5 Reasons to Read: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

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

Genre: Historical Fiction, YA

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books on June 27, 2017

Source: Publisher

My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a digital review copy. No compensation was provided for this review, and all opinions are my own.

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.

  

Have you been searching for a book that has absolutely everything going for it? Look no further – here are five reasons to read Mackenzi Lee’s historical YA romp, THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE.

1. Monty, Percy, and Felicity

Monty is entirely too fond of boys, girls, and drink…and his best friend Percy. Before taking up the mantle of his aristocratic responsibilities, he’s determined to have one last hurrah with Percy on a Grand Tour of Europe; only he didn’t count on his little sister Felicity tagging along…nor did he anticipate that their itinerary would be more opera and museums and less bars and places of ill-repute. But when Monty’s sticky fingers land the gang in trouble, they’re quickly catapulted out of boredom and into the adventure of their lives.  Monty is like that privileged friend who’s always getting you into trouble and has little concept of what life is like for other people, but you love them because they’re fun and clever and loyal. Percy is all things sensitive and beautiful and pure, with a teensy bit of mischief up his sleeve. Felicity is smarter than both combined and has an attitude that can only be described as “stabby.”

2. The Tiniest Smidgen of Magic

That little trinket that Monty stole during one of his less than sober moments? Yeah, turns out that not only does it belong to someone tres important and tres murderous, it’s also considerably more than a “little trinket.” It’s connected to shadowy alchemical rituals and a supposed panacea for illness, one that could have devastating consequences if it were to get in the wrong hands. What’s the gang to do? Why, race across the continent to try and deliver it to its rightful owners before they’re caught, of course!

3. A Free Euro Trip

Can’t afford to travel Europe this summer? Have no fear, because THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE provides readers with a gorgeous, free European vacation – albeit one through the 18th century. Mackenzi Lee does an incredible job of bringing various European cities to life, capturing the simultaneous filth and opulence of Paris, the beauty and culture of Catalonia, and the mystery of Venice. The many cultures and socio-political conflicts of these regions are well incorporated into the plot and I genuinely felt like I’d visited these locales after finishing the book.

4. Fantastic Representation

Bisexual male protagonist. Biracial queer main character. A young woman desperate for quality education and a career in medicine. Excellent disability and mental health representation. THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE has all this and more within its pages, and never once did any of it feel forced or shoehorned in. I am incredibly impressed by Lee’s ability to write a fun historical romp that manages to be more thoughtful, nuanced, and diverse than the vast majority of “serious issue” books out there.

5. A Swoon-Worthy Queer Romance

Monty and Percy are such a fantastic pair. They’ve been friends their whole lives but struggle to take the plunge into romance because of everything stacked against them. Homophobia, racism, and classism are all in their way – not to mention the prospect of hanging. Despite the risks, these two are inevitable. Everyone can see it but the two of them, and of course there’s a little bit of angst about that but y’all, it hurts so good. Percy pushes Monty to be a more empathetic and selfless person, and Monty helps Percy unwind and take things less seriously. And the swoony kisses…. lord. Trust me when I saw that Monty and Percy are perfect together.

Have you read THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE? If you could visit any 18th century European city, where would you go? Let me know in the comments!

 

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  • I like the sound of that free Euro trip! I really love it when a book succeeds in making you feel like you’ve traveled through its locations.

    • Who wouldn’t, right? 😉 Me too! Lee did a fantastic job bringing the various settings to life in this book.

  • I am hearing such awesome things about this one!

    • There’s been a lot of love for it lately, and it’s totally deserved! 🙂

  • Greg Hill

    First of all I want a Grand Tour lol. But I guess that’s not happening… and Felicity sounds awesome (smarter than both of them- lol). And ooh alchemy rituals- I love stuff like that. Monty as the privileged friend sounds like a fun dynamic w/ Percy. And the rep- so nice that it doesn’t feel forced. I hadn’t really paid much attention to this one or knew what it was about, but now I’m gonna add it.

    Cool too that it makes you feel like you’ve been there. What city would I pick? Golly I don’t know- Paris came to mind but this is the 18th century, so maybe… Venice? Somewhere in Italy probably…

    • Right?! Me too. Maybe someday, haha. Felicity is the best! She’s getting her own book too, just saying. 😉 The alchemy stuff was low key but really cool. Monty and Percy have an awesome dynamic that leads to lots of hell-raising and witty banter. YES! I think you’d love this one, Greg.

      Yeah…18th century Paris would be a hard pass for me too, haha. Ooh, Venice is a good choice! I think I’d pick Edinburgh. 🙂

  • Your first point alone already makes the book sound so intriguing! And I feel rather stabby myself sometimes, maybe I would relate to Felicity lol. And ooh, a European vacation, that does sound like a really cool part of the book!

    • Hooray, I’ve achieved what I set out to with this format then. LOL same, Kristen. Same. Felicity is awesome and super relatable, especially with her bookishness. I loved the “tour through Europe” aspect of the story!

  • I love what you have to say about the book, even though the plot itself doesn’t sound that fascinating to me. Your passion about the book makes me excited to read it myself, so I will add it to my wish list right away.

    • Yay, I’m so glad to hear it Sabrina! I absolutely loved this book and it totally took me by surprise, so I’m hopeful you’ll enjoy it too. 🙂

  • You and Nick are determined to make me buy this book with your reviews, aren’t you? I have decided to wait until the hardcover is released here in the UK because the kindle edition is so pricey. Monty, Percy and Felicity sound totally awesome and I love the sound of the story. This books just sounds brilliant, I’ll just keep making grabby hands at my computer screen until August. I just want to read a grand tour around Europe really.

    • Yes, yes we are Becky. 😀 I hope the UK hardcover edition comes out soon, because I am DYING to hear your thoughts on this one. The trio are so fun and awesome, and their relationships really made the story for me. Especially Monty and Percy. I was practically screaming “KISS HIM! KISS HIM!” internally the entire time I was reading, haha. Oh my god, same. I would love a grand tour of Europe.

      • It’s out in August! I cannot wait. Hopefully, my slump will have ended by then. I kind of want to just quit work and travel around Europe. It would be great until I ran out of money. Also, I am a total homebody I’d hate it after a week.

  • A+++ review, Danya! ALL these points are exactly why I loved this book too. I just love how fun it was and of course, those characters were amazeballs! I want them to be my friends. *sobs* Why aren’t they real?
    OMGG that romance! Hearts in my eyes. I wanted them to kissy kiss since the very first page because they are so shippable! I can’t wait for Felicity’s book! It’s gonna be badass!

    • Thank you, Nick! 🙂 UGH I KNOW. I would love to hang out with them, especially on a road trip. Can you even imagine the shenanigans? It’d be epic for sure.

      Monty and Percy are soooooooo freaking cute. The opening scene of them had me going “noooow kiss” right from the beginning, haha. YES I am so excited for Felicity’s book!

  • This is one of my most anticipated books, so I am so glad to hear you enjoyed it so much. It sounds absolutely fantastic! Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3

    ~ Zoe @ Stories on Stage

    • OMG Zoe, you’re in for such a treat with this one. It’s funny, heartwarming, shippy, clever, deep…it’s everything. *happy sigh*

      Thanks so much! 🙂

  • Karen

    I just skimmed quickly because I still need to write my review (& I guess I can’t go with my 5 reasons why format that I was thinking of lol) but I LOVED this one so much! It was so FUN!

    Glad you liked it too.

    Did you know that Felicity’s book is next? Yay!

    For What It’s Worth

    • LOL feel free to do whatever format you want (I’m coming on over to see what you had to say about it)! Yes, this is a fun, clever, heartwarming story. I honestly think everyone would enjoy this.

      YES, I can’t wait for Felicity’s book! She’s such a freaking badass.

  • GAH I need this book in my life! I don’t know why I still have not obtained it! I LOVE a road trip, and a European one? Yes please! The characters and the romance sound incredible too, I am going to have to get this ASAP! So glad you loved it, and thanks for the great review!!

    • YOU DO, SHANNON! You really do. Historical Euro trip with a fantastic gang of characters, a wonderful romance, and great banter. What’s not to love, really? The perfect, smart summer read! Can’t wait to see what you think of this one. 😀

  • Sigh……I can’t wait to read this book! Excellent review – it does such a good job selling the book and pointing out the really good stuff.

    • Thanks so much, Stephanie! You are going to really love this book, I think. Despite Monty’s impulsiveness, hahaha. Percy and Felicity will totally echo your thoughts on his behaviour when they tell him to smarten up, LOL.

  • Lynn Williams

    What a great review. It sounds excellent. I shall make a note of this one thanks.
    Lynn 😀

    • Thanks Lynn! I think this one is going to be a major hit this summer, and if you’re in the mood for a fun and funny read, this is a great choice.

  • This is a wonderful review Danya, I like how you’re mixing things up! This one is climbing higher on my review list — every single review I’ve read gushes over how brilliant it is!

    • Thank you so much, Verushka! This review format is a lot of fun for me to write. I’m so excited to see that TGGTVAV is getting a ton of love because it’s honestly one of the best books I’ve read this year so far. Mackenzi Lee is one to watch!

  • Savanah | Off-Color Literature

    This sounds awesome! I’ve been resisting it for some reason? I think the title and cover really throw me off. But I love your review. I’m going to have to check it out now!

    • I totally know the feeling Savanah – sometimes hype or cover art (even a line in the blurb) can put me off a book even if it’s getting lots of love. This story really does have something for everyone, though so I think you’ll love it. Fingers crossed! 🙂

  • Yay!! I’m glad you loved this too! Definitely such a fun read and I adored the trio of Monty, Percy and Felicity! And Monty and Percy were so adorable!! Just so enjoyable 🙂 Awesome review, Danya!

    • Hooray, I’m glad *you* loved it too! The trio had such a great dynamic, and I was especially pleased by the friendship that developed between Percy and Felicity (and I loved how they bonded over their exasperation with Monty, hahaha). Thanks so much, Cyn! 🙂

  • AND ANOTHER ONE on my TBR. I’ve seen this around the blogosphere and it did pique my interest but you’ve made me click that button! (That’s the ‘Want to Read’ button in case you were wondering).

    It really does sound too good to pass up – with the characters, the magic and the great representation that isn’t forced? COUNT ME IN.