NOTE: This review is for a book with mature content and sexy times!
Grave Phantoms by Jenn Bennett is the third book in the Roaring Twenties series, and like the first two books, it takes place in San Francisco in the late 1920s. This story follows Astrid Magnusson and Bo Yeung, longtime friends who have been suppressing their feelings for each other due to the circumstances of the time: social barriers due to their different races and class distinctions. They also find themselves at odds with a dangerous cult after inadvertently interrupting a vital ritual. This can be read as a standalone book, but both of the previous books have a fair amount of Astrid and Bo in them so I’d recommend starting with Bitter Spirits.
This big difference between Grave Phantoms and the previous two stories is the emphasis on relationship building. The first two books seemed to have a focus of about 35% relationship, 65% intricate mystery plot. This one was the opposite: 35% mystery plot, 65% relationship building. Because of that, the world was less descriptive, the mystery was less interesting, and there was a lot of time spent on anxiety and self-doubt. I still enjoyed this book, and I liked Bo and Astrid a lot, but it just didn’t have the same enchanting Roaring Twenties quality.
That being said, if you love a strong emphasis on an angsty romance you will love this story!
Bo and Astrid were a great couple. It was satisfying to read about them coming together after getting to know them in the previous two books. Due to the challenges they were facing, the biggest being that it was illegal for people of different races to marry at the time, they had a lot to overcome. I absolutely loved the scene at the gardens when they found a way to ignore all of the “what ifs” and be open with each other for the first time.
Most of my favorite moments were actually those with secondary characters, namely Lowe and Hadley, and two new characters, the Wicked Wenches. These moments added some of the Roaring Twenties punch back into the story.
Overall, while I enjoyed this one, it was my least favorite of the series. I will definitely read more from Jenn Bennett and will eagerly pick up the next of her Roaring Twenties books if she continues the series.