I was worried that Vestal Virgin would read too scholarly or dry, given the amount of research the author put into crafting this novel. Not only were my fears unfounded, but the rich detail and careful construction of the suspenseful plot actually made the novel go one stop past the “great book” designation.
Mind you, I have no idea if the factual information laced throughout the story is accurate but the author deftly wove the information in with such a light hand that it felt natural and true. The characters are fully-fleshed and even the ones I disliked for their actions I still managed to feel compassion for at times. Tyrpak not only wrote believable, multi-faceted characters, she breathed life into them with refreshing complexity.
Reading the last lines were a little bit like watching the last epidose of a long-favored show. Afterwords I felt spent, contemplative and sad to see it end. Even now, writing this review a few days later, I find myself pausing to think about the Tyrant and the Virgin and the ways their lives intertwined. Neurosis, depravity, religion, love, faith and betrayal- it’s all in this book.
My first thought upon finishing Vestal Virgin was just a simple, sated “Wow” – then I kicked back and thought about the book for a good while. Great books do that to me. They cling to my skin, invade my neurons and poke at my emotions. I know without a doubt that Vestal Virgin is one of those rare books that will stay with me for a long time and for that reason I will certainly be on the lookout for Tyrpak’s next novel!