The Maidens: What Secrets Are Being Kept?

Once you kill another human being, there’s no going back… It’s a bit like being reborn, I suppose… What emerges from the ashes is not a phoenix, but an uglier creature: deformed, incapable of flight, a predator using it claws to cut and rip.

The MaidensAlex Michaelides

Thank you to Celadon Books for sending me an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

In Summary of The Maidens

Mariana Andros, a group therapist struggling with the tragic death of her husband, visits her beloved niece who’s friend was found murdered at Cambridge. Mariana is certain that Edward Fosca, cocky Greek tragedy professor, is the murderer; when she discovers that he is the leader of a secret society for female students called The Maidens and that another young woman is found killed, she becomes even more convinced that he is a manipulator targeting collegiate women. She takes measures into her own hands to prove the killer and, hopefully, save herself and her niece. 

PositivesNegatives
University setting is atmospheric and captivatingVery slow burn
Very short chapters make for quick reading Some plot holes that don’t get patched
Twists and turns are interesting and unexpectedSome of the Greek mythology references seem unnecessary or thrown in

A monster with a knife was among them, unseen, prowling the streets…

The Review

Alex Michaelides, you got me. You got me good. 

I can honestly say that I flew through this book and didn’t see several things coming along the way. Red herrings and Greek mythology galore in this one. 

This is another one of those books that I shouldn’t say too much to give important elements  away. However, I do want to mention a few things.  

As entertaining as it was, it wasn’t my all-time favorite book. I have never read a book in the “dark academia” category before (see this for explanation) and I also haven’t read a book by this author before, so I really didn’t know what else to compare The Maidens to. 

It’s slow throughout the first half of the book due to setting building, which seems to be a huge part of dark academia. However, some of the characters seemed underdeveloped – especially certain women in The Maidens group. The same goes for Mariana; maybe she lacks true dimension and grit as a woman because she is written by a male author, but she sometimes comes across as naïve, especially since she’s a therapist and should know better than to get herself personally involved in something like a crime.

Additionally, I wanted more development of the group itself. Yes, we get that it’s basically a cult, but… when there’s a cult involved, you must GIVE ME THE DETAILS.

Please and thank you. 

Also, while the twists and turns are shocking and entertaining, don’t expect them to seem realistic. I was saying both “WOAH” and “Um, wait… where did that come from?” all at the same time. A great possibility may be that the author was trying to do too many things in this book at one time, so some plot points and characters turned out more developed than others. 

I will say that this is a book that I’m still simmering over weeks later. My feelings ebb and flow on this one, so it clearly grabbed my attention and made me think. Depending on your tastes in books, or if you want to try a thriller that is completely different than the rest, pick this one up.

Grab this new release (also a June 2021 Book of the Month option!) available on June 10th! 

The Maidens Book Information

  • Published: 2021
  • Publisher: Celadon Books
  • ISBN:  1250304458
  • Format: Paperback
  • Length: 352 pages

Learn About & Support the Author – Alex Michaelides

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