If you’ve been here for a while, you might remember that one of my very first posts of 2017 was an announcement saying reviews would no longer be posted on my blog. If you’re one of those people, you’re likely confused.
Let me explain.
I’ve been perusing other blogs for inspiration on certain things that I’ve got planned for my own, and I saw a good number of reviews. I know each blogger will do their own thing, and that’s fine, but it got me thinking: can I do that too? Now that school is out of the way, I’m going to give proper reviews* another try. There’s no guarantee that I’ll be able to stick with this, especially if I read as much as I hope to in the new year, but I’m going to do my best.
*By this I only mean that I want to write better, more thorough reviews than the ones I’ve been posting in Goodreads lately.
The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee
Goodreads challenge: 130/70
In the company of women like this—sharp-edged as raw diamonds but with soft hands and hearts, not strong in spite of anything but powerful because of everything—I feel invincible. Every chink and rut and battering wind has made us tough and brave and impossible to strike down. We are made of mountains—or perhaps temples, with foundations that could outlast time itself.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue was one of my favorite reads of 2017, and I worried that this wouldn’t compare to its predecessor. Although I don’t think it’s better, it’s definitely just as enjoyable.
Felicity was an interesting character in the first book, and more so as the protagonist. I admired her fierceness and determination, and I liked that she gave herself pep talks, so to speak. In the beginning she had an obnoxious “I’m not like other girls” attitude and looked down on girls that preferred ball gowns over books. However, as the story progressed, she rekindled an old friendship gone sour, and Johanna was feminine, smart, and brave. Johanna showed Felicity that girls didn’t have to fit in only one category. A+ execution in terms of both Felicity’s character development and the unique use of this usually irritating trope.
I must say, though, that the other characters took the cake. I loved Johanna and Sim so much. The former is a botanist that loves ball gowns, and the latter is a sapphic hijabi pirate of color that won’t hesitate to stab you. Combine the two of them with Felicity’s stubborn aromantic asexual self, and you’ve potentially got another golden trio.
To answer the most important questions, yes, Monty and Percy do appear in this novel, and yes, it’s as amazing and amusing as you remember. They’re adorable and their dynamic with Felicity is pure gold.
and we were all determined to get you out of whatever trouble you had so determinedly gotten yourself into. Don’t look so surprised. We’d move heaven and earth for you. Unless of course there is any actual heavy lifting involved, in which case, I’ll abstain, but don’t believe that in any way tarnishes the sentiment.
If I hadn’t been in a class full of other students taking a Spanish final, I would’ve laughed out loud at that. I love Monty so much.
There were two things I didn’t like. The first one is more personal rather than truly critical, and it refers to the very first chapter. Felicity’s unrequited lover* accidentally cuts off the tip of one finger. I’m squeamish, so you can see how the details might not go over well with me.
*Is that right? He loves Felicity but she’s not interested in him as anything more than a friend.
Secondly, I don’t think the stakes were as high in this novel as they were in The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. While I was engrossed in this story, for me, it didn’t have that same unputdownable quality. I wanted to know what happened next, but I didn’t need to know, if that’s any clarification. There wasn’t as much tension.
I liked the acknowledgement of the characters’ privilege throughout the novel. Although it’s not as prevalent as other aspects, Felicity is working through the internalized homomisia that’s been engrained in her. Something that is prevalent, especially in the last third of the novel, is the discussion of colonialism.
Sim and her family are trying to make a place for themselves in the economy and the world, but both have the odds stacked against them. They’re also trying to protect the natural resources of their homeland. As Felicity and Johanna travel with Sim, escaping kidnappers and thwarting the plans of an aristocratic, drug-addicted man, they learn how terrible these issues are and how they indirectly would have added to the problem, had they gone through with their original plan. I’m being vague because this all occurs toward the end of the novel, but it’s a very mindful narrative.
All in all, The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy is a fun historical fiction story about women embracing their right to power, with a side of strong friendship, pirates, sea dragons, and the biggest, fluffiest good dog. While you could read this without reading The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, I recommend reading both, as together they’re truly a complete package. They’re as close to perfection as you can get in this world.
I’ll definitely be reading more of Mackenzi Lee’s work in the future.
Have you read this duology? If so, what did you think, and if not, do you plan to? I’d love to know!
Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a fabulous day/night!
Until next time…