Author: Mindee Arnett
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Series: The Arkwell Academy #2
Hardcover, 384 pages
Publication: March 4, 2014 by Tor Teen
Source: I received a review copy from the publicist in exchange for a honest review.
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.
The Nightmare Dilemma is the sequel to last year’s fun paranormal mystery The Nightmare Affair. Dusty and the gang are all back in the latest installment. It’s been a month since Dusty and her friends defeated the Red Warlock and broken the Will (rule/law governing magic use) enabling everyone the freedom to use magic without any restrictions/consequences. Since Dusty, Eli and Selene worked so well together in solving the Red Warlock’s identity; they decided to start a private investigation business dubbed ‘The Dream Team’. Their most recent case involves a fellow mermaid classmate Britney who was attacked in the school’s underground alcoves’ and it is up to The Dream Team to figure out who the attacker is. And if that isn’t enough Lady Elaine puts Dusty on another case; to spy on her ex-boyfriend Paul Kirkwood who was just recently released from prison. The last time Dusty saw Paul was when he conspired with the Red Warlock and attempted to murder Dusty. Talk about a loaded job.
I really enjoyed The Nightmare Dilemma. It was so easy to slip back into Dusty’s world as if I never left. This time around readers are given a new mystery as we follow along with The Dream Team as they unearth clues the normal way; by investigating each potential suspect’s background, breaking into teacher’s office or student’s lockers and other times through Eli and Dusty’s Dream jumps. Like the first book Eli’s dreams hold clues to what will happen in the future and it is up to the two of them to make sense of Eli’s dreamscape to prevent it from coming true…for example in Eli’s dream important people and friends are shown dead! I also liked that Arnett expanded on the world showing us a political upheaval amongst the Magi Senate and the on-going animosity between Witch-kind, Dark-kind, and Nature-kind that all ties back into the mystery plot. Another plus was the incorporation of another well-known myth/legend that played in the background of the mystery and came full circle in the end. I’m not sure if readers remember but in the first book Arnett used Arthurian myth/legends and again the myth/legend the author used this time around was quit refreshing as I haven’t seen it used in many YA books.
Dusty was just as fun and snarky as the first book. As usual you can expect Dusty to speak her mind before she thinks…which always lands her in trouble or detention. But she is always doing whatever it takes to help prevent a disaster, even if it means breaking a few rules. And it was also nice to see the usual faces like Selene, Eli, and surprisingly once foe now friend Lance. Everyone certainly grown since the last book not much but after the battle with the Red Warlock…some of the characters definitely didn’t waste time preparing themselves if another battle or war ensued. It was actually fitting. Then there’s Eli and Dusty’s complicated relationship. At the end of the first book their relationship was starting to change but in The Nightmare Dilemma, they’re fighting their growing attraction to one another. And sadly it’s a little YA cliché, the two want to be together but because of –blank- reasons they can’t. However, I wasn’t as bothered with their situation as much as some readers because I was so into the mystery plot. It kept me engaged till the very end.
The Nightmare Dilemma was an excellent sequel, and I’m happy to report it didn’t suffer the second book syndrome. And No love triangle, Yay (like the synopsis possibility hinted at)! And no cliffhanger! Well, although it ended abruptly and somewhat anticlimactic…it was tied up nonetheless. The sequel was full of action, mystery, romance and was an all-around fun installment in the Arkwell Academy series. I am looking forward to the next book in the series. I highly recommend this paranormal YA that’s kind of part Veronica Mars-part Nancy Drew sleuth mystery. A book anyone at any age will enjoy.