Friday, 23 February 2018

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue - Review

Book Review:
Title: The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Publisher: Harper Collins

“We are not broken things, neither of us. We are cracked pottery mended with laquer and flakes of gold, whole as we are, complete unto each other. Complete and worthy and so very loved.”

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.

I did it! I finally read The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, and to everyone on social media who told me I'd love it, you were right! I loved it soooooo much. I can't begin to explain just how fun this book was - the characters, the adventures, literally everything - it was entertaining as hell!

What I loved most about this book is that it manages to stay light-hearted even when dealing with some serious topics. And those serious topics are not glossed over AT ALL. We have many conversations about race, sexuality and sexism, that are so relevant, not just for the time period this book was written in, but for now, present day society! The discussions were so wonderfully eloquent.

Monty, our main character, is very privileged. He's not 100% happy with life, but you can't deny that he is extremely privileged with his access to education, money and his overall acceptance (minus his sexuality) in society. This privilege has, at times, left him with a bit of a rose tinted view where he is unable notice racism and sexism without it being pointed out to him, therefore making ignorance his biggest flaw. But I love that over the course of this book and his travels, he learns and he grows into a better person. This is going to sound extremely cliche, but Monty's journey across Europe is not the only journey he has in this book.

His growth is mainly due to two other wonderful characters: Percy (my smol son) and Felicity (a badass norm-breaking lady!) These two deserve the world and more. They were so ahead of their time - Felicity was a real Lady, in the way that she didn't take shit from anyone! She knows what she wants to do in life, and even though her parents and society tell her no, she still fights for it. What an inspiration.
And Percy - he has the patience of a saint! I've faced a fair bit of racism in my life, and it's never easy to brush it off or to have to constantly educate people on it. It gets frustrating! But bless Percy. He dealt with a lot of crap throughout this book, but he maintained his cool. And even though he didn't have to, he helped Monty to understand how hard it can be to deal with racism your whole life, never feeling like you belong. #ProtectPercyAtAllCosts

Staying on the topic of Monty and Percy, their relationship was so FRIGGING cute! Possibly the cutest friends-to-lovers I have ever read. From the very start of the book you can see that they are both pining for each other, but obviously this is a YA novel, so nothing can be perfect from the start. I spent the entirety of this book waiting for them to spill their feelings and get together and be adorable and be happy and just be the most precious couple ever! Well that and hoping that they even manage to survive until the end - without giving away anything too spoilery, their tour goes a little haywire and they end up basically running for their lives, dealing with all sorts of mayhem! (Though I feared for their lives, I have to admit, I had a permanent smile on my face throughout the entire thing.)

Oh, that reminds me, another thing I loved about this book - PIRATES (who are not really pirates...)
I'm not going to say any thing else, because you should really read this book to find out more!

Overall, The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue is the perfect book for anyone who is craving something that reads like a contemporary but is actually historical fiction.
Hilarious, adorable, engaging, sassy & diverse - the perfect combination!
(side note: Bring on Felicity's book!!)

4.75 Stars