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Book - 2017
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A modern twist on the Theseus and Minotaur myth, told in verse.
Publisher: Boston :, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,, [2017]
ISBN: 9780544610606
Branch Call Number: Y FIC ELLI
Characteristics: 189 pages ; 22 cm


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I devoured this book in one sitting, which is such a great bonus to verse novels. They're quick but impactful, easy to read yet have the potential for so much fun and intrigue. This was definitely a verse novel done right.

This is a retelling of the Theseus and the Minotaur myth, but with a lot more background information about the Minotaur, whose real name is Asterion. Asterion is shunned by Minos, king of Crete, who made a deal with Poseidon to get that position; his mother, Pasiphae, loves him, as does his sister, Ariadne, but when his father builds a maze to lock him in and sacrifice people to, there's not much that he can do. So he does what any of us would do: he thinks a lot of angsty thoughts. A lot.

Basically, if you love Greek mythology and you're open to anything genre-wise, this book is an absolute riot. It's told in alternating perspectives from each of those main characters, and by far, Poseidon was my favourite. He's like that kind of well-meaning uncle who gives you money and then lets you go with it and just watches on with a kind of dark glee when you buy things you're not supposed to and get in trouble for it. Everyone has a different form that their poems adhere to which really makes each character's voice distinct, and especially with Ariadne and Pasiphae, I felt that those forms really exemplified them. They felt like their personalities, which is really cool, and a very interesting aspect of verse novels that I hadn't really considered before this.

The myth isn't really retold here - everything you expect to happen still does - but the way David plays with the characters and gives them intriguing back stories and character motivation is so much fun. I did especially love Theseus for being such an absolute asshole. The only reason I take off a star is because I wanted more somehow. I wanted more from either the characters or the myth or something that I just can't put my finger on. It just felt like it moved SO fast that I wanted to slow down and ponder things a bit more.

As I said, this is a quick read, but totally fun and worth the hour it takes to whip through it. I laughed out loud a few times, which I didn't expect going into the book. The characters are witty and intense, funny and sarcastic, and the verse novel format worked so well especially for those clever quips and hilarious commentary from everyone's favourite only-slightly-evil god of the sea.

Mar 15, 2020

This only took me about two hours to read but has a huge impact. Such a heartbreaking story told in an inventive way. Loved the verse and the author's attention to style.

A_Jeffery Dec 19, 2018

I loved Elliot's interpretation of the Minotaur myth!

DBRL_BriannaD Aug 15, 2018

I don't normally go for poetry, but man! This novel in verse packs a punch. I love Greek mythology, so it was a delight to start on the familiar ground of the Minotaur, but the author took it so much further than that. Having Poseidon as a narrator created a fascinating contrast between the deeply felt emotions of Asterion (the Minotaur) and his family, and the irreverent, uncaring attitude of the gods. The different poetic styles of each character were a great deal of fun, and the author's afterword describing them is well worth the read. I certainly recommend this book for fans of mythology or fans of poetry! It's a quick read, and well worth your time.

ArapahoeTiegan Jun 11, 2018

What an amazing way to tell the story of Asterion, the Minotaur! I loved that Elliott gave each character their own voice - each person had a different style of poetry that defined how they spoke. I found Poseidon hilarious - the way he spoke and the things he had to say were brilliant. I felt so bad for Asterion and truly was rooting for him and Ariadne to escape - this connection with characters is not quite so typical for me in novels in verse, so yet another point for Elliott! Seriously fun book!

May 10, 2018

Would make an excellent audiobook, especially if narrated by a rapper.

mko123 Dec 20, 2017

This author does to the Greek myths what Lin Manuel-Miranda did to Hamilton. This story -done-in-verse of trechory, betrayal and a pernicious Poseidon has all the vim and energy of a current rap song.

Austenite1975 Dec 06, 2017

I enjoy retellings that give the reader a new perspective on an old story, and this is one of my new favorites! Told in verse, using a vernacular familiar to teens, this story made me really feel for the minotaur.

ArapahoeStaff29 Aug 20, 2017

A super quick and fun look at the story of theseus and the minotaur in quirky silly and sometimes dirty verse!

Lisa_Marie_C Jul 13, 2017

This dark retelling reads like rap lyrics and blends exquisitely flawed characters with madness, heartache, and bawdy humour.

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Gods and kings.
It’s best not to thwart us.
Humor our little whims.
Love us. Court us.
Light a candle.
Sing some hymns.
Shout ‘Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!’
Then maybe we’ll be better to ya
(If I can speak colloquially).
But let’s drop this theology.


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