Book Review Time: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue | Mackenzi Lee


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

Book Details

Hardcover: 528 pages

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Publication Date: June 27, 2017


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, Percymore

Revamped Review-2

“It’s beginning to feel like he’s shuffling his way through the seven deadly sins, in ascending order of my favourites.”

This book is undoubtedly one of the most humorous and entertaining YA historical fictions I’ve read, beside My Lady Jane of course. The Gentleman’s Guide is filled to the brim with comedic moments that are balanced out by surprisingly serious topics introduced throughout the characters’ long and arduous journey

Not only does Mackenzi Lee create a fun adventure filled with witty dialogue, bouts of debauchery, and intrigue, she also does an excellent job in exploring the human experience by providing situations and character relationships that inspire deep conversation.

“Love may be a grand thing, but goddamn if it doesn’t take up more than its fair share of space inside a man.”

Her characters Monty, Felicity, and Percy are each so unique, well-developed, and multifaceted. Monty, our far-from-perfect protagonist, is self-centered, self-serving, blasé, reckless, insensitive, and cowardly. However, his heart is in a good place. Most of the time, at least. He is hyper-aware and very accepting of his sexuality; however, his confidence falters in the face of his father’s bigoted and domineering presence. Monty’s father plays a much larger role than expected as his treatment of Monty cuts very deep and affects his son’s behaviors in a seriously notable way. It was extremely heartbreaking to read in a book that I thought would be all laughs and jokes. Well, it isn’t, just so you know.

As for the other characters, Felicity was an amazing female character. Though initially insensitive to Monty’s plight, she becomes fairly sympathetic towards the end. She proves to have an open mind, and on top of that, she has agency and a great sense of independence. I was impressed with her experience in medicine and her ongoing pursuit of knowledge. Because of this, I think it would be safe to say she’s the most clever and useful member of the group.

“God bless the book people for their boundless knowledge absorbed from having words instead of friends.”

Percy is truly a sweetheart. Only he truly knew how to deal with Monty, and it was very amusing to see how the two boys interacted. I greatly appreciated how Lee didn’t shy away from race and discrimination during this time period and instead dives right into these issues. Percy’s biraciality provides another dimension to this dark comedy and not only that, Percy’s medical condition also provides another topic of discussion.

All the characters slowly evolve and become better versions of their past selves by the end. Monty and Percy’s relationship goes through rough times, but they eventually find their way. And in doing so, they’ve become one of my favorite OTPs!

“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.”

The story takes a surprising turn and transforms into a hectic, suspenseful journey accented with piracy and a touch of magic/alchemy. Unexpected? Yes. But still very captivating and even more romantic and dangerous than first anticipated.

A Gentlemens’ Guide is a book that expertly balances humor and charm with provocative social commentary. I was very surprised by the darker, more weighty elements. The author navigates themes centered around racism, slavery, domestic abuse, sexism, homophobia, disability and mental illness, dysfunctional familial relations, and so much more.

These heavier themes add great purpose to this romp of a good time, and I really couldn’t have imagined a better way of going about it. As a whole, this book is a perfectly blended adventure complete with fantastic characters. A total reread, if you ask me.

My Rating:

5 stars

7 thoughts on “Book Review Time: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue | Mackenzi Lee

  1. IS IT BAD THAT I KNOW I’LL ABSOLUTLEY LOVE THIS BOOK BUT I’M STILL NOT READING REVIEWS OF FEAR OF OVERHYPING MYSELF?! Am I the only one that does this??? Ok I’ll be weird and alone then. AND YES I DIDN’T READ THIS BOOK THIS YEAR!! Because only the US hardcover is out and that’s expensive so I’m waiting for the paperback….ignore me crying because tbr and i’m missing out and I can’t fangirl about great books with youuu.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL, no I do the same exact thing. I rarely if ever read reviews on a book before I’ve read it. I don’t want to overhype myself or start reading with any prejudgments! I didn’t read a review for this book before it was released. Just let the synopsis and the bookish trailer on epicreads persuade me to read it haha! But I think you’ll really like this one! Tons of fun but also so many feels. Keep me updated on when you manage to get the book so we can fangirl together!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh brilliant review for this book, and I am so so so glad you enjoyed this one Azia! 😀 ❤ The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue is one of my best reads of the year, and probably one of my all-time favourite reads in general as well. I loved Monty, he stands out from all the other MC I've read this year because he's not a perfect character but his development throughout the book is incredible and he grows so much as well. 🙂
    I also loved the relationship between him and Percy, they're definitely one of my OTPs as well and I practically cheered when it seemed like they'd finally admitted their feelings for one another (until Monty put his foot in his mouth again!) 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Beth! ❤ I'm right there with you. It's definitely an all time favorite for me! Monty really was a unique YA protagonist for a plethora of reasons, the main one being his numerous faults in character. He certainly was no Mary Sue or sultry bad boy haha. I just really love the way he was written. I was so happy when he and Percy confessed to one another. But when Monty messed up (again) I think I literally face-palmed the book 😂 I nearly died from second-hand embarrassment LOL. But things worked out in the end, and that's all I could ask for 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right. 🙂 Ha, yeah imagine how different the story would have been if Monty had been a typical YA male character. It wouldn’t have been anywhere near as fun in my opinion. He made some terrible decisions didn’t he, but things worked out in the end at least! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.