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

Goodreads Book Blurb:

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.

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My Review:

waste of time:
1/5

Henry is a deeply unlikeable protagonist, and not in a fun, hate-to-love kind of way. Self-centred, rude, ignorant, and every other ugly personality trait you could name. He reads more as a 13-year-old than an 18-year-old and considering all of the worldly experience he claims to have, he is incredibly close-minded and basically just dumb. He doesn’t seem to understand what his actions are saying about who he is as a person despite the fact that it blows up in his face over and over again ad nauseam.

Percy is a slightly more likeable character, but only slightly. And I think it’s mostly just because he’s a lot quieter and has the whole underdog narrative going for him.

The only saving grace here is Felicity. She made far too few appearances but each time she was intelligent, thoughtful, and took charge. I mostly kept reading because I’m pretty sure the second book in the series is about her and I assumed I should probably finish this one before starting that.

Honestly, this story had so much potential. Highwaymen and alchemy and piracy… throw in the whole LGBTQ+/YA genres and I was primed to love it. But Henry dragged the whole thing down to sit in the smouldering ruins of his terrible personality. Percy deserves better. Felicity most definitely deserves better. We all deserve better.

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