The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Published by: Katherine Tegen Books
Pub Date: June 27, 2017
Format: arc | Source: borrowed
Genres: young adult, historical fiction, LGBTQ+
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.
This was different from what I expected but I enjoyed it a lot! Gentleman’s Guide is compulsively readable with winsome characters that have a lot more depth than you might expect. In general, the story was deeper and a little more intense than I was led to believe. I really loved Felicity and I did love Henry and Percy together, their friendship and their something more. It’s a wonderfully diverse book with a bisexual main character and a half black gay love interest; I also believe the author mentioned that Felicity was asexual. As far as I’ve heard, the rep is all handled respectfully. I loved the attention to historical detail and the inclusion of those often overlooked by history. I didn’t connect emotionally as much as I would have liked and the mystery was a bit of a dud for me, but it’s very much a book worth reading! It’s funny, charming, and thought provoking, and the last chapter is delightful 😀
The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth May
Series: The Falconer #3
Published by: Chronicle Books
Pub Date: June 13, 2017
Format: e-arc | Source: NetGalley
Genres: young adult, historical fiction, fantasy, steampunk
The long-awaited final book in the Falconer trilogy is an imaginative tour-de-force that will thrill fans of the series. Aileana Kameron, resurrected by ancient fae magic, returns to the world she once knew with no memory of her past and with dangerous powers she struggles to control. Desperate to break the curse that pits two factions of the fae against each other in a struggle that will decide the fate of the human and fae worlds, her only hope is hidden in an ancient book guarded by the legendary Morrigan, a faery of immense power and cruelty. To save the world and the people she loves, Aileana must learn to harness her dark new powers even as they are slowly destroying her. Packed with immersive detail, action, romance, and fae lore, and publishing simultaneously in the UK, The Fallen Kingdom brings the Falconer’s story to an epic and unforgettable conclusion.
The Fallen Kingdom was a breathless adventure, racing from one point to the next by grace of the need to avert catastrophe. There was a tight timeline for the characters and that lent an aura of tension and crushingly high stakes to the story. It’s difficult to talk about this book because of spoilers, so suffice to say I really enjoyed the conclusion of this brilliant and underrated trilogy. So much emotion is packed into every page and there are moments where I really, truly cannot see how our protagonists will win the day or even survive. It’s rare to find a book where the stakes feel that genuinely high, where there are often brutal consequences. But there’s also wry humor and romance, which lightens the heaviness. I love how Scottish the series is and the touch of steampunk mixed with the fairy lore creatures a unique atmosphere. Kiaran and Aileana are a ship to end all ships, the Morrigan is a terrifying cruel villain, and Sorcha becomes a villain with dimensions. I loved the flashbacks. If you’ve loved the series up to this point, you won’t be disappointed. I had a few quibbles and didn’t always feel fully engaged but this is one conclusion that doesn’t disappoint. I wish more people would read the series and I can’t wait to read whatever Elizabeth May writes next!
Are these two books on your June TBR? What underrated series do you love?