The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue By: Mackenzi Lee
Henry “Monty” Montague wakes up in the bed next to his bestfriend Percy after a long night of partying, which seems to be a pretty common thing for them, and today is the day they set out on their year long trip before Percy leaves for school, but before they get to leave they must sit through breakfast with Monty’s family and Percy’s Aunt and Uncle, who are like Percy’s Mother and Father, this is where Monty’s father tells him that this trip he had planned will now be a trip to get sober and sex free and when he returns home he must help his father with business. Along with the fact that he must not come into any sexual contact with a boy on this trip or when he gets back or he will be kicked out of the family for good.
While on the trip in Paris Monty, Percy, and Felicity are forced to go to a ball on behalf of Monty’s father where Monty is introduced to the Duke of Bourbon, they exchange some not so gentlemanly words and both are insulted. Monty finds a woman he wishes to bed and she takes him on a short tour which ends at her apartment which is actually the Duke’s apartment where Monty steals a box from his desk as revenge for the insults, but it is short lived when the Duke walks in on the two and Monty must now run away in nothing but his birthday suit.
After leaving Paris Lockwood agrees to drop Felicity off at school Monty will go home immediately and Percy will continue to Holland alone due to Monty’s actions, but it is cut short when the group is caught by some highwaymen who are looking for something and are willing to kill for it, the kids run into the woods and Lockwood is able to take the carriage. They walk to Marseilles in hopes to find Lockwood but instead meet a traveling circus which help with a sick percy and hide them from the men trying to kill them. Monty explains the box he stole and two women in the group tell them the box belongs to Mateu Robles a alchemist who studies a pancreas a “cure-all”. Percy, Monty and Felicity decide to take the box back to Mateu in Barcelona, also with hope that he can help cure Percy.
At the beginning of the book I thought I was not going to finish this book for two very simple reason, the first is I hate history never liked it and never will, the second is geography also a thing I hate. This book has a lot of both in it ue to the simple fact that it is a book set in Victorian era, now I like books set in different Eras if they have a lot of fantasy but this has none so you can see my problem here, but I still gave it a chance and they also put a map in the front of the book, I’m a weird person who likes a visual of the land is my characters are traveling a lot. Now I am going to tell you all the GOLDEN RULE OF READING 1. You cannot fully judge a book unless you have made it one-third of the way into the book, it’s like someone gave you a mystery candy and unwrap it just look at it then throw it away. You gave it no chance you didn’t even taste it, now if you taste it you will know if you like it, for instance if you don’t like mint and tasted mint you know you would hate it.
So I shoved on further into the book making it about 100 pages the story started to bigger than just some rich kid traveling the continent with friends, now there is a chance of someone being taken away forever, a chance they might all be killed, and a bigger meaning here. There are now stakes and life changing events happening and there is action and drama.
The characters i’m not hooked onto but I am hoping that will change. I think Monty is a spoiled brat and just needs to grow up a little bit and stop acting like everything is all about him, the sister is also a brat and only wants to do what she wants to do, it is she way or no way. Lastly Percy I guess I would have to like him the most he just seems the most down to earth here and takes nothing for granted, he is always the one with his head on his shoulders although he can act like a huge drama queen. I find these characters unattachable, boring, and very plain.
The plot in this book is one that takes time to build into, it starts out pretty simple, take a trip around the continent, don’t upset his father, and get Percy to love him a very simple and easy plot to follow is it not? Well that is what I also thought but then it is like the camera zooms out and not only are we seeing just a flower but a flower in a whole field of flowers. Now they must travel to Barcelona to return a key to a man who maybe can fix Percy while running from a Duke who wants to kill them, then it develops even more into a betrayal by someone they thought they could trust, being taken hostage once again and still trying to help Percy all before they must go home. I will say the plot once you make it to about page 250 really picks up and is worth taking the time to read.
The characters in this book are still ones that I just do not fall in love with they aren’t real people to me they are just characters in a book, simple and plain. Monty is the only one that you really get to see evolve as a real person, he is the only one who learns from his mistakes and finds his true self the one he has been hiding throughout the book. I feel something for this character when I read about what his father did to him and all the pain he had to take just because he is who he is and he cannot help who he fancies.
Now for a book about the Victorian Era and Europe, I think this is a very good book, I was not bored to death while reading it even though it did take a little while to take off from the start. The ending was quite an okay ending I think it wrapped the book up well how everything played out and it was climactic but also flowed well with the rest of the book.
All in all these book was neither great nor terrible, I think maybe if I could relate to the characters a little more then maybe it would have been a better book. The plot and the story was very well put together but the characters I just found a little dull and not to my liking. This book is just an okay book, I might lend it to a friend or just put it up and maybe in a couple of years venture across it again or maybe not, it just didn’t make me love it.
I will say if you like books about different time periods and history, and queer love( as the author uses the term for her book) then I would say give this book a try.