by Mackenzi Lee
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.
A queer playboy, a biracial chronically ill man, and a feminist wanna be doctor go on an adventure. No, this isn’t Lin-Manuel Miranda’s next musical (Okay, I kinda wish it was), but probably one of my favourite reads so far this year, but also the book I needed after having had read the Black Witch (which there is no review here because I only got three chapters done and the disgust was too great for me to go any further. See my Goodreads for that mess) because this does everything that book tried to do, but did it well.
What I mean about this is, this book is filled with characters that were biased. It takes place in the 18th century. AKA this book had characters that were racist, sexist, ableist, and homophobic. How this was done was the fact that characters that spoke those things were quickly shut down. That’s how you keep a book from becoming biggoted, and it’s part of why I really needed this book and why I love it. It was able to stay true to the time and the fact that such things happened, but also called it out as wrong and then gave proof to why. More than once it was the women that came to the rescue of the men, the women played roles that changed everything and wasn’t just going along with the adventure. I admit, I feared that this book would become a ‘magic cure’ story when it came to the illness that one of characters has. I’ve read so many of those and so many stories where people are simply their illness and disabilities. I’ve read stories where its a changeable as clothes. As someone with a disability and a chronic illness, it’s not that simply. Those stories hurt and are ridiculously harmful. So it was a relief that this book didn’t fallow that path. I was ridiculously grateful for it.
Honestly, this book was of course more than well written for all parties without being insulting, but there was adventure. That adventure truly was fun. It wasn’t just a story of overcoming, of love and becoming a better person, it’s a real adventure. Nothing goes as plan, everything is chaos and it was a lot of fun to read. I don’t think I’ve read a book that focuses on the adventure like it does other aspects this well. The author balanced the two perfectly.
The writing of this book was really well done. I honestly didn’t feel like there was any section that got boring or dull that often. If I did, it didn’t last long, thankfully. I really felt like it was a joy to just read and even got my creative juices going. It was one of those reads that makes you want to write yourself or at least dream of it.
Like I said, this book was one of my favourites. I really do recommend it for readers. My only warning is this book does talk about abuse. It’s a theme that comes up a bit and effects the main character a lot in his story arch. So here’s a warning about that. I also want to mention that yes, this book does have characters that are racist, sexist, ableist, and homophobic. This book DOES correct that, but if you don’t want to read about those themes, that’s understandable.
Rating: 5 stars