Friday, March 24, 2017

Book review - Bull

Title: Bull
Author: David Elliot
Genre: retelling
Similar books: Underworld by Meg Cabot
                      Young Olympians series by Jane Yolen
a bit disappointing

Summary (provided by publisher): SEE THE STORY OF THESEUS AND THE MINOTAUR
Minos thought he could
Pull a fast one
On me,
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 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.    

My opinion: It's not of ten that novels explore the emotions and motivations of the monster, so I was really looking forward to this one. My response, though, is mixed.
What I liked - The verse novel format keeps the pacing snappy. It's not weighted down with excess description and reflection. Additionally, it's a nod back to the original Greek storytelling method with a modern, near hip-hop, feel. Each character's perspective takes a slightly different format, helping to differentiate character and reflecting some aspect of their personality.
What I didn't like - This novel presumes that the reader has more than a passing familiarity with the tale of Theseus and the Minotaur, simply referencing several details and never really telling the reader how the myth ends. Even more troubling for me, it bills itself as the story from the Minotaur's perspective. But Asterion gets very few pages. As the story progresses, he gets fewer lines. Asterion remains largely unsympathetic.

More information: Bull releases March 28.
Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley.

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