Cover Image: The Maidens

The Maidens

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Member Reviews

This book was not good. The premise was interesting but doesn't play out the way you would expect and ended up being quite dissapointing.
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A dark academia mystery with an ominous feel and a twisty ending. ⁣
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I enjoyed 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘔𝘢𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘯𝘴 more than I thought I would. I wasn’t blown over by 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘚𝘪𝘭𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘗𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘵 so I was hesitant about this one. The academia setting, the atmosphere of Cambridge, was probably one of my favorite aspects of the book. I was completely taken in by it - but by now you know I have a definite fondness for a murder mystery set within a school setting and Michaelides does it well here. ⁣
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Mariana is a group therapist with a troubled past of her own who becomes fixated on a group of students called The Maidens after a friend of her niece Zoe is murdered on campus. She becomes convinced that Edward Fosca, the popular Greek Tragedy professor, is responsible and is determined to prove it. ⁣⁣
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I wasn’t able to guess the culprit as there were many red herrings (too many I felt honestly) but the twist just missed the mark for me. Despite it being over the top, it ended up frustrating me versus entertaining me. I am not a fan of leaving so many plot holes of which there were many in this book. I also wish we had more on The Maidens (considering the title) and I felt it was a missed opportunity not to delve deeper into the secret society or the girls that made up the group. ⁣
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This was a decent mystery, a fast read that had a lot of potential but it fell just a bit off the mark for me. Still, I enjoyed it more than I did 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘚𝘪𝘭𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘗𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘵. The audiobook was well narrated and definitely helped me remain invested in the story. I definitely recommend listening if you enjoy books on audio.
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2.5 stars.

It's been over 2 months since I finished the book. It's good to know that I still feel the same disappointment for it that I did when I finished it. I had high expectations because I really enjoyed The Silent Patient. And I just did not care for The Maidens. I didn't like the MC, I didn't like the motive for the crimes, I didn't like the resolution. I wasn't thrilled or captivated by any part. Really, it should probably be closed to 2 stars but I still stick with 3, 3 in my book is "it was okay." It just didn't grip me like The Silent Patient. I still have hope that Michaelides next book will be good!
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Oof. Okay. So I do not get the hype over this book at all. Disclaimer: I have not read The Silent Patient so maybe my expectations weren’t as high as some others, but honestly, I did not like this book at all. It was so boring. I spent most of the time just waiting for something to happen and it never really did.

The title is The Maidens and I still couldn’t tell you what the hell the Maidens even are. They’re, like, barely a part of the book. Why? To be honest, the culty aspect of the Maidens would have probably helped this book a lot.

Mariana made no sense to me. Why is she trying to solve this mystery? She has no horse in this race… sure, her niece’s friend was murdered but that’s hardly a reason to insert yourself into the investigation. I just kept wondering, why does she care about this?

The killer… I saw that one coming a mile away. I definitely guessed it within the first, like, ten chapters. There were a bunch of red herrings but they were super obvious to me. There was still a surprise twist at the end, but it only made me dislike the book more.

The book had plot holes the size of Texas. Most of them I can’t say here because spoilers.

Do not take my word for it. Plenty of people have given this book four and five stars. So totally read it. If you want to.
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Really enjoyed this one! Kept me guessing throughout and thoroughly entertaining! Thriller and suspense fans will love this one.
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i was warned that the plot twist wouldn’t come about 3/4ths in and that really helped me stick with it. i loved the atmosphere of this one and the crossover with THE SILENT PATIENT was so well done and fun, but damn were there way too many red herrings to save ones own life 😂 i'm a thriller lover so i almost always guess the plot twists // “bad” guys before it happens and this was no exception. all those things prevented this one from living up to the hype for me 🥺

if you’re into thrillers, you might see the ending coming and be a bit bored. if you’re prepared for a slower, more suspenseful burn then i think you’ll enjoy this. overall, THE SILENT PATIENT takes the cake for me—easily.
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The Maidens is the follow-up novel to Alex’s 2019 debut and bestseller, The Silent Patient, another brilliant thriller! I wasn’t sure The Maidens could live up to that one, but it met the high expectations! I also enjoyed that we got a bit of character overlap from The Silent Patient!


Mariana is a group therapist who is still struggling with the loss of her husband a year prior. She gets a startling call from niece Zoe at Cambridge University saying a student and possible friend of hers has been murdered. To support Zoe, Mariana returns to Cambridge, bringing up painful memories from where she and her husband first met.

When another student is found dead, Mariana has no choice but to stay and assist with the investigation. From there, she meets Edward Fosca, a Greek Tragedy professor whom Maria is convinced is guilty. Mariana becomes obsessed with proving his guilt and, in the process, puts herself in danger…

Louise Brealey did most of the narration for the audiobook, and I found her voice so captivating! Also, this book had super short chapters, which are my FAVORITE. Highly recommend this one, a haunting novel, and another great release from Celadon Books. Alex Michaelides is absolutely a must-read author for me now!
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Mariana Andros knows Edward Fosca is a murderer. Fosca, a handsome and charismatic Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University is adored by staff and students alike - particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens. Mariana is a brilliant, but haunted group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered at Cambridge. Despite Fosca having a rock solid alibi Mariana becomes convinced he is guilty of murder. When another body is found, Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spirals out of control.

I absolutely loved Alex Michaelides’ debut novel, THE SILENT PATIENT, and was thrilled to see he had a new title coming out this year. Books set in academic settings are some of my favorites to pick up, so after hearing the premise for THE MAIDENS I knew I needed to make this a must read. Michaelides does a phenomenal job of bringing Cambridge to life on the pages of this story and setting an at times claustrophobic location that is steeped in secrets.

Despite having a setting that lends itself to tension and creep factor, ultimately THE MAIDENS felt underwhelming to me. I never bonded with the main character of Mariana throughout the entirety of the story. Her backstory felt disjointed and for someone who is labeled as being a gifted therapist, I didn’t see that play out. In addition to not loving the main character, I found the pacing to be slow with little action to hold my attention. Perhaps I’m biased because I was expecting the same thrill ride that THE SILENT PATIENT delivered, but I didn’t find myself sucked into this story until over halfway through.

Overall, I liked THE MAIDENS, but I would have loved to see a bolder and more intense story.
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Thrillers are not my go-to genre but I do enjoy a good solid mystery and the Silent Patient seemed to have great reviews so I took the plunge. 

For me, this was just an okay story. I thought it had a lot of potential and I didn’t really mind main character Mariana. But the end was pretty easy to guess at, even for me, and the twists really didn’t seem that twisty. There were storylines, like the Maidens, that really went nowhere. 

I did enjoy the Greek mythology aspect and the story of Demeter and Persephone but I wanted more. I also enjoyed the atmospheric Cambridge University campus setting and the little details that made it seem otherworldly.
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The Silent Patient is one of my favorite books, and this was one of my most anticipated reads for 2021. I think my high expectations got in the way of me loving this one, but it was still a very well-written thriller, and definitely worth reading. 

I’ve never been much into Greek mythology, but I really liked how Alex Michaelides tied it into the story. The Maidens starts off slow, but I was fully drawn into the story at about the halfway point. Overall, the pacing of this thriller is slower than what I prefer, but its uniqueness and exceptional writing really impressed me. I of course loved that The Maidens is in the same vein as The Silent Patient, and that there were mentions of two characters from The Silent Patient. Alex Michaelides is a fantastic writer who can create gripping thrillers. I can’t wait to see what he writes next!
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This was a decent sophomore novel, but any follow-up to the brilliance of The Silent Patient was going to be a difficult feat. There was not much character development, and there were too many red herrings to even get close to figuring out the twist. I did enjoy the dark academia and all the references to Greek mythology, but I felt the story was slow and just too far-fetched to enjoy.
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I tell you what, I am just really not sure what to say about this book! I kind of feel like I want to sit with it some more, but I need to get this review out. I'm reading so many books this month they would just pile up if I didn't keep on top of them, so this review is just going to have to suffer. 

The Maidens is Michaelides's sophomore effort, but he has managed to avoid the sophomore slump. This was a very propulsive book, and I actually liked its setting and overall story a bit more than The Silent Patient, though it didn't quite feel like the characters were as fully drawn in this one. He once again makes Greek mythology and psychology the center of the novel (this makes sense as he has training in psychology, and is from Cyprus), and I really appreciated those nerdy details as it gives the book some weight. (Both of his books actually take place in the same universe as is made clear when several characters from The Silent Patient pop up here.) 

Our main character is Mariana, a half-Greek, half-British group therapist now living in London, one year after the death of her husband, Sebastian. Mariana, who is only 36, is still deep in the throes of grief for her husband, who died very unexpectedly. Her life has been seemingly marked by tragedy and death. This is further emphasized when she gets a call from her niece, Zoe, who is studying at Cambridge. Her close friend Tara is missing, and a body has been found. And as Mariana practically raised Zoe after the death of Zoe's parents as a young child, she rushes to Cambridge to be there for her. Once there, Mariana becomes embroiled in a strange series of circumstances involving Greek tragedy, murdered girls, and a secret society of young women led by the charismatic professor, Edward Fosca, who Mariana quickly suspects of being the murderer. 

Up until the ending, I thought this book did a fabulous job of keeping you on edge, of suspecting literally everyone. I mean it, literally everyone. This thing was so full of red herrings, just chock-a-block full of 'em. Despite that, this book felt a lot more straight forward than his first book. Here, the tension mostly came from Mariana's growing sense of instability, and from her fixation on Edward Fosca, whose actions indicate a fiendish cleverness that is chilling. 

The reason this isn't getting the full four stars is the ending, which I thought was extremely abrupt, and didn't quite click into place like I think Michaelides was aiming for, the way the ending of The Silent Patient did, where you might not have seen all the events coming, but they make sense after the fact, as all the little clues that stuck out now have somewhere to fit. I didn't get that sense here, and I feel almost as if I have to read this again to get the full effect. I don't think I would mind doing that, but I shouldn't have to.

All in all, a good second book, a quick read, and worth picking up if you like the thriller/suspense/mystery genre.

[3.5 stars, rounded up]
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Someone is killing young women in Cambridge. Mariana, who has come to the University to see and care for her beloved niece, Zoe finds herself immersed in the mystery.  She's a therapist who works with groups, ironic because she's very much a loner.  Is Edward  Fosca a killer?  He's definitely creepy and the women who die were his acolytes.  Mariana is still mourning the death of her husband Sebastian and finds herself wrapped up in this mystery beyond where she should be.  The solution is not telegraphed and redeems what might otherwise be a standard tale of a charismatic professor who goes too far with his female students.  That's kind of a problem but....The writing is stylistic and emotionless but keeps you turning the pages.  Thanks to netgalley for the ARC.  I suspect I'm one of the few who didn't swoon over this one but I'll admit the ending is a pow.
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The Maidens
By Alex Michaelides

I don't remember being this excited for any book this year as much as this. Alex Michaelides first book The Silent Patient was one of my very first book I ever reviewed on bookstagram and loved and gave a five star review. I remember how shocking it was for me to read that book, that my mind was so blown I could not stop talking about it for days. I can tell you that The Maidens did not disappoint. I loved it as much as I loved The Silent Patient and probably even more with its complex story line that weaves Greek mythology and tragedy so exquisitely. The shocking twist and reveal I never did see coming and I read every word of this book looking for clues. It was tightly plotted and the chapters were perfectly paced enough to keep turning those pages. Once I started, I could not stop reading this immersive thriller.

The Maidens was about Mariana who was a group therapist whose niece Zoe calls her frantic when her friend disappeared and was found brutally murdered. Her history with Cambridge drew her to help investigate the murders as she suspected Edward Fosca, a Professor of Greek mythology  who was also the lead of a secret society called The Maidens. 

I really enjoyed the atmospheric, gothic and ominous feeling that was so evident throughout the novel. The writing was impeccable, addictive and completely thrilling. I never saw the reveal coming - this was a shocking and surprising twist only a master storyteller like Michaelides could execute so perfectly.

I highly recommend.
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I received a complimentary copy of THE MAIDENS by Alex Michaelides. Thank you to Celadon Books!

THE MAIDENS follows Mariana, a young woman who runs group therapy groups, but is herself struggling with depression and grief following the death of her husband. His niece Zoe is attending the university in Cambridge that Mariana once attended. As she is the only real family left for Zoe, she immediately responds to Zoe’s distressed call when a friend has been murdered.

Poking around a bit into the story behind this young woman’s death, Mariana discovers a lot of secrets wrapped up with the school’s traditions. Clues keep circling back to the story of Persephone in ancient Greek mythology and Mariana is determined to help unravel how this relates to the present day.

This book was such a highly anticipated read with an author I knew I liked, a dark academia setting, and issues of mental health and therapy. Thankfully I wound up really enjoying this one! This takes some pretty dark twists (the main trigger warning in this case would be a major spoiler, so feel free to message me privately if you want that). The book kept up a good dark atmosphere throughout!

I found the mystery to be engaging. Having seen the twist in THE SILENT PATIENT coming, I was pleasantly surprised that this book did manage to catch me unaware with some of the ending. There were a few things I expected, but I was never sure. Mariana was an interesting character to follow, wrapped up as she was in her grief with her husband and her intrigue with the murder.

I would recommend this one for the thriller fans! THE MAIDENS is out on June 15!
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The Maidens is a murder mystery set at the Cambridge University campus in the UK.  A student calls her aunt, a therapist, to comfort her as a friend has been murdered.  Mariana embarks on a journey to the campus to see her niece.  Once there another female student is murdered.  Both students were members of an elite cult called The Maidens and are followers of a Greek tragedy professor that everyone swoons over.

What I didn’t find plausible is how a therapist can do her own investigation into the murders.  Police detectives are a brilliant sort with analytical minds.  Otherwise, they wouldn’t be in that job.  This plot just didn’t ring true for me and I never got engaged.

I’m a big fan of Donna Tartt and loved her book The Secret History.  Maybe I was expecting too much from Michaelides.  I would suggest to anyone with an interest in reading this book to look at other reviews.  Many Goodreads friends found this book to be a winner.

2.5 out of 5 stars

Publication date - June 15, 2021
Review posted to Goodreads on May 30, 2021

I received a free ARC of THE MAIDENS by Alex Michaelides from MacMillan in exchange for an honest review.
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Mariana Andros is a group therapist and Cambridge University graduate. She is mourning her late husband, Sebastian, when their niece, Zoe, calls, upset because a friend at Cambridge has been murdered. Mariana and Sebastian raised Zoe as a surrogate daughter, so Mariana heads to Cambridge and St. Christopher's College to be there for here. There, Mariana feels she can help her friend and fellow therapist, Julian Ashcroft, in looking into the murder. Mariana is convinced that Greek tragedy professor Edward Fosca is responsible. He is followed around by a group of female students, deemed The Maidens, who seem obsessed with Fosca and his teachings. When another girl, a Maiden, is found dead, Mariana vows she will do anything to stop him.

"Death was no stranger to Mariana; it had been her traveling companion since she was a child--keeping close behind her, hovering just over her shoulder. She sometimes felt she had been cursed, as if by some malevolent goddess in a Greek myth, to lose everyone she ever loved."

Unpopular opinion time... this book did not work for me. I did not find it engaging nor interesting. I had to force myself to keep reading, as I did not care for any of the characters, including Mariana and Zoe. Mariana is fixated on Edward Fosca from the beginning and seems convinced she should insert herself in a rather serious murder investigation despite not seeming one bit qualified. I'm not sure how her group therapist qualifications lend her any credentials and she lies constantly, much to the annoyance (justified) and detriment of the police. There are basically no sympathetic characters, and there seems to be no reason to care about the murdered women, as we're given no background on them. Some characters (e.g., Julian) seem inserted for no reason whatsoever.

There is a lot of Greek mythology tucked into the story and perhaps I was just over it, as I've read several books revolving around Greek myths. It was a lot, though, and sometimes did not seem relevant to our story.

This thriller is certainly atmospheric, with Cambridge playing a strong role in the setting. You definitely feel a part of the academic setting, and I learned a lot about the university while reading. It's dark and somewhat foreboding, but since I was not fully invested in the story, I could only feel so tense. There are some twists, but the big twist came too late and seemed too preposterous to be truly exciting. The author throws in so many red herrings that you find yourself almost rolling your eyes.

Still, this is a very popular thriller for many readers, so chances are it may work for you. For me, it just didn't hold my interest or seem all that, well, thrilling.
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I received a free ARC of The Maidens by Alex Michaelides from Macmillan in an exchange for an honest review. After really enjoying Mr. Michaelides’s debut smash The Silent Patient, I was very interested to see how his sophomore effort would turn out.

The Maidens opens with the main character, Mariana Andros, declaring “Edward Fosca is a murderer.” Over the course of the story, we begin to learn who’s been killed, why Mariana is so certain of Professor Fosca’s guilt, and why she is willing to risk her own life to stop him. Mariana is a well-developed character, damaged and still grieving the drowning of her husband a year earlier. Fosca is far more opaque (as are the Maidens), but he is charming, mysterious, and intriguing as you wonder about his guilt and possible motives for the murders.

There are a lot of red herrings here, maybe a couple too many. There are suspicious patients and former classmates, suspicious bedders and porters, suspicious men hitting on Mariana too aggressively, and maybe most annoying, police who are waaaaay too dismissive of her information when they have no idea who committed the murders. People also keep saying things to Mariana throughout the story that have deep meaning to her and upset her even though they appear to be coincidences, which feels a bit cheap.

Still, I enjoyed The Maidens. It moves at a brisk pace, and Mariana’s grief gives the story a core and a theme beyond simply a mystery thriller. And I certainly didn’t see the ending coming. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4. Recommended.
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Alex Michaelides’ first novel The Silent Patient was a New York Times bestseller when it released in 2019. I enjoyed it as you can see here in my REVIEW, but it was no Verity and it’s not a book I recommend very often. However, the premise of his sophomore novel The Maiden’s is completely alluring and I was so excited when Celadon reached out with the offer to read an advanced copy.

In The Maidens, raised in Greece and now working in London, Mariana is a group therapist who is struggling after the death of her husband Sebastian. His untimely death while on vacation to one of the Greece Isles, leaves Mariana wondering if she has offended Persephone some how. When Zoe, her niece, calls after the murder of her roommate, Marina is off to Cambridge to console her. While there Mariana begins to investigate the murder herself and stumbles upon a group of students known as The Maidens. The Maidens, all of whom are wealthy young women, are a young male professors ‘chosen students’ and he treats them as such. As a group therapist, Mariana finds the strange hold this professor has over these students to be suspicious and dives into unraveling who this professor really is.

Let me start by saying that this is a slow burn thriller. I really enjoy slow burns, I mean Jane Harper is the queen of slow burn stories and I adore her writing. But generally speaking the best slow burn stories have quite a bit of character development and really bring the suspense. The Maidens has neither of these things. The characters all fell a bit flat for me with little depth and honestly none of them are very likable. I actually become pretty annoyed with our main character Mariana, and wished she’d just leave it to the police to solve. There were also a few times I felt bored with the story just waiting for something to happen. When things finally started to happen it was all jumbled together and felt rushed.

In terms of the plot it’s definitely interesting but my biggest compliant is an over usage of red herrings. Everything and everyone was one which made the impact they had on the story weaker. I won’t say I saw the ending coming but I had my suspicions. While not necessarily predictable, the story never really ‘WOWed’.

I will say that as a lover of all things Greek Mythology, I did enjoy all of the Greek references to mythology and literature. Did it get a little ‘in the weeds’ a bit, yes, but overall I liked the added references in the story.

There are definitely a couple of references to The Silent Patient and based on those this book takes place in the same universe but earlier time frame wise. I actually really like how Michaelides tied the two together, and makes me curious to see how a third book would tie in.

Michaelides’ second novel is another three star for me. While it’s a decent read, the pacing was too slow for me with not enough build up. The ending felt rushed and while I don’t regret reading it, it won’t be high on my recommendation list. I’d say if you read alot of thrillers this one may not rate for you but if you only dabble in them, you’ll probably enjoy this one.


The Maidens comes out June 15 2021.  Huge thank you to Celadon Books for my advanced copy for my honest review. If you liked this review please let me know either by commenting below or by visiting my Instagram @speakingof_books.
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“Let me tell you something—this is what those old Greek plays are about. What it means to be human. What it means to be alive.” - The Maidens.


Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. A handsome and charismatic Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens. Mariana 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. Mariana quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the Cambridge spires, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. 

Thank you to MacMillan and Celadon for sending me an ARC copy of this book as part of their #readinginsidersclub in exchange for an honest review. I was so excited to read this book since I enjoyed the author’s first book “The Silent Patient”. This book follows therapist Mariana as she goes to Cambridge to investigate the murder of her niece Zoe’s friend, who was a member of the secret society called The Maidens. Mariana is determined to find the killer, even if she herself gets wrapped up in danger. Overall, this book was fantastic, suspenseful, and had many twists! Also, I am a huge fan of psychology, Greek mythology, and where they intersect so I found those themes in the book to be so interesting. I also enjoyed the touch of dark academia that this book had, and it’s elusive university setting. This is a book that you will want to go into blind so you can be shocked by all the reveals. I am so excited for this book to be released soon and to see what others think of it! 

Release Date: June 15, 2021
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