Bull [Book Review & Giveaway!]
Synopsis: SEE THE STORY OF THESEUS AND THE MINOTAUR
IN A WHOLE NEW LIGHT
Minos thought he could
Pull a fast one
God of the Sea!
But I’m the last one
On whom you
Should try such a thing.
The nerve of that guy.
The balls. The audacity.
I AM THE OCEAN!
I got capacity!
Depths! Darkness! Delphic power!
So his sweet little plan
Went big-time sour
And his wife had a son
Born with horns and a muzzle
Who ended up
In an underground puzzle.
What is it with you mortals?
You just can’t seem to learn:
If you play with fire, babies,
You’re gonna get burned.
Much like Lin-Manuel Miranda did in Hamilton, the New York Times best-selling author David Elliott turns a classic on its head in form and approach, updating the timeless story of Theseus and the Minotaur for a new generation. A rough, rowdy, and darkly comedic young adult retelling in verse, Bull will have readers reevaluating one of mythology’s most infamous monsters.
Review: I won a copy of this book in the Instagram giveaway from HMH Kids. As soon as I saw the cover on Instagram, I knew I wanted this book. I might be one of those kind of readers, but I have to admit that it’s just one beautiful cover. All the cover love. And when I heard it was about Greek mythology as well. After reading the Percy Jackson series, I have a love for all things Greek mythology. So I was incredibly happy when I won an ARC copy of the book.
I have to say, this is the fifth novel in verse I’ve ever read, and they continuously surprise me. I really like the room they give each author to play with the style, and how they can morph it to fit the novel. Elliott really takes advantage of the opportunity, using a different style for each character. When one of the characters go insane, the form of the poems change to show how spaced out her thoughts are. I won’t say which character spends some of the book in a dark place, but then the pages are black, which just added to the atmosphere of the novel and the setting. It really suited the story.
I also liked the retelling aspect of things, and the fact that it did not alter the story. This novel stays true to the original myth, down to a fault. I have read alternated versions, so it was nice to get the true story (well, as true as a myth can be.)
I did feel like reading this one was a little bit awkward in the beginning. Mostly because the myth cannot begin without a woman sleeping with a bull to make the Minotaur. Which of course, is a pretty awkward event to bridge in a young adult novel. I feel like the author struggled a little bit with handling that so that he could get on with telling the story. I know he tried to keep the story clean as well, which is why the beginning felt a little off. But once the myth is set on its way, it improves.
At the same time though, I wondered why he had such an issue with bridging that beginning seeing as there is a lot of language in this novel. Not an overwhelming amount, but enough for parents not to want the younger young adults to be reading this one. So if it’s mostly for the mature young adult readers anyway, there’s not really such a need to hop and skip over the beginning as much as he did.
Other than that though, I really liked this story. I really liked getting to see everyone’s character, and how we got to really view the story from everyone’s perspective. Having all these unique characters and seeing how the plot wove together, with Poseidon narrating it all, showed how much detail there really is incorporated in this myth.
I really enjoyed reading this one. I flew through it in about an hour, and I think many other readers will really enjoy this one too!
Olivia’s Question: What’s your favourite myth?