The Silent Patient vs. The Maidens

Today I’m going to mix things up a bit. What’s that saying? Ah, yes. I’m going to kill two birds with one stone; if those birds were books and the stone, this post.

I’m reviewing The Silent Patient and The Maidens by Alex Michaelides. I actually read The Silent Patient last year and never got around to writing a post about it, so this is one part genius and the other part procrastination.

These books proved to be highly exciting, and if you’re a fan of the thriller genre, then you’re going to need to add these to your TBR list stat.

The Silent Patient

Perhaps some of us are simply born evil, and despite our best efforts we remain that way.

Alex Michaelides, The Silent Patient

The Silent Patient is about a silent patient, which goes to show how accurate the title is. Alicia Berenson refuses to speak after killing her husband in cold blood. Enter Theo Faber, a specially trained psychotherapist, who starts a new job at The Grove Psychiatric Facility to find out what the whole world is dying to know: why Alicia Berenson killed her husband and why she refuses to speak since that fateful night.

The more Theo digs into Alicia’s past, the more he realizes that nothing is what it seems. He begins to discover that maybe Alicia isn’t as crazy as the whole world has been led to believe. As more information is revealed you’ll begin to think that maybe there’s a reason for her madness….

This book shook me like an earthquake shakes the ground. From the moment Theo Faber enters The Grove until the very last page, you will be hooked. We’ve got alternating perspectives of Theo and Alicia. A crazy person’s perspective vs. a not-so-crazy person’s perspective. In one chapter you’re reading about Theo’s investigation into the murder and his therapy sessions with Alicia. In the next, you’re learning about Alicia’s life leading up to when she shoots her husband.

If it isn’t obvious already, this book has twists and turns like you wouldn’t believe and if you aren’t shocked by the insane ending then you are probably an insane person, or really good at solving mysteries.

The Silent Patient was Alex Michaelides’ debut novel, and it’s a gem you shouldn’t deprive yourself of.

The Maidens

After all, everyone’s entitled to be the hero of their own story. So I must be permitted to be the hero of mine. Even though I’m not. I’m the villain.

Alex Michaelides, The Maidens

This time our story begins when Mariana, a recently widowed psychotherapist, goes to Cambridge after her niece’s best friend is found murdered on campus. While originally there to offer Zoe emotional support, Mariana becomes invested in solving the murder. And when she suspects Edward Fosca, a popular and handsome professor at Cambridge, of being the murderer, she’s met with a lot of skepticism. I mean, how could a handsome man with a lot of influence be a murderer? It’s unheard of!

Her accusations are valid considering Fosca is the advisor to a secret society of female students on campus known as the Maidens. A group that Zoe’s BFF was a part of. It’s also discovered that Zoe’s best friend received a lot of special attention from Fosca.

Also, keep in mind that Mariana has recently lost the love of her life, so it becomes a struggle for her to keep Zoe’s spirits high whilst grieving her late husband. There are definitely moments where you’ll be thinking Mariana should get some psychotherapy for herself.

This book focuses on Mariana’s perspective with a few chapters of random journal entries sprinkled throughout. It’s not made entirely clear who the author of these journal entries is, but it’s definitely assumed that their Fosca’s. I’m not saying it’s not Edward Fosca, but I’m also not saying it’s not him either. It could be him, but it could also not be him.

The ending is definitely shocking with a pinch of disturbingly sad. I imagine you’ll be quite confused and quietly sad upon reading the last few chapters of this book. You may even need five to ten minutes to stare blankly at the wall.

Just Read Them

It’s clear that Michaelides has a lot of interest in greek mythology and crazy people, and I’m here for it. I say to you sir, keep writing books and I’ll keep reading those books. While some might believe The Silent Patient is superior, I believe both were well-written and executed. Therefore, I grant them the “Just Read It” stamp of approval.

*Side Note: I would highly suggest that you read The Silent Patient before reading The Maidens. Theo makes a guest appearance in Mariana’s storyline which you’ll appreciate even more by reading The Silent Patient first. Just sayin’.

Happy reading, book nerds!

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