Tag Archives: MacKenzi Lee

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

gentlemans-guide

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

Release date: June 27th 2017

4 stars

An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.
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.

Reading this as an e-arc then seeing the page count listed as over 500 pages was a bit surprising. I knew it was a long book but it didn’t feel like 500 pages. I was really drawn into the story. It was a slower pace but the characters and the banter and their adventure kept me completely engaged through the whole book. The dynamic between the three, Monty, Percy, and Felicity, was amazing and entertaining.

The story was completely Monty’s POV as he and his best friend/crush Percy embark on what was supposed to be their Grand Tour. It was supposed to be one last celebration before Monty took over his father’s estate and became a proper gentleman. With Monty’s track record his father decided to send a chaperone and they would also be escorting his little sister to a boarding school along the way. This ruined Monty’s plans of drinking and partying his way through Europe and his plans of flirting with Percy the whole time. There were times when I could understand everyone’s frustrations with Monty since he was very privileged and took for granted a lot of the opportunities he was afforded that Percy and Felicity were not but there was still sometimes quite charming about him, so it was easy to see why people would still flock to stay by his side.

I honestly would have been more than happy with simply reading about the adventures Monty, Percy, and Felicity got up to on their Grand Tour but I also really enjoyed the addition of them on the run after Monty made a reckless decision that turned their Tour into them being hunted through Europe. It put a strain on friendships, showed them in a new light to each other, and gave them all a chance to confront some issues that desperately needed confronting. And each time the people hunting them got closer, the pacing would pick up and I would find myself reading ever faster.

Between this one and This Monstrous Thing, I am really excited to see what Mackenzi Lee does next.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Waiting on Wednesday

New WoW

This is a feature started on Breaking the Spine that puts the spotlight on upcoming books.

This week’s pick is:

gentlemans-guide

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

Release date: June 20th 2017

Goodreads: An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.
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.
Witty, romantic, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a sumptuous romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.

Why I’m excited: I really loved MacKenzi Lee’s retelling of Frankenstein with This Monstrous Thing and I love the setting of this one already. Lee does relationships in all areas very well so I expect big things.

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Book Review: This Monstrous Thing by MacKenzi Lee

this monstrous thing

This Monstrous Thing

4 stars

In the year 1818, Alasdair Finch lives in a world where men have mechanical parts and live hidden away with only Shadow Boys, illegal mechanics, to care for them. When his older brother Oliver dies, Alasdair uses his knowledge to bring him back to life but the Oliver that returns is different, more of a monster than the brother Alasdair remembers. It seems like an impossible task to repair their relationship and keep Oliver safe from a town that already fears and hates Clockwork people but then the novel Frankenstein is published and Alasdair knows they’ll be lucky to make it out of Geneva alive.

October always puts me in the mood for creepy reads and this one seemed perfect for that. I love Frankenstein, historical settings, brotherly relationships, re-tellings, and this book promised all of that. And I got it.

Alasdair was a character that I could really emphasize with as all he wanted was to have his brother back. He wanted his family to be happy and whole and he was at least going to try to use his knowledge to bring Oliver back. He was getting constant pressure from his parents to be better and was living with so many huge secrets that it was surprising he never just snapped. He was really smart and likely could have gone on to do anything he wanted but his sense of family, duty, and guilt kept him in Geneva with his parents and hiding his brother.

The relationships in the book were absolutely fascinating. The main focus was the relationship between Alasdair and Oliver, comparing how they were before Oliver’s death and now that he had been brought back. There was so much anger, resentment, guilt, and fear but under it all was also the love that was so present in the flashbacks. There was the interesting relationship between Alasdair and Geisler, who was Oliver’s mentor and now offering to be one to Alasdair. He seemed to be keeping secrets and I never trusted him but I was hoping he was good for Alasdair’s sake. Another favourite was the developing friendship and maybe more between Alasdair and Geisler’s assistant Clemence.

The writing and setting were both dark, as was expected from reading the synopsis. It fit the overall story very well and the world that was created was interesting and a little scary. I really liked how Lee showed the different ways other cities outside Geneva reacted to the Clockwork Men and Shadow Boys, not everyone looked at them with disgust and fear, and how easily a small group full of fear and hate can latch onto something, in this case Frankenstein, for a reason why their views were right the whole time, and infect so many more people.

The action wasn’t fast-paced through the whole book but that didn’t make it slow or boring. There was the mystery of who had written Frankenstein, what was Geisler hiding, what was Alasdair hiding, what would Alasdair do with Oliver. So many questions that had to be answered along with the action scenes. It made for a fast and very enjoyable read.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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