Rick Riordan's Reviews > The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
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it was amazing

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

YA adventure, own voices queer rep.

I loved this novel, and not even just because one of the main characters is named Percy!

Set in the 1700s, it’s the story of Henry “Monty” Montague, who is embarking on his Grand Tour of Europe -- one last teenage year of wildness and oat-sewing before he is supposed to take over as his father’s heir and get down to the deadly boring business of being an adult.

If a year traveling around Europe sounds awesome to you, think again. For one thing, Monty has just gotten kicked out of university for having an affair with another young man. His father, after beating Monty severely, has warned him that he will come back from his Grand Tour ready to be a proper young gentleman or he will be disinherited and left penniless. Henry is given a strict chaperone who will make sure the trip is “educational.” Ugh.

To make matters worse, Monty’s younger sister Felicity is tagging along. She is every bit as headstrong and untraditional as Monty, which means they butt heads and get on each other’s nerves as only siblings can.

Then there’s Monty’s best friend Percy, a compassionate and gorgeous young man who was the product of his English father’s affair with a woman of African descent in the West Indies. Monty and Percy have grown up together and have always been close. The Grand Tour is meant to be their final year together before Monty comes home to run the estate and Percy goes off to law school in Holland.

The biggest issue: Monty has recently fallen madly and hopelessly in love with his best friend. He is afraid to say anything in case Percy doesn’t feel the same way. He is afraid to ruin his friendship. But he also can’t stand the idea of not saying anything and then never seeing Percy again. What’s a fellow to do?

We follow Monty, Percy and Felicity on their Grand Tour, which quickly goes off the rails in every conceivable way. There are scandals, highway robbers, mad scientists, pirates, evil nobles, daring escapes and impossible dilemmas. And of course, there is a twisting, turning, haunting love story as Henry struggles to let Percy know how he really feels.

So much to love about this book. Monty narrates the whole thing first person, and his voice is clever, funny, wry and as unabashedly bisexual as imaginable for a young man of the 18th Century. (Apollo from The Trials of Apollo would heartily approve of Monty’s observations on life and love.) Monty is not a perfect protagonist in many ways: He is sometimes arrogant, narcissistic, self-absorbed, and unmotivated to do anything besides drink, game and dream about Percy, but we never lose sympathy for him because he is so wounded, so unsure of himself and so determined to figure out how to come to terms with being in love.

Percy is a brilliant character as well. He struggles to make Monty understand what his life is like as a dark-skinned man in Europe. He cares about his friend, even when he is exasperated by Monty’s thick-headedness. Percy is also hiding a huge secret that affects how he sees Monty and his own future. He may not be going to law school at the end of their Grand Tour. The true is, in fact, much grimmer . . .

As for Felicity, Monty’s younger sister, she is chafing against the limitations placed upon her because of her gender. She wants to go to medical school and become a doctor, not to finishing school to be a proper lady. She resents that her brother gets all the advantages and seems to just throw them away. But as their adventures begin, Felicity will find unexpected ways to shine.

This book works as a love story, but it is also a rollicking adventure that includes a great mystery. It tackles issues like gender, race, sexuality, disability and physical abuse in the 1700s without ever losing steam or feeling preachy. It raises thorny questions that have no easy answers. Readers will be rooting for Monty, Percy and Felicity, but at times it may seem impossible that the threesome will reach their individual goals for happiness when so much is against them. I would highly recommend this book if you like reads such as THE SONG OF ACHILLES or ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE.

I didn’t want to leave these characters behind. Fortunately there is a sequel, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY, following the adventures of Felicity. Sign me up!
(I discovered this book thanks to the site Queer Books for Teens.)
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
January 31, 2019 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-38 of 38 (38 new)

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Bookworm Erica This book is amazing

Fangirl95 I loved this book so much!

message 3: by abookreader (new)

abookreader is this good for a 6th grader?
Also i love all your books! read everything from Purcy Jackson series to the 9 worlds.
five stars for everything!

Sophie Replying to Seraphina it really depends on your maturity, i read this book as a seventh grader but i have also read mature books in the past. So it really depends on you

devyn_amidala_kenobi yay!!! I'm so glad you liked it! It's one of my favorite books. The writing is phenomenal, and the humor actually made me laugh out loud (quite a feat). Highly recommend this one. Love seeing author reviews to other authors!

Joseph Loved it. Can't wait to read the 2nd novel.

message 7: by Maddy (new)

Maddy Wow I've been thinking about reading this for a while, now I definetly have to.

Filipa Such a lovely review ! I absolutely adore this book :)

message 9: by Mafer (new) - added it

Mafer I really enjoyed this book when I read it and I'm very happy that you liked it :)

message 10: by Lynda (new)

Lynda Love this book so much

message 11: by black bird (new)

black bird eeerrrrrrr still reading trials of apollo

message 12: by Prajikta Solanki (new)

Prajikta Solanki worst book

message 13: by JoemanPlayz (new)

JoemanPlayz I want to read this now because there's a character named Percy. Though I'll still like Riorden's Percy better, always.

Wait... this isn't Instagram I love your books Rick!

message 16: by Loretta Crooks (new)

Loretta Crooks rick reardon is gving reviews on my goodreads page. please stop. Loretta Crooks

message 17: by Bennett Choi (new)

Bennett Choi I just think he is one of the best author.But I personaly didn't know that this book has so much imformation. Thanks, I could an A plus! Now a few questions come in mind about him. I think the author interviewed him. Or did he? Did he copy or learn from the internet? But thanks anyway. This book was helpful to me.

message 18: by Mariah (new) - added it

Mariah Turns out that, on top of writing amazing books, Uncle Rick writes reviews that make a book jump to the top of your TBR list in the time that if takes you to read said review. Can't wait for Tyrant's Tomb.

message 19: by Celaena (new) - added it

Celaena Woods Percy is everywhere😂💙

Shining Knight should i read this book

Glyn Ashworth-Cobban (Updates) Great Review!

message 22: by Curtis wei (new)

Curtis wei write another book aboutbpercy jackson plspls

message 23: by Curtis wei (new)

Curtis wei this isb aazong

message 24: by Anna (new)

Anna Lord help us all 🤦🏻‍♀️

Robo Invention0.1 - Al NICE....

message 26: by Cj (new)

Cj hi mr.riordan just wanted to say that you are an amazing auther and your books are amaxing

message 27: by Debby Mate (new)

Debby Mate I hate it I hate it I hate it I hate it I hate it

message 28: by dustin (new)

dustin Ayo Rick u wrote a whole essay

Samus Yeeticus the square root of hot dog is super caiyan popcorn

Ruthie the book adict why don' t you read any books like Harry Potter or graphic novels nowadays?

Ruthie the book adict I also really like your books!

MaddieTheBookOwl I really want to read this book you make it sound so good!!!! And please write another series with Percy as the main character again

nicole rick has taste

Rendi🦋 R FANCY SEEING YOU HERE! I love that you loved this book as much as I did. Here’s to the sequel🥂

message 35: by Kindleda (new)

Kindleda good

message 36: by Kindleda (new)

Kindleda k

message 37: by Maira Dahiya (new)

Maira Dahiya ®®®®®®®®®®®®®®®®©©©©©©©©©©©©™™™™™™™™™™™™™ should i read this what is the age group?

Robo Invention0.1 - Al Book sucks.Totally.Zero stars

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