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Book Review : THE MAIDENS by Alex Michealides

ByThe Rise Insight

Sep 9, 2021

Book: The Maidens
Author: Alex Michealides
Publisher: RHUK India ltd.

After completing the book Silent patient, I had a strong feeling of regret on reading it, as the climax felt way too much loose to me. Moreover, a film that already had the same ending, gave me a big spoiler and was disappointing with the hype the book received. But I was caught up with the fact that the language employed in the book was way too much perfect that no reader would keep the book down. This quality in language, the logical implication of plot, and heights of imagination led me to choose Alex Michealides second and latest book, “The Maidens”. I began this book with zero expectations and little hope for the author’s command over language and storytelling.

As soon as the book began, I could trace all those hallmark instances by the author in the book. The instance where the lead character herself being an emotionally unstable person, having her inner conflicts as it was about Theo Faber in Silent Patient. Also, the lead character having childhood trauma, hallucinations, sufferings, etc. was a similarity that I drew from reading. The best part is that the pattern of narration and sequences of the story was quite similar to Silent Patient.

The first book was an inquiry into the truth while the second one leads to a point of self-realization. Mariana, being a highly emotional person, who has lost her only love on earth- Sebastian on a vacation trip to Naxos, later finds her purpose in life by taking care of Zoe, the adopted child of the couple. Zoe, in her college, becomes a part of the secret gang “the maidens” run by Professor Edward Fosca who has cast spells on his students by way of his charismatic classes, strongly built body, and classical Greek tragedy classes. But unfortunate things happen in the college where one after the other, the girls in the gang are put to death. Being Zoe’s only resort Mariana decides to find the murderer. She sets her journey keeping all her priorities aside and encounters different situations that directly point over Mr. Fosca till the last moment. Very late does Mariana realize what her life was made up of.

Death is an important symbol in the story that frequently appears in different forms beginning from Sebastian’s death to the death of Mariana, as a person. Also, the book is rich with Greek literature figures, plays, lines, and references which make the story one of a kind. The Greek goddess of death- Persephone who is the daughter of Demeter, goddess of life symbolizes who inevitable truths of lives are bound together or connected- just like Mariana and Sebastian. The power of poems as a drug that relieves the soul is well exemplified in the book by way of using Tennyson as an image of lost love similar to Mariana who lost Sebastian. The book goes through the mind of Mariana who is in search of solid proof against Mr. Fosca and fixes the puzzle piece by piece which was a trap laid on her, to which she surrendered.

There is a striking line in the book; “And men are not to be trusted”- by the end of the story we come to know why this line has such a strong role in the book. The book also has Ruth and Theo Faber as guest appearances who are the characters in the former book by the author himself. Such intertextuality was pretty much important in the story which gave a new direction to the same and as every time, Ruth, the therapist played a very crucial role in this story too. The impact of blinded love form is the most dangerous poison and when people with power employ it, we tend to serve it with pride- which can be dangerous. At every instance, we find a male character in the story being put into the spotlight as guilty.

Overall, the book consists of perspectives, references, comparisons, emotion, fear, anger, revenge, wildness, confusion yet a realistic form of expressing what happens in life. This realistic aspect hits differently. The book isn’t a psychological thriller like Silent patient but is psychological suspense for sure. One of the good reads of the year. My rating would be 4 out of 5.

About the reviewer:

Kavi Krish is a freelancer, literature enthusiast and a Teacher Trainee by profession based in Kerala. She has been fascinated by the world of literature from a very early age and is extremely interested in Indian Mythology, crime thrillers, fantasy and fiction. Besides reading, she is a passionate artist and photographer.


Medium : https://medium.com/@kavyalayanair 

Instagram: www.instagram.com/a_crony_scribbler

By The Rise Insight

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