Thank you so much to Celadon Books for the physical ARC of The Maidens for review purposes! I also obtained an early listening copy from Macmillan Audio via NetGalley, so that is equally exciting! All opinions are mine alone!
Quick Facts: (Book):
- Title: The Maidens
- Series: N/A (but I saw what he did with Theo 😂)
- Author: Alex Michaelides
- Publisher & Release: Celadon Books, 06/15/21
- Length: 352
- Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 yes for fans of Greek inspired, dark academia, thrillers!
Some additional Audiobook facts:
- Narrators: Louise Brealey and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
- Publisher & Release: Macmillan Audio, 6/15/21
- Listening time: TBA
Here is the description from GoodReads:
Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.
Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge.
Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?
When another body is found, Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything—including her own life.
I feel like I say this a lot these days, since I have been reading a lot of thrillers: but definitely the fewer details you know going into this one, the better.
I really like Michaelides’ writing style, he offers vibrant descriptions of scenery and architecture and I feel like I can really picture things as they happen. I also especially enjoy how the suspenseful, dark, academic atmosphere permeates almost every scene of the book so that I never forget I’m reading a suspenseful, psychological thriller.
There is some interesting psychology in the book too. It did a lot to redeem group therapy in my mind. I read a particularly terrible book on it earlier in the year but Mariana, a group therapist, explains how group actually works and I feel like I got a decent feel for how it is expected to work. Theo (anyone remember the psychiatrist from The Silent Patient?) had a cameo in the book as well which was kind of cool to see. So the book looks at both individual issues and group mechanics when dealing with mental trauma.
Mariana and Fosca were both complicated, multilayered characters. You’ll have to read to find out how so. I loved the Greek influence, how much psychology and Greek tragedy, mythology, and poetry were included in the pages. My biggest issue was the reveal – like – really? It didn’t cause me to hate the book but it was a HUGE leap for me to make mentally, which is what I guess makes a psychological thriller…..good.
There was just the TINIEST touch of magical realism.
About the narrators: the male’s accent didn’t seem to make sense for where the character originated from, but the female has an excellent voice. She is very articulate and easy to listen to. I could always tell who was speaking and her differing voices were consistent and on-point.
My only overall issue was that every single male character was creepy as hell, which kind of detracted because I don’t think every single person needs to be creepy or bad. All of the women were pretty basic.
Overall – totally recommend for fans of psychological thrillers, dark academia, and Greek inspired writing!