Tuesday, June 27, 2017

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

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
Mackenzi Lee
Release: June 27, 2017
Goodreads Amazon
An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Witty, romantic, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a sumptuous romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.

One of my favorite things in the world is to pick up a book and know immediately from page one that I'm going to love it and that it will soon have a spot on my favorites shelf. The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue was one of those books for me. I loved everything about it: the characters, the mystery, the romance, and the Grand Tour setting! But most of all, I loved the feeling of nostalgia it gave me. I'm not sure I can explain how much I absolutely adored this book without gushing but I'm going to try.

This book is pitched by the author as "the big gay road trip novel set in the 18th century you didn't know you needed!" which set the bar high and it was abso-bloody-lutely amazing! It's a coming of age story that kind of read like historical fanfiction and I mean that in the best way possible! This was the adventure novel of my heart given an actual physical form with words. There's pirates and highway men and tombs and alchemy and streaking at the palace of Versailles. The story started off fast and doesn't let up until the book is over.

As much as I loved the adventure, my favorite thing about this book was, without a doubt, the characters. I quickly fell head over heels for the main trio: Monty, Percy, and Felicity. Monty was seriously everything. He was the perfect combination of insufferable, charming, and oddly vulnerable. I loved him at his most sullen and reckless as much as I did at his most bisexually rakish. Percy is Monty's best friend and the unrequited love of his life. He is absolutely adorable and I love the two of them together. I ship it so hard, guys! So hard! I spent most of the book yelling at them to get it together and kiss already.

As much as I love those two, the character who stole the show was Felicity, Monty's sister. She's described as being bookish and boring but I found her anything but. She's snarky and intelligent and is totally the Hermione of the trio. She's the reason Monty and Percy didn't die at the side of the road. The whole time I was was reading I kept thinking that I just wanted a whole book about Felicity being herself and having adventures. AND WE'RE GETTING ONE NEXT YEAR! I just really loved her and the dynamic she has with Monty was amazing and so realistic. I loved watching their relationship change throughout the course of the book.

The Gentleman's Guide, at its heart, was a coming of age story. Each of our heroes go through their own journeys as they figure out who they are and who they want to be. The people we meet at the beginning are not the people we see at the end. And that character evolution was one of the best parts about this book. I also loved how the book respectfully addresses some serious issues.  It covers so many things like LGBTQIA+ relationships and sexuality in the 18th century, being biracial in a racist society, mental health, disability, abuse, PTSD, and the privilege and power having money provides. The whole thing was exceedingly well done without the novel losing any of its lightness and humor.

I loved it and tried to read it slowly because I didn't want it to end. I grew up reading a weird mixture of fantasy, adventure, and historical fiction novels and this book was my whole childhood condensed into 528 pages. It brought back all the hours I spent devouring the adventures of characters like Sir Percy Blakeney, the Robinson family, Allan Quartermain, Professor Challenger, Phileas Fogg and Jean Passepartout, the March sisters and a metric ton of Sunfire Romance heroines which is the highest praise I can give a historical fiction adventure novel. 

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss.

  5 / 5 Stars!

Recommended for fans of:
Sorcery and Cecilia, or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede
Soulless by Gail Carriger
Mairelon the Magician by Patricia C. Wrede

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love to read comments!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...