Book Review: The Maidens By Alex Michaelides


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.


Dark academia thriller with lots of atmosphere and a truly shocking twist!
Definitely need to get a copy to annotate ah!

I don’t want to say too much about it, but this follows Mariana, a woman who is a group therapist, grieving the recent loss of her husband. When a young woman and friend of her niece is murdered at Cambridge University, Mariana returns to the campus where she met her husband for the first time since his death to support her niece. While there, she becomes involved in an unsanctioned investigation of the young professor she is convinced was the murderer.

Lots of atmosphere, quotes from ancient Greek, references to mythology, and themes involving how abusive childhoods can lead to people perpetuating abuse themselves. The story is a bit slow to get going, but once it does I really sank into the atmosphere and tension of the plot.

I’m going to say this is definitely one to go in knowing the content warnings because it can get quite dark. The murder is obvious, but there are also flashbacks to and discussions of abuse of children in various ways, as well as general abuse of power. I don’t want to get any more specific than that because spoilers, but it’s worth noting.

I think there are things about this that will bother some people, although it all felt thematically consistent to me if that makes sense to those who have read it.

This also makes me much more interested in picking up The Silent Patient by this author. Oh, and there is some crossover! There are cameos of characters in that book and references to the titular patient. I always think that kind of in-world consistency is fun to see.
I did suspect a few others of being the killer so it surprised me.
Definitely need to reread and annotate this one.

5/5 Stars


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s