Status : Read from July 30 to Aug 06, 2015
Format : Kindle Edition
My rating: /5
Author: Callista Hunter
Olivia is a sixteen-year-old Vestal Virgin, a happy devotee of her beloved goddess Vesta in her home nation of Parcae. But when her faith in Vesta is shaken, Olivia illegally experiments with her own divine power, making a discovery that could save her country from war – if she’s brave enough to share it.
After an accidental revelation proves Vesta is fake, Olivia and her fellow Virgins are tempted by a charismatic academy boy, Cassius, to invoke the real gods. Although they risk death if they are discovered, Olivia and her friends test their skills in secret experiments. But their games take an unexpected turn when flighty blonde Lucia reveals surprisingly deadly powers.
Gaius, a brilliant military student, must protect the girls and plan for war against an enemy nation while ignoring his growing attachment to Olivia. As a Vestal Virgin she has taken a holy vow of chastity, and the consequences of breaking it are severe.
This was a joy read. I enjoyed reading it. The beginning was bit slow describing the daily temple duties of Olivia and her friends Marta and Lucia. Olivia is a 16 year old Vestal Virgin as her friends and they are devotees of the Goddess Vesta. Vesta is the Goddess of hearth, home and family. Vesta is said to exist only as flame and has no body. It is believed that the holy flame is unquenchable. But Olivia accidentally finds out that the sacred flame is a hoax. The last six years of her devotion, faith and the sacrifices she had done to the holy flame is shaken. She needs an explanation.
Cassius, is an academy boy, comes in their aid to help them understand the matter. He tells them the story how Goddess Vesta came into existence. He tests the skills of these girls with secret experiments in growing plants. During one such time, Lucia revels her deadly powers by invoking Gods. In the meantime the Selanthi have declared war in the most offensive way possible. And their army stands at a ratio of 5:3 as compared to Parcaeans army.
Gaius is a military student, and he is angry on Cassius for putting the lives of these girls in a greater risk. As invoking Gods by females is a crime and the consequence is certain death. But when Gaius sees the powers the girls possess, he makes a different plan for these girls. He takes them as his students and starts their war ready training. In this process he finds out, that only women can make the cannon ball fly in a high arc that can destroy the enemy ships. As for this they need to invoke Goddess Diana, Goddess of hunt, moon and childbirth. Diana is a virgin goddess and will listen only to virgin girls.
Now, he takes a decision that to save their country from Selanthi’s war, they will start recruiting as many girls as possible and start training them in war affairs and now to use the weapons and invoke gods. Though this is highly illegal. He is successful in convincing the flamens and the pontiffs that this is the need of the time, however illegal this might be. Olivia’s father abandons her from their family home for being a part of an illegal act and invoking the gods.
So the girl’s army starts materializing with hundreds of virgins joining in every day. Within a short span the war is declared. But the Selanthi’s had to face a defeat against the women power of Parcaeans. Olivia and Lucia turns into celebrities. The lady archers turn into national heroes. The popularity of Olivia and Lucia keeps growing among the Parcaeans women as they were known as the girls who experimented and discovered Diana’s powers.
But their popularity among the women is becoming dangerous to the pontiff’s. The pontiff’s plans to make them look corrupted as vestal virgin among the public and wants to prosecute them both. Gaius was present when all these decision was taken against the two girls. He does not favour this and takes an extreme step to protect the girls. He pays huge money to get Olivia released from her vestal duties and takes her in his custody and marries her. Then he escapes with Olivia to a hide out for some time. In the meantime Cassius helps Lucia to escape. Unfortunately, Lucia returns back to the vestal home and is on the prosecution dice with hundreds of people around to see her get punished.
With the turn of events, the prosecution stops. Olivia, Lucia and Marta are safe. Olivia is happily married to Gaius. And as Lucia takes in charge of her responsibilities, she makes some good reforms in the society and in the lives of vestal virgins.
This book was a happy read. Everything is well, if it ends well. The description of the war strategy and Olivia using her presence of mind to defeat the Selanthi army is really good. Reader will enjoy the sarcasm dialogue exchange between Gaius and Cassius. The cat and mice fight between Olivia and Gaius and finally Gaius confession of his love for Olivia is also enjoyable. The one thing I liked about this book is that the main character in the book is not portrayed as the most good looking or charming person as compared with other books. Instead, Lucia was the most good looking and flirting character in the book. Gaius was arrogant and never tried to please any girl. Even he never tried to please Olivia whom he loved secretly and at times was very rude to her.