Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Review: The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

Title: The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Series: Untitled, but a companion novel starring Felicity is in the works
Volume: 1
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Release Date: June 27, 2017

Monty's Grand Tour of Europe was supposed to be the last hurrah- his last chance for his wild lifestyle, last chance for drinking and gambling, last chance to flirt with his best friend Percy- before returning home to take over the running of the the family estate. He's going to make everything of it that he can, even with his bookish younger sister in tow. But when one of Monty's impulsive decisions turns the Tour into a manhunt across Europe, Monty finds himself reevaluating everything- his future, his relationship with Percy, and himself.

Out of Ten: 8/10

Review at a Glance: A fun historical fantasy adventure with a whirlwind plot featuring bold and diverse characters- including a fantastic narrator!

Review: A couple of my friends went into Toronto for Pride this year, and one of them picked this one up from the Glad Day Bookshop for me! This was one of the titles that I'd been anticipating, but that I hadn't thought to pre-order because I am excellent at planning, so I'm really glad she was able to snag a copy- especially because I had a lot of fun reading it!

I went into this mostly hoping for fun Victorian road-trip shenanigans with LGBTQIAP+ characters, and I definitely got that, but this book also touches quite a bit on a variety of more serious topics and issues. The combination of silly and serious made for an interesting, and sometimes slightly discordant, reading experience. It wasn't something I necessarily disliked, but it was just a little strange, I guess? I'm not even sure what I'm getting at with this observation... (great reviewing there, Kelly, 10/10 points for you).

This books somehow felt both well-researched and very fictional, at the same time- the adventure part kind of turns things up to 11. Historical fantasy, in terms of the overarching plot of the story? It actually wound up getting a little bit more fantasy there toward the end, which was unexpected, after spending the first half of the book in what came of as a non-fantasy world. It wound up a bit heavier on the fantasy-adventure component than I was expecting (silly me), and that was really enjoyable! (I mean, speculative fiction is my favourite genre, so... bonus for me, really.)

The strongest and most dynamic part of this book for me was the characters. Our main character comes off as a bit larger-than-life, in keeping with the plot of the story. Like, if this plot was going to happen of course it was going to happen to someone like him. Monty's a very ...amplified, maybe? person, both in terms of his good and bad personality traits, and it was fantastic seeing his character develop. He's someone who is doing his best, while struggling with quite a few things, and sometimes screwing up in a kind of spectacular way. He's vivid, multi-faceted, very funny, and also very dramatic, and made him both a fantastic character and a great narrator.

I also really liked how both Percy and Felicity were vivid characters in their own right, and I really liked both of them. They're both really strong personalities as well, living their own lives and facing their own challenges. (I'm pretty excited to see that Felicity is getting a book focused on her, because I have a strong personal preference for ladies of science!)  Over the course of the book, Monty really finds himself evaluating is relationships with and his assumptions about both of them. Those relationships both wind up changing a lot over the course of the book- especially the relationship between Monty and Percy, which was fantastic to see grow! They have such a great dynamic from the start, and the way their romance unfolded fit really well with the story itself.

Overall, I had such a fun time reading this book. I was impressed by the number of tougher subjects this book touches on, while still being a really funny, enjoyable read, and I'm delighted that there's a companion novel!


  1. I'm so glad you liked this one! It has been so hyped and I'm always scared that hyped books might let me down but so far I've heard wonderful things about the book from my trusted reviewers :) i like that there's a lot of diversity in the book and fun books discussing serious topics are my personal favorite kind of books :) Great review!

    1. Hyped books can be intimidating to pick up! I kind of dodged some of the hype surrounding this one... I knew people who were excited about it, but I only discovered how BIG the hype was after I'd gotten my hands on it! I don't know how I missed it earlier. (There's A LOT of hype... which I guess I'm not really helping with.)

      Anyway, I definitely recommend picking this one up if it sounds like your cup of tea, and I hope you like it if you do!

  2. This book has been getting a ton of hype, but for some reason, I’d never bothered to read a synopsis. It actually sounds kind of awesome. I added it to my TBR list. Great review!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. Sometimes a book just kind of flies under your radar, even if you've seen it around quite a bit. Who knows why... the cover? Dark magic? It's probably one of those....

      I'm glad that I've helped you discover (rediscover?) something you might like to give a go! If you do wind up picking it up, I'd love to hear what you think!

  3. THIS IS SUCH A GOOD BOOK AHHH!! I absolutely adored it. And it got aaall the points and stars from me. *hugs it* I loved the sass and hilarity but coupled with the darker and more brutal subjects. It was a perfect amount of heartbreaking and uplifting!! My copy just arrived yesterday and I'm SO excited to re-read it heeh.

    1. I wouldn't have pegged you as a person who likes both humour and dark plot points (I say, sarcastically, with sarcasm).

      I keep randomly pulling it off the shelf and rereading bits... when I should be reading other things, probably.