The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

Book Synopsis

Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.

Mariana Andros 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 in Cambridge.

Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?

When another body is found, Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything—including her own life.

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*Non Spoiler Review*

I brought this book on whim (which is dangerous as always), I like the premises of a murder at Cambridge University I was also intrigued by the fact that one of the support characters was called Zoe. This genre is something I don’t gravitate towards naturally, but as I had seen it so many times on book tube I thought, why not?

Well I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. We are introduced to Mariana who is a group psychiatrist, she is struggling personally with her husbands death over a year ago. While she is managing barely she gets a distressing phone call from her niece Zoe saying that her friend has been murdered at her university. Mariana rushes up to Cambridge to console her distraught niece, but what she doesn’t realise is this is only the beginning.

While the premise of the book was intriguing, I felt that there was at time too much going on in which the supporting characters didn’t come across as well rounded as they could be. I found the police to lack a bit of luster or just come off extremely unhelpful. At time there were elements that were rushed and I felt Michaelides could have taken out half of the supporting characters and just focused on a few.

I didn’t predict the outcome as quickly as other reviewers seemed to say, the twist is bittersweet in my eyes. I liked the short chapters and the infusion of Greek history. I am not sure if this was to be a “scary” book so to speak, but I did like the who did it feel throughout.

Overall, I enjoyed the story. Would I recommend it as an amazing thriller? No. Would I recommend it as a dark academia? Barely. But I would recommend it as a good who did it story.

Book Rating: 3/5

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