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The Nightmare Dilemma (The Arkwell Academy #2) by Mindee Arnett

17910091Hardcover, 384 pages
Expected publication: March 4th 2014 by Tor Teen
Source: Raincoast Books

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.


I did not love The Nightmare Affair, the first in the Arkwell Academy series but I did not hate it so I requested the sequel with the hope that this installment would show growth in both the writing and the story. I believe in giving second chances though I have been burned enough times to completely abandon that belief now.

See, The Nightmare Dilemma did not work for me at all. I was able to at least push aside my complaints in the first novel, and enjoy the story for what it was but that was impossible to do in the sequel because the bad was just so bad. First, the writing is the biggest obstacle when it comes to enjoying the story. It’s not polished, the use of language is stale and there is no attention being given to rhetoric. I would give examples but I have an ARC copy and we’ve been requested not to quote from ARC copies.

Then there are the characters. Dusty shows no emotional growth but Eli has somehow regressed. Their relationship, which was the highlight of the first novel for me, has become the clichéd “I love you, You love me But We Must Not Because ______” or until Paul makes a reentrance and then it becomes two puppies fighting over a particularly choice morsel or so it seems. The progression of the story is predictable and Dusty’s development into superawesomesauce savior is unbelievable. Oh and the airport scene at the climax of the novel rather than being sad and tugging at heartstrings is laughable in its aggrandized melodrama.

Yeah, this sequel did not work for me on so many levels. But maybe it’ll be awesome for people who really liked the first novel. I can see them liking it. Maybe.


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