What’s that? I’ve actually read a book that has just come out? No, guys, I’m feeling absolutely fine, I just knew that I had to read this book as soon as it was released because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to wait any longer. I’d already had to wait longer than I thought because I thought that the release date for The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue came out on the same date in both the U.S and the U.K.
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 travelling 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 year-long 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.
Where do I even start reviewing this book? I genuinely have no clue where to start…
Ok… So the characters were just absolutely amazing. I love Monty and his banter, I loved Percy and his thoughtfulness and I loved Felicity and how ambitious she was. Every character brought something different to the book, they balanced each other out perfectly, which resulted in a perfect book. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtues has become one of my top 10 books of all time (maybe even top 5!) just because of the characters. I normally hate reading about upper-class, posh boys because I find the trope very very annoying, but Lee created an upper-class, posh boy (Monty), that went against NEARLY all of the tropes. I say ‘nearly’ because he still liked to sleep around and gamble loads which is conveyed quite a lot in that particular trope. But guys, Monty was bisexual. And the way Lee described his feelings towards Percy is just adorable and made me cry (literally). Percy and Monty’s friendship was just the best thing ever and I loved how Percy balanced Monty out. In no means was Percy the ‘side-kick’ character who was there to make the protagonist look even better. No. Percy was his own protagonist who was sometimes the voice of reason in the trio, he kept Monty level-headed (sometimes) and had so much depth to his character that I just want him to be real. I cried and laughed for Percy throughout the entirety of the book.
Percy and Monty’s friendship was just the best thing ever and I loved how Percy balanced Monty out. In no means was Percy the ‘side-kick’ character who was there to make the protagonist look even better. No. Percy was his own protagonist who was sometimes the voice of reason in the trio, he kept Monty level-headed (sometimes) and had so much depth to his character that I just want him to be real. I cried and laughed for Percy throughout the entirety of the book.
“Just thinking about all that blood.” I nearly shudder. “Doesn’t it make you a bit squeamish?”
“Ladies haven’t the luxury of being squeamish about blood,” she replies, and Percy and I go fantastically red in unison.”
– Mackenzi Lee,
Felicity is the type of person I would want as a best friend. We could go on adventures together and she could teach me medical science. I just think that conversations with her would be awesome because I could have an intelligent conversation with her about academics and she wouldn’t be bothered about talking about boys at all. I liked Felicity the least out of the trio, but she was still very much a major part of the book and I loved how supportive she was of Monty’s sexuality.
It’s something like 530 pages but I FLEW through this book. Granted, I listened to it on audiobook and it was 10 and a half hours long, but I didn’t want to do anything BUT listen to it. I was engrossed in Monty, Percy and Felicity’s adventures around Europe and I just couldn’t get enough of Monty’s sassy comments and the whole “oh dahling” parts.
I also thought that there were some brilliant conversations that took place during this book. There was a conversation between Felicity and Monty about Monty’s sexuality that broke my heart, then there were Percy’s conversations with Monty and Felicity about his epilepsy and also about the colour of skin. There were conversations that Felicity had about what was right and wrong for a woman to do and Felicity trying to break down those barriers by being interested in medicine.
“God bless the book people for their boundless knowledge absorbed from having words instead of friends.”
– Mackenzi Lee,
Overall, this was an absolutely fantastic book that I will end up re-reading again and again. The characters were strong, the plot was strong, the ending was just immense and I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I am looking forward to reading Mackenzi Lee’s next book: The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, which is the sequel to The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue and follows Felicity and the book features travelling, pirates and a female science gang. GIVE IT ME NOW!
If you’re still not sold to buy this book, then I should just pack up being a book blogger right now and find something else to do with my time, because I CANNOT RECOMMEND THIS BOOK ENOUGH! It’s not your typical historical fiction novel with old, white men. It’s funny, yet serious at the same time, it follows 20-year-old protagonists and it’s definitely my favourite book of 2017 so far.
Warning: contains triggers for physical abuse, racism, alcoholism, PTSD, homophobia