ARC review: The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

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Goodreads | Waterstones

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. 

Thank you to W&N for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! Also, happy book birthday/release day to this one!

Wow, this one was such an intricate web and it definitely trapped me in it. The Maidens is such a page turner and absolutely unputdownable after the (around) 100 page mark. This book follows Mariana, who is a group therapist who has recently lost her husband. When mysterious murders start happening at her niece’s university, she tries to uncover the mystery and is convinced she knows who the murderer is – she just needs to find some evidence.

This one kept me guessing until the last pages. I had my suspicions about a few of the characters throughout but it kept throwing me off and misdirecting me, and just as I thought I had worked it all out something else would happen to let me know I had it all wrong. I never, ever even had suspicions about the person who actually ended up being the killer.

I love how this book was interwoven with Greek myths and Greek tragedy, taking inspirations from mythology. This, along with the dark academia setting, gave such a creepy sense of foreboding throughout this book, and it definitely made my skin crawl and I felt on edge at many points throughout. It definitely unsettled me and added to the brilliant atmosphere around this.

The characters were really interesting, especially because they all have their own questionable actions. This was incredibly clever, as I could never pinpoint who was the most suspicious or likely to have been a part of the murders. However, this did mean I didn’t like Mariana as much as I wanted to and couldn’t quite gather her true intentions, thoughts and feelings. It also made me feel disconnected from the love interest, as I didn’t know who to trust.

My only other slight complaint is this did take me a while to get into, probably 100-150 pages. However, once I got past the first part, I couldn’t put it down. After the 150 page mark I was so drawn into this story and I became desperate to know what happened. The chapters are also super short which helps it become such a page turner!

Overall, this one was brilliant, clever and so enthralling. I would highly recommend picking it up!

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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