Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare.
Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy, is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder.
Then Eli’s dream comes true.
Now Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.. — Goodreads Description
Things I Liked
- The cover! As you might know by now, I don’t really read cover blurbs or summaries of books because daaaaaang, pretty covers always lure me in. This one was really lovely, I adore the three-tone art style and it looks really shiny and attractive.
- The premise was really interesting, too (otherwise, I probably would’ve DNFed). We’ve read all about werewolves and vampires and witches and wizards and occasionally even ghosts, but nightmares as a supernatural species? Nope. I was super into that, negl. I loved the nightmare bits of the book, the way Dusty’s abilities play out, the things a nightmare has to do and live through. It was really interesting. I also really enjoyed the concept of a boarding school for the supernatural and paranormal. Of course, considering that I’ve got a boarding school fetish when it comes to books.
- I also appreciated the occasional feminist themes of the book! They were few and far between, but I was glad they were there, if only in the form of Selene (who deserves a medal for putting up with humanity, tbh).
- On the hilarious side of the book, there were trash trolls. Yep, you read that right. Trash trolls. I rolled my eyes at first but the existence of them has grown on me. Trash trolls sitting in bins eating rubbish. I cannot.
- In a similar manner I enjoyed the addition of animations, i.e. inanimate objects developing a bit of a consciousness. I could see that becoming an issue in a magic world, actually!
Things I Didn’t Like
- All the guys are assholes. Now I’ve had my fair share of being bullied in school, especially by boys, so it’s not completely out there that certain boys would act that way towards Dusty, but ugh. Grow up. I was particularly disappointed in Eli, who was supposedly protector of the little guy back in school but now treats Dusty with contempt and aversion. It doesn’t matter that it eventually stops, it’s just frustrating. Dusty, girl, don’t let people treat you that way, even if they’re pretty boys.
- Moving on from the asshole guys, there’s Dusty. Geek shaming to the max where Dusty is involved. I am not amused. “Most magickind teenagers were fanatics about ordinary pop culture. Almost everybody was a Comic-Con-attending play-dress-up fan boy. And he had the nerve to make fun of me. Go figure.” I’m going to go a step further and say that it’s not just Dusty who is an issue, but the author herself. Whether intended or not, this really bothered me. There’s nothing wrong with being a geek and going to Comic-Con and cosplaying. Some people enjoy being ~play-dress-up fan boys~ and others enjoy going to swinger parties. Either way, saying something like this is alienating as, pardon my French, fuck. Sure, this only shames fan boys but how many female readers might also enjoy cosplaying and going to Comic-Con? I bet there are a fuckton of them and saying crap like this, even if it’s just through the words of a character, is not okay.
- In general, Dusty seems more like a twelve-year-old than the ripe old age of sixteen that she’s supposed to be. “If I’d been on the ground I would’ve stomped my foot at him.” Way to show how mature you are, Dusty.
- Of course, as I should’ve expected, there’s yet another love triangle in this YA novel. Colour me surprised. Not. It’s not overly grating on my nerves (and boy, am I grateful for that) but it had me rolling my eyes like there’s no tomorrow. There has to be more to teen/YA fiction than love triangles.
- Then there was the issue of unimaginative names (uhm, the main character’s full name is Destiny Everhart… Destiny Everhart… dun dun dun, I bet it’s her destiny to save the world or something… she didn’t even feel like a Destiny to me and I’m sort of glad that she went by Dusty instead), which not only had me groaning but in the end I was really disappointed in myself, actually. Cause, you know, Dusty’s mum is called Moira Nimue(-Everhart, but we shall ignore that in favour of focusing on Nimue). Anything about that ring a bell for you? Nimue, perhaps? No? It rang at least ten bells for me but silly old me actually just ignored it because it was just too cheesy. More fool I! I guess subtlety was not on the checklist for names in this book. Now I’m only disappointed in myself because I could’ve called at least part of the plot right at the start because of Dusty’s mother. (There’s also the case of a certain group of people being called mules… which is almost like muggles… what a coincidence…)
- The writing. Aside from the occasional missing word in a sentence that made me go back to try and understand what was being said (dude, this can be difficult for an ESL speaker), there were some seriously weird phrasings going on. “He was a sophomore like me, but his hair was black and his eyes cornflower blue.” That’s… that’s a weird juxtaposition. You’re comparing an academic construct with personal characteristics. That’s just plain weird and makes no sense. It makes it sound like all sophomores should look similar to Dusty. Just. No.
- I was also sort of let down by the magic world in this book. I can see that a lot of thought went into spell names and how nightmares do their thing and some thought must’ve gone into the politics, but in the end the whole thing about The Will just seems so unimaginative. It’s like this super convenient plot device you just happen to have on hand to ensure that your plot works out. There’s more to it than that, but I just feel like it could’ve been more.
All in all the book wasn’t bad. There were a lot of things that bothered me, but it was also entertaining in a way. I might pick up the sequel eventually. Maybe.