Written by: Mackenzi Lee
Published: June 27, 2017 by Katherine Tegan Books (Harper Teen)
(Amazon / Goodreads)
Synopsis: 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.
*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***
I was unbelievably excited to read this book and it was abso-bloody-lutely amazing. I loved Mackeni's debut so I would have read anything that she came out with next but this just sounded amazing and it was. Everything I had hoped it would be with amazing characters, a thrilling plot, and brilliant writing.
Going into this book I expected it to be an interesting piece of historical fiction as the author took us through an engaging period of history. She absolutely did that. I like my historical fiction to take imaginary people and populate them in real places with real events. That's exactly what happened here. Europe in the 18th century came alive in this book. And it wasn't just the upper class goings on either. There were some dangerous and different things we got to experience as well. I loved every place and event that was explored. We were taken to so many amazing cities in Europe that I personally loved when I was there in college and Mackenzi did a great job in describing these beautiful places. It was a beautiful setting for a book and a great backdrop for this historical fiction novel.
However, my favorite thing about this book was, without a doubt, the characters. This book is full of completely amazing and likable characters. First and foremost we have our main character Monty. Monty is seriously everything. He is the perfect combination of charming and vulnerable. I loved him when he was being sullen and reckless just as much as I love him when he was being flirty and rakish. I love characters like Monty who we get to see at their best and at their worst.
But Monty wasn't the only amazing character here. The book was full of likable characters who were complex and engaging. The two most important and interesting are Monty's companions, Percy and Felicity. Percy is Monty's best friend and love interest. He's just so adorable and I love the two of them together. I ship it so hard. Then there is Felicity, Monty's sister. She's described as being bookish and a bit of a bore but she is anything but. She's snarky and plucky and is really the best out of everyone in a crisis. I really loved her and the dynamic she has with Monty is amazing and so realistic. And that is just the beginning. This book had so many amazing characters.
I think part of what made the characters so fantastic was because for me the heart of this book is in the coming-of-age. Each of the characters has this great development throughout the book. I'm not sure they really had a traditional Hero's Journey but they did got through an incredible change throughout the book. The people we meet at the beginning are not the people we see at the end. Each of our heroes go through their own journeys as they figure out who they are and who they want to be. This is something that I love about YA and it was one of the best parts about this book.
But beyond the figurative journey, our characters went on a literal journey throughout the book. The main jumping off point for the plot here is the characters' Grand Tour. It's pitched as a road trip story, something that I don't usually enjoy but I loved it here. I already mentioned how great the settings were and that in and of itself would probably have been enough but then things very quickly veered off plan and it became incredibly more interesting. I didn't know that I was getting an action packed high stakes adventure story with this book but that is exactly what I got. I seriously could not put this book down. It really built to a climax that had me on the edge of my seat and along the way there were so many amazing moments. I didn't expect to be able to finish this in a few days but I was because it was that good. I couldn't stop thinking about it when I wasn't reading and when I was reading I couldn't think of anything else.
Even though this is a love and very gushing review I feel like I cannot do it justice. I really loved it that much. It was an insanely brilliant and engaging l book that I could not stop reading and do not want to be over. It had everything I had hoped it would have and more. There was a descriptive setting, great and complex characters, and a thrilling plot full of adventure and a good coming of age story. Seriously, read it. You won't regret it.
I give The Genteman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee 10 out of 10 stars
Have you read Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!