The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Book Review // The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie LeeHenry “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.

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The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance
Publication Date: June 27th, 2017
RATING: 
⭐⭐⭐½

“What’s the use of temptations if we don’t yield to them?”

I have a lot of feelings about The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. Most of my feelings are positive, and the fact that I didn’t give it a full four stars, or even five, mostly stems from the fact that, all the while, I felt like something was missing to elevate it from a fun, cute, and enjoyable read to an all around amazing one.

I think my disappointment in the plot and pacing are to blame for that, because I lost interest in the plot halfway through the book, and the storyline overall left something to be desired—it felt a bit unbelievable, and almost silly, sometimes. Ultimately, it just didn’t hold my interest throughout.

However, unsurprisingly, I fell in love with Monty and Percy right away. Your OTP, who? All I have eyes for are these two rays of sunshine, forever eradiating their cuteness. Reading about them made me believe I might just walk around with a permanent smile etched into my face forever, because they’re the most wonderful, lovely, and precious pairing I’ve read about in a very long time, and I don’t think that that’s going to change anytime soon.

🍃

“The great tragic love story of Percy and me is neither great nor truly a love story, and is tragic only for its single-sidedness. It is also not an epic monolith that has plagued me since boyhood, as might be expected. Rather, it is simply the tale of how two people can be important to each other their whole lives, and then, one morning, quite without meaning to, one of them wakes to find that importance has been magnified into a sudden and intense desire to put his tongue in the other’s mouth.

A long, slow slide, then a sudden impact.

🍃

I’ll admit that Monty is a little bit of a—or let’s be honest, a pretty huge—mess, but he has such a winning and charming personality, despite being cocky, vain, and pretty ignorant (in more ways than one), that he still won me over on the spot. In the course of his journey, he comes to recognize his shortcomings, though, and continually tries to be a better person, which I always find very commendable.

As for Percy; he is just the kindest person one can be—the literal definition of someone with a heart of gold—and he immediately inspires an innate need in you to want to protect him, and keep him away from all harm. I felt both sad and happy for him during the entire book, and the way his storyline is tied up is just wonderful in an entirely unexpected way.

I’m so happy that Felicity will be the main character in the next book in this series, because I adore her—her tenacity, her intelligence, and her resourcefulness. I love all the scenes she shared with Monty, but especially the one in which she tries to understand such an important part of her brother’s identity without passing judgement, but simply with a desire to get him.

🍃

Mackenzi Lee’s writing is lovely, and so fitting for this somewhat whimsical historical story; it’s descriptive and evocative, without being too wordy, and definitely one of my favorite aspects of this book. There are also a lot of important issues being addressed in it; not in a moralistic way, but shimmering just beneath the surface, making you halt and ponder over them, without you even realizing.

All in all, I’m wondering why it took me me so long to pick The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue up to read, because I definitely recommend everyone to do so.

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blue-watercolor-wash-texture-5let's chat!
Have you read this book, and are you going to read the sequel?
Do you enjoy historical fiction?
What are some of your favorite romantic pairings? 💝

xx, Lily

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97 thoughts on “Book Review // The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee”

    1. Historical fiction is definitely not a genre I usually gravitate towards, but this book is so whimsical and charming, and I really think, if nothing else, Monty & Percy are going to win over your heart, Joanna! 🙂

      Thank you! 💗

      Like

  1. This book is my absolute favorite read of 2018 so far, and I think in my top 5 favorites of all time as well. I didn’t mind that it was silly: it made me feel this pure love of reading the entire time I spent with it, and I fell in love with the characters. I’m super excited for Felicity’s book this fall: she gave me serious Hermione Granger vibes and she was just amazing all around and I want more of her haha 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohh wow, I hope your next reads can live up to this one. And I completely agree with you, the characters are all so precious & I felt the Hermione Granger vibes from Felicity as well! I’m so thrilled she’s getting her own book. 💓

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Kelly. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review! I felt the same way – I loved the characters and the romance, but the plot had some weak points and the pacing could have been better (I almost lost interest in what was happening during the second half). That being said, I can’t wait for Felicity’s book because she was my favorite character.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Acqua! ❤

      I agree, the second half dragged a bit, and there were a few scenes that were highly unrealistic. The characters and the romance were definitely what saved the book for me. & I'm right there with you!! It's going to be great. :')

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally agree! I was looking forward to this book so much, and although the adorable romance definitely delivered, the pacing was a little too slow for my taste. despite all the action going on, I wasn’t *that* invested in the plot. (the ending was everything though!!)

    also felicity was such a darling, I literally cannot wait until her book comes out! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I completely agree with you on the plot! They blurbed it as being an “exciting adventure” (or something), but what I got was kind of a watered-down version of that? The fantasy elements were also rather random and confusing. I did adore Monty and Percy, though! ❤ I'm all for bratty characters who grow on you over the course of a story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Random and confusing describes it really well! Ahh YES, Monty and Percy were so, so adorable, I was rooting for them the entire time. And Monty definitely made it very easy to be likable, despite his oftentimes frustrating behavior.

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Kathy! 😊💗

      Like

  5. Amazing Review babe💕!, I’m excited to read it and see if it works for me. I understand why you haven’t given it a full 4 stars, sometimes you just feel that something has been missing and I totally get it. Even so, I’m glad you enjoyed it. 😄😄

    Liked by 1 person

  6. omg i love this bc actually?? the silliness of the plot, the kind of weird & at times rushed pacing, the way sth NEW was ALWAYS happening just when u finally thought we will get to rest…….. that was my fav part of the book!! i can totally see why u wouldn’t like this aspect all that much tho!
    and yeah, i agree w u on monty and percy, with my whole gay heart!!! i love those sweet idiots so much, i WOULD die for them !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh don’t hate me, Anna, but it felt a little bit ridiculous to me at times, haha. And I detached from the storyline a few times as well. 🙈

      THEY MADE MY SOUL LIGHT UP WITH THEIR PRECIOUSNESS, I ADORE THEM SO MUCH & please them have their cameo in Felicity’s book, Mackenzi!! 💘

      Liked by 1 person

      1. nah i can totally see where ur coming from w this!! like it’s definitely not the kind of ridiculousness for everyone!

        i still cannot believe we got that happy ending for them?? like for the last 40% of the book or sth i was hoping THIS EXACT thing would happen and at the same time i was SURE it wouldn’t……… and then!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Awesome review, Lily! I haven’t read this book but it sounds so charming and it sounds like a perfect light summer read. Hopefully I’ll be able to get to it despite the crushing weight of my current TBR.

    I really love characters that are flawed in some way, particularly when an author is skilled enough to allow them to grow and devlop throughout the book realistically. It sounds like this is what happened with Monty which is great to see.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Libby! 🌷 I really hope you get around to reading it, it’s so adorable and I fangirled so much. & I feel the exact same way, great character development takes a lot of skill, and is always amazing to read in a book.

      Thank you for your lovely comment. 💗

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Nice review, Lily! Historical fiction is awesome, but I don’t read it nearly as much as I want to. I’ll have to pick this book up before the sequel comes out 🙂.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve read it, but like you said, there was something missing. It was fun while it lasted but it was still underwhelming, esp after all the hype. I liked Monty too but he didn’t stand out for me. I am planning to read the sequel because Felicity was reallly cool and badass!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Really great review! I’ve heard so many wonderful things about this book but unsure if I’ll like it myself, so I think I’m going to see if a local library has a copy of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hot mess characters are the best, lmao. I love this review, Lily! I’ve been meaning to read this book for a while so I think I’ll give it a shot!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great review, Lily! I’m so glad you enjoyed this book – I feel like a LOT of my blogging friends have read and enjoyed it, I feel a little bit left out haha. It sounds like such a great book though and the characters especially sound amazing! I’m sorry to hear you lost a bit of your interest in the plot halfway through, but glad that didn’t prevent you from rating this well 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I completely agree with your review. I liked the concept of the book but also found the pacing to be slow, and I remember it did take me a while to read. Still interested in reading the next book and I’m pretty sure that Felicity is the main character!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I think it’s such a shame when you like the characters and the pairing in a book but the plot and pacing just aren’t up to the part. I haven’t read this one myself yet, but I think I will someday since so many bloggers have liked it. Fun books, even if they don’t provide that certain extra, can be a nice way to just keep reading and getting towards your Goodreads goal as well, I think haha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know! That’s the worst. I wish the storyline could have been more captivating and well-plotted, but yesss, you can definitely breeze through this one in a few hours. I hope you’ll enjoy it, when you pick it up! 🙂

      Also, haha I see you’re keeping your eyes on your Goodreads goal, Kat. 👏🏻

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Great review, Lily! I love historical fiction. I think I may give this one a try. BTW, have you read My Lady Jane? It’s not exactly historical fiction, but it has elements of it. It’s a very funny read. I definitely recommend it. 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Rachel! 💓

      Historical fiction is always a hit-or-miss for me, but the characters & the romance were what made me like this one a lot. And thanks for the recommendation! My Lady Jane is on my TBR, but it was never a priority so far … I may have to make it one. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  16. OMG YES. JUST YES. ISN’T PERCY JUST A. JUST A GEM REALLY. I think my heart just exploded a little when you were talking about Percy because yes, he’s a ray of sunshine that is just pure amazingness/warm-heartedness/sweetness/cuteness/ OH MY GOD ALL THE FEELS ARE COMING BACK AND IM REMEMBERING THE KISS AT THE PARTY AND OH GOD MAKE THE FEELS STOP BUT PLEASE MAY THEY NEVER STOP.

    OAY THIS REVIEW WAS SO GOOD IM JUST GOING TO GO AND HAVE MY HEART ATTACK QUIETLY NOW.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HE’S SUCH A SMOL BEAN, I LOVE HIM. And ahhh Lu, you’re making me want to re-read this book right now!! But also, remember their first kiss, it was so swoon-worthy as well. 💓💓

      AHHH THANK YOU, YOU ARE TOO KIND, BUT PLEASE DON’T (but in case you do, I know first aid!!).

      Liked by 1 person

  17. It’s been QUITE some time since I read historical fiction, but I did buy this a few months ago and need to read it soon! The length is really daunting, but I can’t wait to meet Monty and Percy, who everyone seems to love!!! Thanks for the warning about the pacing. ♥

    – Aimee @ Aimee, Always

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Great review! I agree, the plot didn’t interest me as much after about the halfway mark or so, but I really do love the characters, so I will be continuing with this series 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  19. OH MY GOSHHH
    MY OTP MY OTP
    i completely agree about the plot, imagine if we had monty and percy in an amazing plot???? what if jk rolwing wrote the plot we just shuffled monty and percy in as the MCs????????
    SKLDFJLDSKJFLDS my new religion woudl be mackenzi lee c:
    but monty and percy invented best friendship and THE SCENE IN WHICH THEY HAVE THEIR FIRST KISS
    help
    i’m in love
    *rushes to reread*

    Like

    1. YES THEY ARE ONE OF MY OTPS AS WELL & their first kiss melted my heart, I was a puddle of adoration. 😭💘

      I … don’t have the fondest feelings for J.K. Rowling anymore, though. :”)

      Malanie!! ARE YOU REALLY GOING TO RE-READ THIS BOOK, BC I SUPPORT THIS DECISION 1000%.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I agree with a lot of things that you wrote in the review, even if, overall, my thoughts about this one are a little bit more on the negative side. It’s not that it was a bad book, per se, but I was expecting a lot from it and, in the end, I was disappointed by it. I lost interest in the plot after a while and for me, it took a while before warming to Monty and Percy as a couple. So I am not interested in the second book, even if Felicity was an interesting character, and I hope you would enjoy it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this as much as I did, Susy! I 100% see where you’re coming from, though, and it was the same for me re: the plot, but I think what “saved” this book for me was really how much I loved the characters right away.

      Thank you so much, Susy! 💗

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I actually couldn’t finish this book. I think I gave it a fair shot, since I was in the mood for it (or so I thought), but I was not at all entertained, mostly because the main character got on my nerves, but I did love his sidekick and sister. Hmm, I may purchase it to reread it if it’s on sale on Book Outlet though. What a fantastically enthusiastic review!! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this book, Lola. :/ But I understand where you’re coming from, and if I’m annoyed by the main character in a book it’s hard for me to enjoy a book as well. I hope you like it more, if you decide to give it a second chance, though! Definitely let me know, if you do. 😊

      And thank you! 💗

      Like

  22. Fantastic review! I generally don’t like historical fiction, but this one totally won me over. Although I did like this a bit more than you did, I agree with everything. Monty and Percy made the book for me, so I wasn’t that bothered with the plot being slightly underwhelming. I am really looking forward to the sequel!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! 💛

      I’m so happy to hear you loved it, especially since it’s not your preferred genre. Monty & Percy were definitely the highlight of this book for me. Here’s to hoping the sequel will live up to our expectations. ✨

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Aurora! 💕

      They’re adorable & I really hope we’ll get to see more of them in Felicity’s book! Though I’m super excited to get to read about her going on her own adventures, like you said. ☺️

      Like

  23. I think this is the lowest rating I’ve seen on this book! Ha ha! It’s been on my TBR list for a while and I REALLY need to get to it. I can’t totally understand your dilemma though, story and pacing are SO IMPORTANT! Thanks for the great review. It’s nice to have thoughts on this book that sent just “IT’S PERFECT!”

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m ALSO viewed as a critical reader! I had one author, who’s book I’m reading, tell me she’s SCARED of me!! 😂😂😂 I had to explain that I’m nice, I just feel like 5 stars (being the highest) should be the absolute be all and end all of books, so I don’t like throwing it around! 😅

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ohh that hasn’t happened to me, thankfully! (Which author was it?) I always try to be gracious in my reviews, even if every now and then I still end up wondering if I’m too critical, and should be more lenient with my ratings. But I want to stay genuine in the end, you know?

          And ahh what are some books you’ve five-starred?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. The author who tols me she was scared was Jina S Bazzar. She wrote “Heir of Ashes”, I’m reading is right now and SO FAR, SO GOOD! She’s such a sweetheart!
            I completely agree with being honest. I’d rather stay true to what I believe than pander to people’s feelings.
            Some of the books I’ve given 5 stars to are
            “Never Never”
            “Ray Vs the Meaning of Life”
            “Horror in 100 Words”
            I n case you want to check out my reviews, here are the links
            https://thebookwormdrinketh.com/2018/02/17/never-say-never/
            https://thebookwormdrinketh.com/2018/05/02/blog-tour-ray-vs-the-meaning-of-life/
            https://thebookwormdrinketh.com/2018/03/09/horror-in-100-words/
            No pressure though! 😀

            Liked by 1 person

  24. Great review! I agree with your points; like, I loved the characters, but I do admit the plot meandered a bit halfway through, and the ending downright lost me. 😂 I love this book, but it definitely has its weaknesses!

    Liked by 1 person

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