Thursday, September 28, 2017


By David Elliot
HMH Books, 2017. 200 pages. Young Adult Fiction.

When mortals cross gods, consequences follow, and it's not only the guilty who pay. BULL retells the ancient legend of the Minotaur, creature with a bull's head but a human body, in verse. All involved get to have their say: Poseidon, God of the Sea; Minos, King of Crete; Pasiphae, the Queen; Daedalus, Royal Engineer; Ariadne, the Princess; Theseus, Hero of Athens, and Asterion - or Minotaur. Man or Monster? Or is Man monster? Sometimes it's hard to tell.

As a fan of mythology and novels written in verse, this book was pretty much a win-win for me. The author took a great angle to the story and put in a lot of thoughtful work into each character's voice, using specific poem formats to help create individual, unique characters. He even incorporated visual elements to some of the poems and boy am I a sucker for that. Gorgeous! I also thought it was fun that Elliot took some cues from Greek theater; in Greek theater, the Chorus role often acts as narrator and in this book, Poseidon functions similarly. Now while I LOVED most of the poems, some of
Poseidon's parts started to grate on my nerves a bit. Partly due to the character - he's basically a frat boy on steroids - but mostly it felt like Elliot was forcing himself to keep to the format he chose to use for Poseidon, which sadly made him sound less like the narrator/Chorus and more like a cheesy emcee. Otherwise, I really enjoyed this retelling, which is gaining a reputation as the "Hamilton" of Greek mythology. Notes from the author about the myth and poetic forms are included at the back of the book and I definitely recommend you read them if you're unfamiliar with the myth or you just want to geek out about poetry.


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