Mackenzi Lee “The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue”

We step into the world of a spoiled brat who is not happy about the luxuries he has. He wants more, he wants total freedom.

Perfect book to tip the toe into world of historical fiction. It doesn’t make you fully wet but gives you an impression how it might be. Although it is set in more medieval times the language the author has used is very modern and easy to relate to for a reader not accustomed to historical fiction.

The first third of the book was light, fun and hilarious. It showed how living back then was so similar to living in a modern world but at the same time educational about the things we take for granted nowadays. For example toilets, the way we are treated with different illnesses and women in education. I like how this was fun and entertaining but at the same time I received a lot of new information about history which I usually find dull. The author managed to avoid info-dumping and laced all the tiny, often hillarious, facts between ohter things.

But this too became dull in the 2/3 of the book. All the fun lightheartedness went down the drain when huge self analyzing and “teaching-Monty-to-grow-up” started. It was important and it was good to see how he grew and the struggles Felicity and Percy dealt with but it quickly came to be boring and the pace slowed down almost to a full stop.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue brings upon the reader important question about how men have it easier being a douchebag than woman. Felicity worked really hard to be able to get tiniest bits of education and to not be shunned while Percy stomps on every rule and norm and is still rich with all the entitels coming with it.

Mackenzie gives us a character who is not all that lovable. He is far from perfect and during his own adventures gets everyone else into loads of trouble and that is not okay. And then there is his past. Violent authoritative father might explain why he is so self-absorbed and reckless but it is definetly not an excuse.

It is not the best of books but it definetly is not the worst. It is light and fun, educational and addresses many (maybe too many?) important issues like feminism, LGBTQI community problems, childhood abuse and health.

I would recommend it to everyone who wants a light and fun YA read that mildly touches deeper subjects.

Katharine Tegen Books, 2017

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Mirjam Kaun
Department of Estonian Literature

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