The Maidens by Alex Michaelides – Book Review

Nowadays reading time is mostly after everyone has gone to sleep. Which means e-book is the best option! I loved The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. And somehow, it’s his name that came to my mind when I did the search on Libby. This is how I started with The Maidens.

Mariana is a troubled group therapist who is recently widowed. She is still living in the memories of her late husband when one day her niece Zoe calls her in panic. Zoe’s friend is found murdered at the Cambridge University and she suspects their Greek Tragedy professor Edward Fosca to be involved. Mariana, too, is convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is the murderer. When another body is found, her obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spirals out of control destroying her credibility and creating issues with the local police. Will Mariana be able to prove Edward’s involvement before she herself becomes a victim?

To be honest, I did not like the writing in the first few chapters. I felt it was very amateurish. But after a few chapters, the writing improved a lot. I’m not sure whether it was just me getting used to the writing style or there really was a change. Nevertheless, by the end, I had forgotten all about it.

The plot had all the right elements – Greek mythological references, young female students viciously killed as part of a ritual, detailed descriptions, cults, therapist who herself was once under therapy. The rich descriptions painted such a vivid picture in my mind that even weeks after having read the book, I can still recall the Cambridge University surroundings, Mariana’s beach side house back in Greece etc.

I also loved the chapters with the killer’s narration in the form of letters. It added a lot of intrigue. There is also a crossover with The Silent Patient incidents. Theo Faber makes an appearance in a couple of scenes and that was one of the highlights of the book.

But somewhere towards the end, everything just started going south and the plot never recovered. The unexpected twist at the end and the murderer was indeed a huge shock. But the reasoning behind it was just too unbelievable and far-fetched. It is also a bit disturbing. There were also many unnecessary characters who were included just to increase the suspect list. I would also have loved to know more about Sebastian’s character – Mariana’s husband. Even though he is dead, he turned out to play a very important role at the end.

The plot had such a huge potential but the author, in the process of trying to bring in a twist, missed the mark! I would have preferred to spend this time rereading The Silent Patient.

My Rating 2.5 ⭐

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