Book Review: The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

About the Book:

St Christopher’s College, Cambridge, is a closed world to most.

For Mariana Andros – a group therapist struggling through her private grief – it’s where she met her late husband. For her niece, Zoe, it’s the tragic scene of her best friend’s murder.

As memory and mystery entangle Mariana, she finds a society full of secrets, which has been shocked to its core by the murder of one of its own.

Because behind its idyllic beauty is a web of jealousy and rage which emanates from an exclusive set of students known only as The Maidens. A group under the sinister influence of the enigmatic professor Edward Fosca.

A man who seems to know more than anyone about the murders – and the victims. And the man who will become the prime suspect in Mariana’s investigation – an obsession which will unravel everything…

The Maidens is a story of love, and of grief – of what makes us who we are, and what makes us kill.

Released June 8th 2021
Published by Hachette Australia – Orion
Thanks is extended to the publisher for the review copy.

My Thoughts:

The Maidens is a thriller in every sense of the word. Fast paced, with short chapters designed to keep the pages turning. Each character is layered, more than what they initially appear. The author weaves a convincing web of deceit throughout this novel, ensuring that the protagonist – and the reader – are constantly filled with questioning unease.

Modelled upon a Greek tragedy, the author uses Greek mythology throughout the novel to draw parallels and to heighten tension, but it also served to give the novel a literary feel that I particularly appreciated, which also complimented the Cambridge setting. The reveal of who the murderer was completely took me by surprise – such a clever and disturbing twist. I feel like this is the sort of crime thriller I have been waiting my whole life to read. Brilliantly crafted, gripping and intoxicating, The Maidens is a must read.

Quotable Quotes:

‘A nervous, edgy energy was in the air. A monster with a knife was among them, unseen, prowling the streets, apparently able to strike and then melt away invisibly into the darkness… His invisibility made him into something more than human, something supernatural: a creature born from myth, a phantom.
Except Mariana knew he wasn’t a phantom, or a monster. He was just a man, and he didn’t merit being mythologised; he didn’t deserve it.
He deserved only – if she could summon it in her heart – pity and fear. The very qualities, according to Aristotle, that constituted catharsis in tragedy. Well, Mariana didn’t know enough about this madman to access pity.
But she did feel fear.’


‘She felt alert, somehow – perhaps awake was a better word: everything seemed clearer, as if a fog had lifted; colours were sharper, the edges of things more defined. The world no longer felt muted and grey and far away – behind a veil.
It felt alive again, and vivid, and full of colour, wet with autumn rain; and vibrating with the eternal hum of endless birth and death.’


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