Series: Guide #1
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on June 27, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Young Adult
Sexual Content: Kissing, references to sex
Reviewed by: Kate
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.
The only word I can think of to describe THE GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE is that it is a romp. A delightful, amusing romp through Europe, with bits of fantasy here and there. Definitely don't go into this one looking for a fantasy story, instead, suspend your disbelief for the alchemy tidbits and enjoy the ride.
Here is my one issue: Henry Montague, our hero (as it were) is kind of an ass. He annoyed me for about the first 300 pages of the book. As you read, you begin to understand why he is the way he is, a bit, but this does not change the fact that he is stubborn, frustrating, and at times, an idiot. Percy and Felicity are definitely my favorites in this one, not Henry. (So excited that the next installment in the series will feature Felicity!)
Other than Monty, though, this book has lots to recommend it. A mystery, highwaymen, pirates (!), a super-capable young woman who wants to be a doctor (Felicity), lots of discussions about privilege and what it means, general dramatics, scenes that had me rolling in laughter, and plenty of sarcastic quips. (My favorite: "God bless the book people for their boundless knowledge absorbed from having words instead of friends.") The ending was a bit open-ended for my taste, but it worked, in the context of the book.
Though it starts a little slow, do give THE GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE a chance to get going. You can't help but fall a little in love with Monty after his disaster at Versailles, and with Felicity after she stands the boys up when it comes to having a strong stomach, and Percy, well, just nearly all the time. This group is fun to follow around Europe and I wished I could be seeing the sights with them (minus the murderous highwaymen, of course). If you're looking for a book with some light fantasy, a bit of queer romance, and some laughs, definitely pick up THE GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRUTE.
- The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
- The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy
- For another book by this author, try THIS MONSTROUS THING.