Short Review #38: The Maidens by Alex Michaelides (2021)

Rating: 4 out of 5 ⭐️
Title: The Maidens: A Novel
Author: Alex Michaelides
Published: 2021 (Celadon Books, Audible Audiobook)
Pages: 9 hrs 19 min (audiobook)
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Mythology, Suspense, Audiobook
CW: Murder, Death, Childhood Abuse, Grief, Mental Health Issues, Violence

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Hello and happy Sunday! I hope everyone is having a satisfactory end to their week. I did so by finishing The Maidens by Alex Michaelides on Audible Audiobook. I have definitely slowed down on the audiobooks and upped my physical book reading material. This is mostly due to being less inclined to listen to audiobooks as I’m doing my daily tasks or during my drives to/from work. I’m on a music listening trend right now… and most likely itching towards a podcast kick before I resume my audiobook kick. Anyways, after reading The Maidens, I was totally intrigued and pressed for more by the end.

“‘Love isn’t conditional’, Ruth said. ‘It’s not dependent on jumping through hoops to please someone—and always failing. You can’t love someone if you’re afraid of them, Mariana. I know it’s hard to hear. It’s a kind of blindness—but unless you wake up and see clearly, it will persist throughout your whole life, affecting how you see yourself, and others too'” – Alex Michaelides, The Maidens

Mariana Andros is an intelligent group therapist who is still reeling from a personal tragedy when she receives news her niece, Zoe’s, best friend has been brutally murdered at Cambridge, where her niece is also attending university. Mariana is convinced the murderer is the charming Edward Fosca, a Greek Tragedy professor who is notoriously popular with students and is the leader of a campus society of women called The Maidens, named after the mythos. Mariana stays to help investigate the murder using her psychoanalyzing specialties as a favor to Zoe, who is like Mariana’s own daughter. Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca is the killer grows, and after another murder takes place she is left questioning what is true and what might be more nefarious than Mariana is prepared for. The Maidens is a slow thriller that builds and builds through suspense and conversation.

“Reading about life was no preparation for living it” – Alex Michaelides, The Maidens

I was more captivated by The Maidens than I thought I was going to be. I have not read Michaelides’ other hit novel, The Silent Patient, but I know that one was also beloved by thriller fans. Michaelides writing style really impressed me. And as I’ve been saying in my reviews recently, sometimes I get really tired of the cheesiness of thriller novel’s twists, especially in recent publications. But The Maidens‘ twists did not feel forced, and the progression to direct the readers attention was really masterfully done. The characters were also beautifully described, and I felt as though I knew them well as I read. The psychology topics were very interesting as well, and the author’s perspective felt very informed. Of course, the ending had to have a little cheesiness, but the turnout was much more satisfying.

Don’t glorify the events of your life and try to give them meaning. There is no meaning. Life means nothing. Death means nothing. But she didn’t always think that way” – Alex Michaelides, The Maidens

Why should you read this book? If you enjoy clever and slow thrillers with supernatural topics and ethereal psychoanalyses, this is the book for you. I read other reviews with criticisms that the ending was not very satisfying, but I actually thought the opposite. My opinion was that this novel had more closing than some other thrillers receive. Definitely pick this one up if you’re looking for a good end-of-summer thriller! I also enjoyed the narration and the narrator’s voice over audiobook, and I had no issues following along.

I give this one a 4 out of 5!


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