Review: Bull by David Elliott

bull by david elliottRating: 3/5 owl hoots

Published: March 28 2017

Number of pages: 200

Format: advanced reading copy

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers

Genre: retelling, myth, romance, humour

Audience: younger adult

Get it at: Chapters Indigo

Shelve it at: Goodreads

Summary:

See the story of Theseus and the Minotaur in a whole new light.

(This is very short premise from Goodreads, but it also does a good job of summarizing my experience with this story in one sentence. Read on you will see what I mean)

My Review:

I received an advance reading copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Any copying and editing of my words is strictly prohibited.

I requested this ARC without closely reading the premise. I remember reading the words “retelling” and “myth” and thinking that this was going to be another retelling about the famous Greek myth, Minos and the Minotaur. I absolutely love reading stories about mythologies and the Greeks have the most interesting, entertaining, and mostly horrifying myths I’ve read. So when I learned that Bull was a retelling of the Minotaur story I automatically requested it without thinking twice. By the time the ARC arrived and I flipped the first few pages I was in for a surprise.

Ok so I didn’t expect for the whole story to be written in verse but it’s not written in classical poetry like the Greek myths are. This is like, if I were to retell the story using my own words using slang and swear words to rhyme, and exclamation marks. My explanation may not seem appealing at first but honestly, I found this writing style fun and interesting.

If you’ve heard the myth, then you know how the story goes; it’s one of the most popular Greek myths retold over the years. This story is told in different parts and in the perspective of each character; you have Poseidon the God of the Seas and (in my head) the narrator as he introduces you to the story and the characters including poor Persiphae, cruel and arrogant King Minos, dutiful Deadelus, Asterion who will grow up to be the famous half-man and half minotaur, and Mino’s daughter: Ariedne. Each character tells their end of the story and how they are conflicted and emotional about the present events. We hear their love, lust, torment, rage, desperation, and in poor Persiphae’s case, madness as we watch her fall in psychological disrepair. There is only one person who seems to enjoy being the bystander and witnessing the events unfolding, and wouldn’t you guess, it’s the dick god Poseidon who mocks mortals for their naiveté and opinions about the immortal gods. He speaks and rhymes like a rapper that it’s hard to take him seriously sometimes; he evens opens up the story with the line: “Whaadup bitches?” Seriously that’s his first line! At first I found his narration strange and offbeat (haha see what I did there?), but then I started laughing it off because it’s completely different to what I’ve read before.

The dialogue was funny but not laugh out loud funny, and the play on words is amusing so altogether it was an entertaining read. But that’s all it was, a story that entertained me with it’s use of modern words and slangs in poetry form, and play on words to express the character’s emotional downfall; you also notice how the pages change from light to dark as Asterion turns from innocent and happy child with his kind and gentler mother to teenage minotaur who has come to terms with his monstrosity as he spirals into madness after he’s sentenced to the maze.

This is a very short story in 176 pages. So if you’re looking for a quick read with some laughs, then you might enjoy this book with it’s witty banter and playful twist to the classic Greek myth.

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