Hi and welcome to the reading world!
Today I’m so excited to be sharing my review of The Maidens by Alex Michaelides.
The Maidens follows Mariana, a therapist dealing with her own grief and suddenly getting pulled into a mystery at the behest of her niece, Zoe. Mariana’s investigation takes her into the secret lives and goings on of a university group called the Maidens. As she tries to investigate, Mariana discovers the mysterious leader of the Maidens, and her suspicions grow as the case unfolds.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book and I definitely didn’t see a lot of the plot twists coming. A key element of this thriller lies in the pacing- while the plot is slower in the first half, this feels intentional in order to build suspense. At points it felt a little exposition heavy but there is payoff in the end with a gripping conclusion. I especially liked the tie in of Greek mythology throughout- this was done in a way that added to the mystery and suspenseful atmosphere without feeling overdone.
The atmosphere of the book is another feature I’d like to highlight. I think this book could definitely appeal to fans of dark academia- the university setting is emphasized throughout and academic references are strategically utilized. As the pacing of the book picked up, the background that had been well developed in the first half of the book greatly added to the tension.
The only reason this book ended up being a 4 out of 5 stars for me was because I overall didn’t love the character development. I wanted to see more growth for Mariana across the story and more of certain side characters that were interesting and contributed to the unique atmosphere cultivated throughout the novel. However, while I didn’t find the characterization the most compelling aspect of the book, the novel does feel more plot and atmosphere driven and so this wasn’t a defining issue for me.
The Maidens is a book that I predict is going to be a hugely popular read this year. If you like dark academia, Greek mythology, and psychological thrillers, I would highly recommend checking this one out!
Also, I just want to shout out the partnership between Celadon Books and Little Free Library! Celadon has been partnering with readers and Little Free Library to leave free copies of some of their books in Little Free Libraries! This was how I was able to read an ARC of this novel, and I was so excited to be able to read and share my thoughts! Definitely check out Celadon on instagram to learn more about this program!
What dark academia thriller should I pick up next?
Thank you for stopping by!