I read this pretty fast, so the pace is there in some ways, but these chapters were bizarre. Short chapters are meant to serve a purpose, like to move the plot along or create tension. But these just ended mid-scene, with no tie-in to the overall themes of the book, and just picked right back up in the next chapter. If anything, this really takes you out of the scene and does nothing to transport the reader.
The red herrings! It wouldn’t be a “whodunit” if there weren’t a few suspicious characters. But there are so many random, bizarre characters introduced briefly, with little to no background, to raise suspicion, and then essentially faded to black.
Henry’s character, for example, was such a huge missed opportunity. First of all, Mariana is a terrible doctor. She doesn’t report his self-harm, abandons him, knows that he is stalking her, and does… absolutely nothing. Henry served his purpose of a red herring and then the author and Mariana ditched him. Also, what about the angry stage manager, Morris, the other Maidens, Zoe, and Edward Fosca? I did not like the idea of suspecting every single character, it made them all difficult to connect to and took away from the shock.
The one-dimensional characters. Did anyone else feel detached? These are young women, who are being taken advantage of by their professor, and there’s nothing about them — beyond their looks and their petty, mean girl behavior — that is further explored. They’re surface-level, sexist characters, that embody every stereotypical mean girl that’s ever been written in the history of all history.
The twist at the end. It was exciting and I think it’s the only thing that is going to linger in my mind from this book. At that point though, even that twist couldn’t completely save this one for me. This is a decent mystery with a surprise twist, but seriously lacking in every other area.
Click here to purchase The Maidens, by Alex Michaelides.
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