Author: Mindee Arnett
Series: The Arkwell Academy, #2
Life as a Nightmare is never boring, especially since Dusty inadvertently helped the Red Warlock destroy The Will, a powerful spell that prevented magickind from harming one another. In The Nightmare Dilemma, Dusty’s adventures continue after a mermaid at Arkwell Academy is attacked and Dusty is asked to enter her dream to discover the culprit. To Dusty’s surprise, she doesn’t find a magickind cursing her classmate but Eli Booker. But how can Eli, something more than a friend to her, be capable of cursing someone, especially since he’s an ordinary with no magical ability? But when Eli is suddenly able to perform magic, Dusty cannot help but suspect him. Things become even more complicated when Dusty’s ex-boyfriend Paul comes back into her life and she’s asked to spy on him.
“Glancing around, I realized that everything was frozen, including Britney, who hung suspended mid-jump into the pool. A look of terror darkened her features. Behind her, I saw the shadowed figure again, frozen as well, but in an attack position, one arm stretched out in front of him as if he were hurling a knife at Britney’s back.”
I think I liked Dusty’s and Eli’s relationship more in the first book when they were still feeling each other out. This book contained a little too much physical attraction for my taste, simply because I want more for these two characters. I felt Dusty’s preoccupation with Eli made her a bit bland and predictable. On reflection, I don’t think these two characters know each other very well and I believe Arnett missed an opportunity to build their relationship into something deeper and more meaningful.
The Arkwell Academy series is centered around the fact that Dusty is a Nightmare, a mythical creature we rarely, if at all, have the pleasure to explore in books. This is the first time I’ve come across a Nightmare in literature. I wanted the author to delve more into the lore of Nightmares and I was hoping with the way the first book ended, this would include Dusty’s mother as the means. No such luck as Dusty’s status as a Nightmare felt like old news.
I really hate having to give this sequel a lower rating than its predecessor and though I can tell Mindee Arnett made an effort to expand the universe she introduced us to in The Nightmare Affair, the new elements she introduced, especially Dusty’s and Eli’s new dynamic, weakened the story as a whole. Despite its flaws, I will still be finishing the series.