The Maidens – Alex Michaelides

How do I start? This book was probably one of the worst books of 2021, it most definitely didn’t live up to the hype, not only mine to this one specifically but also to the hype from its predecessor The Silent Patient. This book was awful.

First, the writing. This writing is so bad, it was dull. I admit I read 60% of this in one sitting, but then I took a break, ate something, you know just chilled, and then I went back to it to read the last 40% and that was the worst 1h30 of my day. I seriously struggled to get through this, I was almost thinking about dropping this book. The bad writing in itself, which by the way has this author never heard of describing things? Of showing instead of telling? Was complimented by the awful, cringe-worthy dialogue. There’s just way too much dialogue, and they are so poorly written they literally say nothing, they help nothing, I don’t understand this excessive use of it. I couldn’t even get a grip on the setting given how much dialogue there was, I just wish for once the author would describe something.

Same as its debut book, this one features a psychiatrist protagonist, and honestly not only it felt a little repetitive, it also felt a bit confusing, as if plot points and characters actions were meant to understand and explained through the eyes of this protagonist, and it got extremely boring after a while. I also felt no empathy toward this protagonist, I feel like we don’t get to really know her, and that she is too unidimensional. Also, I don’t like any of the other characters, more particularly the men. All the men around her, the man whom she counsels in group therapy, the professor at Cambridge, and the random guy she meets on the street, are all so effing, weird. All of them behave extremely obnoxiously (I still don’t understand the point of Henry existing in this book), creepy and weird towards the protagonists, and she keeps these men around in her life, I mean like what? What kind of portrayal of a female character is that?

Literally, every character in this book felt flat, and also extremely forced or caricatured to be called out “this is the bad guy” there was no morally grey area, no construction, no nothing. It felt really annoying to read.

Third, this book has basically zero plot. Until about 60% nothing was happening, and I get that some thrillers make the reader wait until the last second to spill the truth, but they at least keep it interesting along the ride. This one was just a massive letdown. The plot is just so unsatisfying, and the plot twist? Boy, I saw that coming. The “explanation” behind that is just ludicrous and out of the blue. For me, it’s just an artifice and a poor excuse of a “plot twist” instead of just constructing something that is believable and has a basis throughout the story. I’d like to point to these two reviews,
Kirkus and Post that sum up some other feelings I’ve had for this book.

Overall, this was a poorly executed story, it is most certainly not a Dark Academia, not a good nod to Greek myths and not a good thriller

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