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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

Overall rating

3.9 out of 5
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  • Somewhat of a letdown

    This book has been all over, and I was excited to get an early copy of it (thanks @bookishfirst and @celadonbooks). While it was exciting, and I got through it in an afternoon, but I didn't love it unfortunately. Synopsis: Mariana, a group therapist, is called to Cambridge University by her niece Zoe, who's in a panic because her roommate has been murdered, and she's positive a professor there is responsible. As Mariana investigates the murder, will she end up in the cross-hairs of the killer? Here are my quick thoughts! Things I liked: - Very short chapters, it absolutely flew by - The tie-ins to The Silent Patient - Greek mythology references were interesting - The cult vibe...I wish there'd been more of this - The twist at the end caught me completely by surprise Didn’t like: - The “cops are inept so I’ll investigate myself” trope - The man who refused to take no for an answer from Mariana, and then actually gets aggressive to force a relationship, being portrayed positively - Mariana’s characterization that all sociopaths emerge in the same way - The ending...I just don't get why, some of it didn't make sense... Sorry, please don't hate!

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  • Mesmerizing read

    The Maidens from the cover to the first page to the very last had my full attention and I could not put the book down. I followed the clues carefully, changed my mind several times as to who was murdering all these girls. I was so wrong. I love an ending that takes me completely by surprise and The Maidens does this. Alex Michaelides has written another page turning thriller that is so descriptive I felt that I was right there with Mariana.

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  • Needs more secret society and twists

    I want to say “Kudos!” to Alex Michaelides for being brave and publishing a second book so quickly after his amazing debut, The Silent Patient. There are many other authors who take years and years (or never write another book) after they have a highly successful first book, so for Michaelides to put himself out for the world to critique his creation is inspiring. But because he did, I had difficulties at times trying not to compare The Maidens to The Silent Patient. This is a completely different book from the first, although he did do some crossover with Theo, which I love when authors or screenwriters do this, so I had to keep reminding myself this when it was time to write the review. While The Silent Patient was slow at times (but still always engaging), The Maidens was much more of a page turner, with me wanting to read what strangeness would happen next or where the clues would lead Mariana. When it came to the characters, I was a bit disappointed in Mariana. Yes, she’s had a lot of trauma recently, but she’s also a professional group therapist, so for her to not see some blatant things or the way she acted with some of her patients (one in particular) just didn’t seem completely true. And the one patient that she was so unprofessional with continued to have a spot in the story, but I felt it was pointless and didn’t really do anything to enhance the book. I was disappointed in the secret society because it wasn’t very secret. And this is not Michaelides fault, but before picking up the book I was thinking it would be more where people are wondering if it really does exist and who are the members. But it’s pretty much the opening scene when Mariana gets to the campus, we know for sure there is a special set of young women and even who they are… like I mentioned, this was just an expectation that I had and wanted to point out to other readers so they don’t have the same expectation as me going in. Even with those two bigger disappointments, The Maidens, was still a very good read. The Greek mythology is interesting and adds another layer to the tale. Michaelides' descriptions of the campus and Greece is superb and it feels as if the reader is actually there. Some people may figure out who the murderer is early, but I kept switching my mind and was not correct. But I don’t think a lot of people will see the twist, which was very disturbing and still had me thinking about it days later… and to me that is always a sign of a good book.

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  • Really Good

    Mariana is absolutely sure that Edward Fosca, a Greek tragedy professor at Cambridge University, is a murderer. Fosca is adored by staff and students - particularly a group of female students that form a society and are called The Maidens. When Mariana's niece's friend, who is a member of The Maidens, is found murdered, Mariana - a brilliant but troubled group therapist - becomes obsessed with the secret society. Mariana, who once attended the same university, believes that beneath all of the charm there lies something a lot more sinister and she is determined to find out the truth. Mariana's obsession with Edward Fosca spirals out of control when a second body is found and she still can't prove Fosca's guilt. She's willing to put her own life in danger to prove what she believes is the truth. Once I started reading this book, I couldn't put it down. I really enjoyed it but not as much as Alex Michaelides's other book, The Silent Patient.

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  • An eye-opening handbook and guide for black peopl

    The Maidens is a twisty psychological mystery that blends serial killer fiction with dark academia. The protagonist is Mariana, a therapist getting over the death of her husband. She gets caught up in a series of murders at a local college when her niece Zoe's best friend is murdered. Using her experience as a therapist and her intuition, Mariana realizes that the murderer is Edward Fosca, a popular professor of Greek tragedies. Suspiciously, he has a harem of college girls who follow him around, who he calls The Maidens. Here is an excerpt from the first page of the book: (This is not a spoiler, because it's on the first page.) "Edward Fosca was a murderer. This was a fact. This wasn’t something Mariana knew just on an intellectual level, as an idea. Her body knew it. She felt it in her bones, along her blood, and deep within every cell. Edward Fosca was guilty. And yet—she couldn’t prove it, and might never prove it. This man, this monster, who had killed at least two people, might, in all likelihood, walk free. He was so smug, so sure of himself. He thinks he’s got away with it, she thought. He thought he had won. But he hadn’t. Not yet. Mariana was determined to outsmart him. She had to." After I read this prologue, I couldn't wait to continue reading and see how the story progresses. I love books that are set in colleges, and I am also a fan of thrillers with twists, so I thought that this would become one of my favorite books. For a while, the plot was engrossing. I was voraciously reading every single detail and looking for deeper meanings. I was very interested and could not put this book down. I even finished it in one sitting. Unfortunately, the ending was a letdown. Without spoiling anything, I would just like to say that it didn't really make sense for me. Even though it was explained, I totally did not understand the motivations of the murderer for committing these murders. In addition, a lot of the themes and threads in the plot ended up leading to nothing. I had been drawn into every detail of the story, because I thought that the references to Greek tragedies were the author's way of communicating a deeper message. I was expecting a work of literature. It turns out that those references were just "window dressing," and this book is just a typical thriller. There's nothing wrong with thrillers, and I did enjoy reading this book. I do think it is being over-hyped though. Overall, if you enjoyed The Silent Patient or if you're a fan of thrillers and/or dark academia, then I highly recommend that you check out The Maidens when it comes out in June! Don't go in expecting a masterpiece of literature. If you go in with the mindset that this is a thriller, you won't be disappointed!

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