Review: The Maidens

  • Title: The Maidens
  • Author: Alex Michaelides
  • Genre: Mystery, Thriller
  • Year: 2021
  • Synopsis: Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University, he is adored by everyone —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 becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students?

The Maidens is a page-turner psychological thriller following Mariana, a group therapist who finds herself involved in the murders happening in Cambridge.

There are two narrators in this novel. Mariana’s perspective is written in the third person, while other chapters are anonymous recountings written in the first person — presumably the murderer. We don’t know this for sure.

I guessed who the killer was halfway through the book, although I was hoping to be wrong. However, I would’ve never guessed the motive. The plot twist at the end was something I hadn’t expected.

There is also a crossover with The Silent Patient, a few of its characters make appearances here, providing the readers with some “aha” moments. So I do think you’ll enjoy The Maidens more if you’ve already read The Silent Patient. You can read my review on The Silent Patient here.

I liked the references to Greek mythology and how they combined well with the suspense. It leaves the reader guessing whether it’s all really just mythology or if the Greek gods do hold some sort of power. Maybe it’s all just a coincidence.

However, some parts felt like textbook explanations of psychology. Don’t get me wrong, as a psychologist myself I enjoyed it, but it made me feel like I was in university again. Perhaps the author should’ve shown more and explained less.

But overall a must-read!

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Review: The Song of Achilles

  • Title: The Song of Achilles
  • Author: Madeline Miller
  • Genre: Historical fiction / Mythology
  • Year: 2011
  • Synopsis: Achilles, “the best of all the Greeks,” son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and the legendary king Peleus, is strong, swift, and beautiful, irresistible to all who meet him. Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled from his homeland after an act of shocking violence. Brought together by chance, they forge an inseparable bond, despite risking the gods’ wrath. They are trained by the centaur Chiron in the arts of war and medicine, but when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, all the heroes of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the cruel Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

I feel that all has already been said regarding this book, so I’ll keep this review brief. It is a beautiful retelling of The Iliad, told from Patroclus’ point of view. Even if you’ve already read The Iliad, I promise this book will captivate you.

The relationship between Achilles and Patroclus is magnetic, blissful, and heartbreaking all at the same time. Here we witness how their friendship and relationship evolve as they grow. I knew how the ending would go, but I was still hoping that they’d be given the chance to have a life together because they deserved it.

Madeline Miller’s prose is remarkable, the words flow like poems within paragraphs. And Patroclus’ narration cuts the gap between the characters and the reader, making you feel a part of the story. I deliberately read the book slower than usual because I did not want it to end.

If you like greek mythology and romance, this is book is for you. And even if these genres aren’t your type, give The Song of Achilles a try, it will not disappoint. It’s my first time reading a book by the author and it certainly won’t be the last.

Overall rating: 5 / 5

“We were like gods at the dawning of the world, & our joy was so bright we could see nothing else but the other.”

Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles