E-book, 337 Pages
Adult/ Thriller/ Mystery
By: Alex Michaelides
“Reading about life was no preparation for living it.”
According to the author’s profile in GR The Silent Patient was the biggest-selling debut in the world in 2019! I think that puts a lot of pressure on the author to provide something with a high quality and sadly, I can’t say that this one lived to the expectations!
The Maidens is a standalone story following Mariana Andros who is a group therapist, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge and she decides to visit to provide some support and decides to stay after that to uncover the truth. The story is a thriller/ mystery story and here’s the thing: The thriller part worked for me, I remember reading The Silent Patient with 4 of my friends and we all finished it within 24 hours because it was such a gripping read and The Maidens was kind of similar in that regard. The multiple short chapters and fast pacing made it an addicting read.
What did not work for me was the mystery part, I figured out the murderer early on the story and I was so sure of it. Usually when a murder mystery story points to a character, it is safe to say that they did not do it. The author mentions his inspirations for the story and the authors that gave him joy when he was a teenager and he starts by mentioning the queen of mystery herself, Agatha Christie! I mentioned that the plot in the first book was similar to one of Christie’s books but the author put his own touch on it and I respected that. This time as a big fan of Christie, I can say that Agatha would have been disappointed.
The writing is good most of the time, there are a few weird quotes but overall, I found it easy to read. The writing is also atmospheric specially with the dark academia settings!
The characters are the downside of this book, Mariana is not someone I hated, but I wasn’t a big fan of her either. I think her job as a group therapist should made the psychological aspect stronger but she missed the most obvious things and only proved how bad at her job she is. Also let’s not forget the police, who almost do nothing in the book and are clueless when it comes to investigations. The males in the book were all creepy and I did not understand why. I thought some of the subplots would lead to something more important but they were actually left loose!
“Don’t glorify the events of your life and try to give them meaning. There is no meaning. Life means nothing. Death means nothing. But she didn’t always think that way.”
Summary: I did not hate the story but I wasn’t impressed either! The Silent Patient was definitely better. The story is gripping and I enjoyed the fast pacing and writing but the characters and plot were predictable, cliched and did not make sense to me. The whodunit part was very easy to guess but the motive was unpredictable as it was not foreshadowed properly! I still think I am going to give Alex’s next novel a chance but for the time being, I am sticking to the queen herself who inspired those books!