Thank you Celadon Books for the gifted copy of The Maidens by Alex Michealides, out 6/15, in exchange for an honest review. #partner
I was elated when I heard that Alex Michaelides was releasing his second novel because The Silent Patient is one of my all time favorite psychological thrillers. (That twist tho....I'm STILL not over it.) When Celadon sent me a gifted ARC of The Maidens, I practically squealed opening the mailbox. The Maidens is one of my most highly anticipated releases of 2021, so I felt honored to receive a copy. While this one did not exceed Michaelides' debut novel, I enjoyed it and found it enthralling, dark, and vengeful. Just my taste :)
Mariana Andros is a group therapist who finds herself in a psuedo murder investigation at Cambridge University. Her niece attends college there and tells Mariana that girls in her class are being found dead, in mysterious settings. Mariana finds herself deeply wrapped up in the investigation and focused solely on one professor, Edward Fosca. He seems to have his female students entranced with his charismatic charm and even has a small group of secret society students he deems "The Maidens." As Mariana works to uncover what is happening to these women, she finds herself sliding deeper and deeper into her own past demons.
What I loved: Short chapters that kept the pace of the book flowing quickly
The broody/moody setting at Cambridge University-I honestly felt like the university was a standalone character because it played so much into the storyline. This author can write a sense of place like no ones business. I felt transported to Cambridge and was entranced with it's sinister beauty.
The way Michaelides merges Greek mythology and mental health into his novels. He seems to have a thing for writing about therapists, but I am here for it. And I love the touches of Greek mythology that intertwine with his stories. Michaelides was born and raised in Cyprus and I can't help but assume that is what inspires him to incorporate this ancient literature into his thrillers.
What I didn't love: To be honest, I was waiting for that crazy "Silent Patient" twist, up until the very last sentence and was a little disappointed we didn't get it. There are a lot of red herrings in this book that lead you astray and I was surprised when the truth came out, but it wasn't as earth shattering as the twist on The Silent Patient. My thoughts? I think that book was just so damn good as a debut novel, that it's hard to come out with a second novel that rivals it.
Ultimately, I enjoyed The Maidens, but don't go into this one with "The Silent Patient expectations" because it won't live up.
Content warning: murder, manipulation/gaslighting, sexual assault and grooming of underage girl
"After we die, Mariana thought, all that remains of us is a mystery; and our possessions, to be picked over by others."
Other Books by Alex Michaeldes:
The Silent Patient - Click the title link to check out my full review