Tuesday, 28 November 2017

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

''I am thinking that today we are leaving on our Grand Tour', I reply, 'And I'm not going to waste any of it.''


I finished this book recently and it says a lot that I didn't have much feels by the ending, which was clearly meant to make me emotional. Oh well. I stuck with it because I was curious in a morbid how can you tie up something so oddly mismatched -sort of manner. It wasn't a terrible book, just... not that good for me.

Points for the well-read audiobook narrated by Christian Coulson. To me, he was Monty, and everyone else along the way. I'd absolutely read other things by him if I didn't find the idea of Monty reading something else so strange. Seriously, narrating audiobooks is a talent we should give Academy Awards and the such for.

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (shall I just call it Guide for short from here on?) is set in the 1700s, where Henry 'Monty' Montague, son to a lord, is going to have a Grand Tour with his best friend and secret love, Percy, before they're separated from one another. Yes, it's a LGBT book and yes, it's on the back cover so I can tell you that. Actually, Monty is bisexual and that's cool because there's generally not enough representation et cetera, et cetera.

Anyway, the Grand Tour starts quite promisingly (even after his sister Felicity and a companion nominated by his father tag along), but then they end up in possession of something they definitely shouldn't have and have to flee through several European countries. And it gets weird. As in, around 40% it sidesteps into a weird side plot that turns out to be the actual plot, and I have to admit it wasn't what I wanted from this book. The story also felt long (I think it's over 500 pages / 10 hours but it felt like much more, which is never good), probably because I was so floored by the new plot that was apparently the main one.

Guide is very clearly something I like to call 'Europe written by Americans'. What does that mean, you ask? It's when you read a book, watch a movie or anything of the sort in which the characters are in awe of their European surroundings, saying Paris in the dreamy tone you would use for filet mignon or something. Written with an admiration I found so foreign it took me ten minutes to decide the author could only be American. And it's a bit annoying, to be honest, because it makes the Europe seem unrealistic, nothing like the continent I've come to know.

The relationship between Monty and Percy was just as cute as it was incredibly predictable. There were very few things I couldn't have seen coming from the very beginning, and I can't decide if that means I actually got what I set out to read or if it was just a good old-fashioned flaw.

On the other hand, there is a sequel coming out next year from Felicity's point of view, with girl pirates and all, and it would be completely unlike me to miss it.

For the Helmet 2017 reading challenge... eh, you know the drill by now, surely. I need to step up my game to find those couple of missing books at this rate.


  1. "saying Paris in the dreamy tone you would use for filet mignon"
    That was hilarious ; )
    Your own joke or someone elses?