Bull

by David Elliot

Read this in about 5 minutes

I prowl
The senseless alleys
Of the maze
In the darkness
And asphyxiating
Solitude.

There used to be a monster. Half man and half bull. Often ridiculed, he became the face of the evil. Then came a prince who slayed the monster and everyone lived happily ever after. It is quite heard of Greek myth. Goodness triumphs over evil and that’s how a great tale is born which is told over and over to the generations to come. But what happens when the evil side is given a voice.

David Elliot has done a wonderful work in this retelling of the tale of Minotaur.

Cover: Bull

Cover page

The cover contains the illustration of a bull which, no doubt, is Minotaur. Inside the face of the bull is the nursery that Asterion sings. The idea to keep the cover page simple is lovely. The slight glimpse of different narrative style in the book is interesting. The composition is great.

Characters

The book is essentially the story of Asterion or Minotaur as we all know it. But each character is given a voice of his own.

The sea god Poseidon is offended by a deed and he decides to punish. He is naughty and proud. He is a god and he knows it.

Minos is the king of Crete and half father of Minotaur. Pasiphae is the wife of Minos. She is also the bearer of the animosity between Minos and the God of the sea. There are several other characters which are mentioned in the myth too, each serving their part well. All the characters are great epic.

Content

It is the story of the non-winners in a mythological tale. This is what makes the story extraordinary.

Minotaur here is given a chance to narrate his side of the story. The book begins with the pride of Poseidon and anger of Minos. Poseidon, when disrespected, casts a spell of Pasiphae as a result of which she fornicates with a bull. This unusual copulation gives birth to Asterion. Pasiphae is advised to throw the child off the cliff or into the ocean, but the mother’s affection does not allow her. Asterion lives but his life is a living hell. He does not make friends. Hell, he cannot even talk because of his thick lips. He grows up to modified nursery rhymes and self-loathing.

Mommy had a little calf.
Little calf.
Little calf.
Mommy has a little calf.
His nose is black as tar.

The entire book reveals the depressing side of Asterion’s story, even though the myth remains the same.

Language

The way the story is written is the highlight of the book. The book originally meant for teenage reading is sure to become a sensation among other age groups too. The bluntness and pride of Poseidon, the anger of Minos, the helplessness of Pasiphae and the self-hatred of Asterion is aptly described.

The poetic narration is catchy. It keeps the story rolling and helps you understand the temperament of each character. There is a mix of literary tools used, which convey the skill possessed by the author.

Adriane, Minotaur’s sister promises the Bull that there is a plan. The thrill is revealed in one word in each page. The spaces are used in narration with panache. The thrill and the sorrow are aptly expressed with the spacing amongst each word and sentence.

This is definitely the best-narrated books I have read in a while.

Good points

The cover is beautiful. It is definitely one to own hard copy of. The characters are unique, we all know. But here they are quite relatable. The content is from the perspective of the losers. It is definitely to watch out for. But it is the narration that takes the cake away. A book which is narrated well makes a mark on the readers for life. This one surely has done the job well.

Bad points

The length is short. The book finishes soon. It leaves you wishing for more. But isn’t it with all great books?

Overall

This is definitely one of the best books I have read this year.

Whom do I recommend this to

This is for those who like a great narration. Those who like the retelling of classic tales are going to enjoy it too. I recommend it to all the readers alike. This one is not to be missed.

Quotable quotes

Poseidon

What?
You think a god should be more refined?
All touchy-feely?
No bump and grind?
Never uncouth?
Pure of mouth?
Pure of heart?
Never belch
Or swear
Or scratch himself
Or fart?
Never
Bawdy
Raunchy
Racy
Rude?
News flash:
You don’t want a God.
You want a prude.

Asterion

I’d fly away. I’d leave them all behind.
Then they’d look up.
Instead of down on me.

Asterion

I watch Androgeos and try
To be like him.
But a rock can never fly.
A stone can’t swim.

Poseidon

I’m talkin’ ’bout physics.
If it goes up, baby,
It’s comin’ down.

Adriane

There’s danger in sanity.

Poseidon

Along with that sorry hive
Of thirteen sacrificial goats
Don’t tell me.
I know: Since I said hive
I should call it bees.
But I’m Poseidon.
I do what I please:
Call heaven a hell,
A ceiling a floor.
So I mix my metaphors,
Grin and swallow.
I’m Poseidon. Not Apollo.

I received an ARC of the book from the publisher. The opinion is my own, completely uninfluenced.