Book Review — The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

  • Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Fiction
  • Published by: Macmillan Audio / Celadon Books
  • Publish date: June 15th, 2021
  • Audio Length: 10 hours
  • Number of pages: 352 pages
  • Author’s website:
  • Support local! Buy the book on BookShop!

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.

Celadon Books

Rating: 5/5

For most of the book, this sat at a 4 stars for me. In terms of the crime, I did figure out the culprit pretty early on, but I could not figure out the motive until the shocking reveal at the end. I’m still shocked by it so I bumped my review up to 5 stars and am looking forward to reading a physical copy. This review is for the audiobook.

The story is set well– Cambridge University and secret societies giving off major dark academia vibes. You have intelligent characters who all seem to be suspicious or have something secretive about them. There are a few red herrings throughout the novel as well. These things along with a narrator who toes the line of reliable and unreliable create a mystery that is hard to solve despite all signs pointing to the charismatic, Eric Fosca– who seems to have a cult-like following with some of his female students that are called The Maidens. So sketchy.

I was hooked on the audio of this story that filters between being narrated by the protagonist, Mariana, and a male figure. I think my favorite part about this story was the allusions to and mentions of Greek tragedies, in particular Persephone and Demeter. Overall, this story is well plot out, fast-paced, and surprising! Readers who like thrillers, but usually figure out the ending quickly will have fun with this one.

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to know!

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