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.