Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

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Genre: Historical, LGBT, Young-Adult (and one more genre that I’ve decided not to mention because it’s better this way)
Pages: 513
Series: Standalone, but a sequel/spin-off will follow a different MC
Release Date: June 17, 2017
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Star

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I was mislead about this book. All the reviews I read talked about how much fun the book is and while that’s true, it is fun, the reviews made it seem as if it was just a light, good-time kind of read. But there is some serious shit that takes place and because that wasn’t what I was anticipating, it took away a little of my enjoyment of the novel. Only a little, though.

It’s set in the 18th century and told from the perspective of Henry “Monty” Montague, who was raised to be a gentleman, but between his drinking, partying and sexual shenanigans with both men and woman, that has yet to happen. He has an agreement with his father: a tour across Europe with his best friend (and the unrequited love of his life) Percy and after, he’ll curb his ways for good. So off we go with Monty, Percy and Felicity, Monty’s sister and unwanted guest, to explore. Except everything goes haywire when a reckless decision on Monty’s part causes them to have to run for their lives, across Europe.

That’s when the tone of the book changes. Before that, it was a lot of lighthearted fun but after they land themselves in trouble, things change a little. It doesn’t become too serious or anything, just a move into the character development and serious life problems. This is not a dark book, and thanks to Monty’s wonderful narrative, it’s always entertaining and basically un-put-down-able.

Speaking of Monty, I love the guy, but holy shit can he be annoying. He suffers from the chronic inability to ever say the right thing. He misunderstands situations, or doesn’t get them at all; he makes bad decisions, and even when he’s thinking the right thing, he never manages to say it. But the book is about him changing for the better, realizing that he isn’t the useless man his father has led him believe all his life. He also has a good heart and every time he thinks of his feelings for Percy, it’s the cutest thing. There’s a scene when Monty is thinking about his and Percy friendship and some of its strains and we get this:

I ruined it by losing my bleeding mind every time he does that thing where he tips his head to the side when he smiles.

Monty is stumbling through his feelings and this whole ‘growing up’ thing. He’s a mess. Percy is quite well-organized. I love Percy too. He’s funny and sweet and caring, but he’s more aware of the bad in the world, being biracial and an orphan, growing up with people refusing to associate with him or treat him well, because of his colour. I love his and Monty’s relationship.

My favourite character in the book though, definitely Felicity. She’s smart, clever, sassy, snarky, badass, wise, caring, funny and just perfect. I had the best time with her, not to mention that her relationship with her brother, with their arguments and comebacks, is endlessly entertaining.

Overall , this is a great book with an engaging story and a very good pace. I was so much more into it that I usually expect from a Historical novel. There was a misunderstanding between Monty and Percy that I felt was stretched too long but other than that, I loved the book and feel that it’s deserving of the hype surrounding it. I highly recommend reading the book and can’t wait for what Mackenzi Lee will give us next. In the meantime, she has a book I haven’t yet read. I’ll be on that.

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