about the reasons as to why they couldn’t be together until the end. Selene was keeping secrets for a large part of the book as well but as soon as I found out what they were, it was easy to forgive her because it was something personal to her, and while she and Dusty are best friends, Selene wasn’t ready to tell her what was going on and that is understandable.

With that said though, I love how the author chooses to portray Eli, he is gorgeous and gets a lot of attention from people but at the same time, there are plenty of people who don’t like him. Just because he is gorgeous doesn’t automatically translate to everyone liking him. People still give him a hard time over who he is and well, he isn’t perfect either. It really helps make Eli’s character down to Earth and makes him relateable as well because if you’ve navigated through the crowds of high school, you know what a mean bunch they can be sometimes.

Another notable character was, PAUL. I remember liking him in the first book and I liked him in this one too. I absolutely loved how Mindee tried to redeem him by not showing him as someone who was innocent but at someone who genuinely regretted what he had done. It didn’t change things, everyone was still vary of him but you could tell he regretted losing Dusty’s trust in him and would take it back if he could.

With that said though, there wasn’t a love triangle. It’s quite clear where Dusty’s affections lay. She might have felt something for Paul in the previous book but he killed what they could have had or perhaps they might have never gotten that far seeing that Dusty had always had feelings for Eli. I just hope that we get to see more of Eli and Dusty’s relationship in the third (and if everything works out, not the last) book.

“Can we save the girl moment for later? Like after we save the world? We’re kind of in a hurry here.”

The plot is well paced and while the book does seem slow at points but like the previous book, it has a well written showdown that will keep you at the edge of your seat. It was exhilarating to the point where I was rocking back and forth trying to read at breakneck speed just to see how things would work out.

I was actually glad to see I hadn’t been able to guess who had been helping from the inside but hey, at least I knew who hadn’t been.

In the end though, this book was just as fun as its predecessor. I laughed, I flailed and I fangirled at the Star Wars references. With its fun narration, intriguing world and an interesting plot, this book was a winner and I cannot wait to get my hands on the third book in the series.

If you haven’t read the first book, stop, drop and (roll) read it!

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
World-building
Climax
Overall: 4.1
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Rashika

Rashika is a mysterious creature who likes to hide in the shadows. It's impossible to get to know her but if you must know, she is a huge bookworm. She also happens to have a huge sweet tooth so you can always lure her over the dark side by offering her something sweet (or bribing her with books).

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  1. says

    Amazing review sweetie :D I’m glad you enjoyed this book. <3 I am hoping to read my copy of it soonish. But ohh. It makes me very happy that there is no love triangle in this book :D I did not like Paul in book one :p and I'm glad Dusty is liking Eli in this one, lol. I love Eli. Sigh. But aw. I just want them to be together.. sniffs. Hopefully early on in book three :) Anyway. Thank you for sharing. <3
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    • Rashika says

      I did like him but only because I knew Eli was the one :D Otherwise I wouldn’t have liked him either. They should be together in book 3 but it’s complicated. YOU NEED TO READ THIS SOON, CARINA because we need to discuss this! :P
      Especially that ending!

      Thanks Carina! <3

    • Rashika says

      YAY! :D I know there were a lot of mixed reviews for the first book but I had no idea before I read them. I was just too excited for the book at that time and I loved it to bits! :)

      I hope you enjoy it too! :)

    • Rashika says

      There is some interesting stuff going on in book two! :D I hope you enjoy the sequel as much as I did Henrietta!! :)
      HAHA THANKS! :D

    • Rashika says

      YAY! :D So the plot isn’t break-neck until the last quarter but boy is it break-neck!!!
      I hope you decide to pick this up soonish, Joy! :D
      (well as soon as you’re free from the evils of exams)

  2. says

    I didn’t care much for the first book but I’m really glad you liked it! I have to admit the book was fun though, and there were definitely aspects that you mentioned that I enjoyed too. Glad to hear that the love triangle kind of sorted out and there is one clear love interest, that was something that I was iffy on in the first book too.
    Alise recently posted…Review: Dreams of Gods & MonstersMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      The love triangle never bothered me in the first book because I always figured Eli would be the love interest but Paul was an interesting character who wasn’t just a plot device seeing that his relationship with Dusty did seem genuine! :D

  3. says

    Fantastic review, Rashika!! I absolutely adored this one too, and all the SW references made sooooo happy! *grinning and giggling, I’m such a fangirl!!*
    I was a bit scared of a possible love triangle, but I love how Mindee didn’t go that route but took things in a reasonable way, showing very genuine and realistic feelings. And I love that finally Eli and Dusty have a chat about things and don’t just go on with the hot and cold and the wondering!
    More than one final book?? HELL YEAH!! I’m all for it!!
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    • Rashika says

      ndslasjd I actually stopped at one of the SW references parts and tweeted the author to let her know I was going crazy!

      Same here. I felt like that in both books the love triangle-like situation was handled pretty damn well.

      From what I understand, there are actually supposed to be 4 books but the deal for the 4th book hasn’t been signed yet :/

  4. says

    Awww yeaaaah. I’m so glad to hear that The Nightmare Dilemma is just as good as The Nightmare Affair! I really liked the first book, so I’m definitely going to get a copy of this at some point.

    I have to admit, I don’t really like Eli that much. And hearing about his being really indecisive kind of annoys me lol. The “we can’t be together” trope is probably the trope that most annoys me in YA. (Yes, even more than superficial love triangles, or instalove.)

    And Paul…I don’t really remember him from the first book tbh haha. By which I mean I don’t remember him at all lolz. Might need to reread the first book for a refresher before going on to read this one :P
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    • Rashika says

      YAAAS! You need to get a copy soon Nara!! :D

      I HATE THE ‘We cannot be together’ trope either. It bothers the living daylights out of me but I forgave this one because it wasn’t only Eli.. you’ll know what I mean when you read the book :D

      Or perhaps recaptians has something? :P

  5. Melanie (YA Midnight Reads) says

    Ooh, I’m liking the new changes to the blog design! It’s always fun to change things up a bit, eh? I still need to read this series and I have been saying that a year so…yeah. Must get to it sometime soon! I MUST. Love this Dusty chick already.

    Lovely review! <33

    • Rashika says

      I LIKE IT TOO! Faye changed it and then I was stalking the blog (because I stalk my blog sometimes… I am weird like that) and I was like
      HOLY CRAP FAYE that looks good :D

      I hope you still love her whenever you decide to read this ;)

      THANKS MEL!!

    • Rashika says

      How can anyone say no to Star Wars references? :D
      (well no fangirls can at the very least)

      I hope you pick it up soon Jess (but I am also scared because if you dont like it *cries*)

  6. says

    Nice to hear you enjoyed this just as much as the first. Dusty sounds like a great MC. I have a copy of the 1st book and I need to get to it soon. Wonderful review, Rashika! :)

    • Rashika says

      You’ve read book 1 though right? Because The Nightmare Dilemma is book 2 :P
      Anyway, I REALLY HOPE you enjoy it! :D

    • Rashika says

      It is isn’t it? Especially if it’s an anticipated read. I had the same problem! I remember its and bits but it HAS been a while since I read book one so I definitely had some problems trying to remember what was going on :P I was on goodreads during breaks checking up on reviews of book 1 to get a general idea of what I was forgetting! :P