DNF Series Review: Phantom Knights by Amalie Vantana

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:



Synopsis for Phantoms in Philadelphia (from Goodreads):
When you live a life of secrets, you trust no one and question everything

Nineteen-year-old Bess Martin has many secrets. She can outride, outshoot, and outsmart most people, but her greatest secret…she is the leader of the Phantoms, a spy organization.

After spending three years fighting in a war, eighteen-year-old Jack Martin returns home to Philadelphia with his sister Bess, ready to live a life of ease, but what is waiting for them is a task more difficult than any other battle they have fought.

When people start disappearing and the weather turns unusually cold, the city is in a panic. They believe the war angered a deity and that the disappearances are the sacrifices, but who will be next? When presidential hopeful James Monroe is targeted, all clues lead to the mysterious secret society known as Levitas. It is up to Bess, Jack, and their team of Phantoms to uncover a dark and winding plot that reaches further than they could have ever imagined. As their journey draws them deep into secrets of the past, Bess and Jack may come to find that a normal life is not possible when you are a spy.


Series: The Phantom Knights
Author: Amalie Vantana
# of Books: 4 (Phantoms in Philadelphia, The Charleston Chase, Secrets in Savannah, Deceit in Delaware )
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Spies, Mystery, Romance
Heat Rating: unsure
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: December 2013 – July 2015
Source & Format: Own–eBook


Note: I only read 20% of Phantoms in Philadelphia. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I found Phantoms in Philadelphia for free for my Kobo a long time ago. Don’t ask me why, but every-time I glanced the title over the years, I thought it was about vampires. I think it’s the mask on the cover? But when I saw it was about spies, I was also super excited–I needed a new espionage novel in my life!

I was also really curious about the sibling dynamic. It has been wayyy too long since I read a story that focused on two siblings as the protagonists.

What I Liked:

–The Focus on the Siblings–

I’m so use to reading alternating POV from romantic partners so I thought it was super cool that this story used two siblings to tell the story. Bess and Jack seem to have their own individual plot lines happening so I liked the promise that there would be a lot happening.

What I Didn’t Like / Why I Dnf’d it:

–The Setting was Unexpected–

What I didn’t realize is that this series takes place in the 1800s. I honestly don’t know why I thought it was a modern day/1900s story so that threw me for a loop. It surprised me that I didn’t enjoy this setting more because I LOVE Victorian/Georgian era stories but I just couldn’t get into the time period.

–Not As Exciting as I Thought–

Given that the two leads have essentially their own plot lines and–you know–the fact that they are spies, I thought things would move at an accelerated pace…and that wasn’t necessarily the case.

I found the writing to be dry and my mind would wander thinking about other things so I would miss what I assume are going to be important details. I also feel like nothing really happened in the first 20% of the book–just a lot of exposition which is fine but I still really didn’t know where the plot was going to go when I decided to call it quits.

Will I Finish It?

I first DNF’d this at 15% (so end of Chapter 4) but then the reviews on Goodreads made me want to keep going. I also read the synopsis for the rest of the series and was mildly curious about the events that come later. Add to the fact that I had this as a Rock my TBR selection and it has sat on my Kobo forever and I really wanted to push forward.

So I tried to read a chapter or two a day and got through a whomping one more than before when I realized I just couldn’t do it. Yes, it sucks but it isn’t fair to this book nor myself to keep on trying to make something work that just isn’t going to no matter how hard I try.

Series Rating: N/A


I think if I had read this as a young teen, I would have really enjoyed it. Fact of the matter is, as someone approaching her mid-20s and who has a lot of experience with faster paced YA reads, this one doesn’t keep up. I need insta-excitement and intrigue from the start and this one just didn’t have it.

Read if You Like: tween/younger YA reads, Victorian era spies but set in America
Avoid if You: want faster plots, want more romance


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Comments 2

  • How disappointing when the blurb sounds so full of promise! I hate when exciting sounding stories fall flat. It puts me in a bad mood. I’m all but you had so much POTENTIAL HOW COULD YOU?!

    Oh well. There is something empowering about quitting a book that is just boring you to tears. It reminds you that your time is valuable, damnit!

    • It’s so true! I have such a hard time giving up books. There is always that “well, maybe it’ll get better and I’ll have missed out on something great”. But if its such a chore, that’s not how I want to spend my free time!

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