Author: Alex Michaelides
Publisher: Celadon Books
Released: June 15, 2021
Received: Own (BOTM)
Warnings: Graphic murder, sexual abuse, mental illness
The Maidens was one of my three picks for June’s BOTM (the other two being Half Sick of Shadows and Aftershocks). Written by Alex Michaelides, this is a mystery thriller with strong psychological elements.
Mariana Andros is a talented therapist who specializes in group therapy. Yet even as she works so hard to heal the minds of those around her, she herself is struggling. She recently lost her husband, and she has yet to recover from that pain.
There’s no time for her to stop and heal, not when young women are getting murdered at her old school. The school her niece now attends. Naturally, Mariana is about to find herself neck-deep in this investigation, and she has a list of suspects that she is determined to go after.
“After all, everyone’s entitled to be the hero of their own story. So I must be permitted to be the hero of mine. Even though I’m not. I’m the villain.”
The Maidens is yet another dark story with psychological elements written by Alex Michaelides. There’s no denying that fact, not with Mariana trying to analyze the people around her, all while they do the same to her.
Yet, that description is only scratching the surface of this story. There is so much going on behind the scenes. And Mariana has become obsessed with getting to the bottom of it. So obsessed that she is quite literally missing other pieces of the puzzle.
The whole story left me feeling a little bit conflicted, truth be told. On the one hand, it really was quite the thrilling tale. It was dark and rich, and the added elements (Greek mythology and storytelling) really did help to bring the story further.
On the other hand, I do feel like the story was lacking in some ways. The final twist at the end was a disappointment, for one thing. Also, it felt like a bit of an injustice, both to the characters and the readers.
Speaking of the characters, I felt like many of them could have been fleshed out a bit more. For the most part, the main character (Mariana) was fine, but most of the secondary characters fell flat for me.
On the bright side, I really was on the edge of my seat, trying to solve the crime right alongside Mariana. So I can’t fault the story too much, as clearly I got all sorts of invested in it! Additionally, I really do enjoy the way Alex Michaelides sets the scene.