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

I’ll be honest, this is not my usual genre. This book was recommended to me as a BISEXUAL TIME TRAVEL BOOK so obviously I immediately rushed to buy it in the first available format I could. Tragically, this is in actuality a bisexual HISTORICAL FICTION book, which is really nothing like bisexual time travel, a fact that resulted in much sadness and tears.

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I also made the quite frankly massive mistake of starting this as an audiobook (like I said, I leapt at the first available format), and was thoroughly convinced by chapter 2 that this book SUCKED. I am so very glad I eventually gave up on my 10 bucks or whatever it was I sank into that audiobook and just got the ebook from the library. Buddy, lemme tell you: this book… DOESN’T suck. At all.

The Gentleman’s Guide follows a duke’s son Monty, his sister Felicity, and his bestie/ dreamy unattainable heartthrob Percy on his international tour before he’s forced to stop being a drunk scallywag and settle down to manage the estate. Stuff goes… Badly.

This book really surprised me, actually, not only because I think historical fiction is unbearably dull but also because I genuinely thought this book was gonna be about some spoiled shitlord just going on his actual European tour. Not to spoil anything, but rest assured that this book does have a Real Plot and it is Exciting, Mysterious, and surprisingly Well-Paced. Seriously, this book is not boring for a second. There is exactly the right amount of time (i.e. not much at all) spent on dull, tedious, and/or romantic conversations, LOTS of action, awesome characters, and even some cool/ insightful Comments on Society. There is also a little bit of MAGIC, which kinda made up for the disappointing lack of time travel.

The main romantic relationship of The Gentleman’s Guide is a little predictable and frustrating at times, but on the whole I think these are two characters who really fit well together, and who the author actually manages to SHOW fit well together by like… having their FRIENDSHIP make sense, which, let’s be real, is unique and refreshing in YA romance. On top of that, I really adored the progression of Monty’s relationship with his sister and the buildup of Felicity’s character in general. Monty IS a shitlord, and I’m not sure his character development was as satisfying as other characters, but he still kinda pulled his big boy pants up by the end.

Thoroughly satisfying read, highly recommend. 4 big ol shiny stars for this bad boy.

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