book review, young adult

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (ARC Review)

29283884Title: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Type: Fiction
Genre: YA, Historical, Fantasy, GLBT
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins)
Published: June 27, 2017

A physical copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

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.

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This book was everything! I have been excited to read this book ever since I learned about it either late last year, or early this year (likely the former), and The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue did not let me down once I did finally get to it. In fact, it greatly exceeded my expectations! Lee’s writing is what struck me first. Although I’ve read a lot of work from the 17 and 18 hundreds, and a good amount of it was written in the first person, I for some reason did not expect this book to be written in the first person. But I’m so glad that it was! Henry “Monty” Montague is such a funny and lovable young man, despite his shortcomings, and this book would not have been the same if it had not been narrated by him.

unnamed (12)I cannot remember the last time a book made me laugh out loud as often as The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue did, if ever, and it was mostly due to Monty’s hilarious trains of thought, attitude, and turns of phrase. The other characters definitely added to the humour in this book as well, and I would not have enjoyed this book as much as I had if it were not for Monty’s best friend and love interest, Percy, and Monty’s sister Felicity. All three of them are incredibly lovable, and I hope that they will all be present in Lee’s next book, The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy which is expected to come out sometime next year. (Lee will also have another book coming out in 2019 which I’m also very excited for, titled Semper Augustus!)

The story, situations, and setting in this book were also quite enjoyable, and I can’t imagine it having gone any other way. The plot kept me guessing, which is great, and I also adored the romantic sub-plot (or was it the main plot? I know that I for one paid almost more attention to the romantic plot, haha). It’s been so long since I’ve read a book featuring a same sex romance/couple which I enjoyed; not because I don’t enjoy plots with same sex couples (the case is, in fact, the opposite!), but simply due to the lack of quality in the last few books that I read featuring a main same sex couple. The romance in The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue felt natural and real, rather than a plot device, and now I miss Monty and Percy so much that my heart hurts! They are definitely a new OTP for me.

unnamed (15)Lee’s writing is strong, witty, and has a particular flair that makes me want every single books she will be coming out with from now on! (I may also have to dive into what she has written before The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue.) Although this book is quite long, it was a very quick read for me; which is both good (because I loved it so much), and bad (because I didn’t want it to end as quickly as it did!) The plot is fast-paced, and kept me intrigued due to the overall story, the sub-plots, the setting, as well as the characters! I also liked that despite this basically being a historical YA comedy, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue touches on a number of serious subjects important to that time, as well as the world we live in now. Lee touched on these subjects in a tasteful manner, rather than using the as plot devices, and all of it really made me feel closer to the main characters, and simply made me adore them all the more.

I absolutely love this book, and it is now officially my favourite of 2017 (so far, although any contenders will have to be amazing to claw their way to first place). And I cannot recommend this book enough! I would seriously give it more than 5 stars if I had that option.

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Mackenzi Lee holds a BA in history and an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Simmons College. She is the author of the historical fantasy novels THIS MONSTROUS THING and THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE (HarperCollins), as well as the forthcoming THE LADY’S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY (coming in 2018 from HarperCollins) and SEMPER AUGUSTUS (coming in 2019 from Flatiron/Macmillan). She is also the author of BYGONE BADASS BROADS (Abrams, 2018), a collection of short biographies of amazing women from history you probably don’t know about but definitely should, based on her popular twitter series of the same name. She currently calls Boston home, where she manages an independent bookstore, drinks too much Diet Coke, and pets every dog she meets.

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15 thoughts on “The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (ARC Review)

  1. Okay, so adding Lady’s Guide and Semper Augustus to my TBR list right now. Good to know. I mean I’ve only read one chapter of Gentleman’s Guide so far (thanks to the online sneak peek) but I can already tell it is going to be one of my favorite reads. Your review is great as well, though it makes me sad that I’m still waiting for my copy of the book to ship out. Actually, all the great reviews I’ve seen about this book make me want to just buy the e-book as well so I can get reading now.

    1. I’m so excited! My copy of Gentleman’s Guide arrived in the mail today. It wasn’t supposed to reach me until at least Monday. This just makes my weekend so much better!!

    1. Yaaaaay! That makes me so happy! I love spreading the word about books that I love :D. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did! Also thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  2. Yaaaay! And oh I hear ya about the eARCs! I kept doing that to myself last year. Now I’ve calmed down with requesting on NetGalley…but get a ton of physical ARCs in stead….

    I guess I don’t learn XD

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