ARC REVIEW: Bull – by David Elliott

Title: Bull
Author: David Elliott

Genre: YA, Poetry, Mythology
First published: March 28th 2017
Publisher: HMH Books For Young Readers
Finished reading: March 16th 2017
Pages: 200

“Minos says I’m nothing more than Nothing.

Can Nothing take a form and call it me?

But Nothing is ever what it seems.

Watch Nothing laugh.

See Nothing cry.

Hear Nothing scream.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and HMH Books For Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I have a weak spot for (Greek) mythology retellings, so I knew I had to request a copy of Bull as soon as I saw it mentioned last year. Like the title already suggests, this story written by David Elliott is a mythology retelling of the classic Greek Minotaur story I’m sure most have at least heard about. I actually translated part of it during high school so I was looking forward to revisiting the story! One thing is for sure: Bull definitely wasn’t the mythology retelling I was expecting. I’m still not sure what to make of it all, but there is no doubt it was at least both an entertaining and very original retelling. Why? Bull is a story full written in verse and each character in the story has its own unique style; very creative indeed. The writing style made me laugh more than once, although the humor might be a bit unorthodox and I’m still not sure the tone was actually appropriate. To get an idea what I mean, here’s how the story started:

“POSEIDON

Whaddup, bitches?

Am I right or am I right?
That bum Minos deserved what he got.”

Not exactly what you would expect when starting a Theseus and the minotaur retelling, right?! Still, I would recommend this story to anyone searching for an original and slightly bizarre story and to those who enjoy reading in verse and don’t mind a swearword or two.

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A story completely told in verse… Minos wanted to be king and asked for the help of Poseidon, only to deny the God his sacrifice when Minos gets what he wants. Poseidon is furious and decides to punish Minos, but the best revenge is one that’s properly planned and needs time. Minos doesn’t know it yet, but his future will change forever… Because instead of a little boy, Minos’ wife and queen will give birth to the Minotaur. And that sure is something else!

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It personally took me some time to get used to the original and unorthodox way Bull narrates the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, but I can also really appreciate the direction the author decided to take with this retelling. There is no doubt that teenagers will find it easier to connect to Bull than the original story and it has without doubt a high entertainment factor. It’s not for everyone, but the right person will definitely have a blast reading this Minotaur retelling told in verse!


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14 thoughts on “ARC REVIEW: Bull – by David Elliott

    • I’ve definitely been wondering whether to give it a higher rating as well, especially since it’s such an original and entertaining retelling… But I decided to stick with the rating I gave when I first finished it. I agree especially Asterion’s chapters are really well done; it really showed how his character slowly changed as his father tried to break him.

      • I understand completely. Because I’m familiar with his childrens books I don’t think I was taken as much by surprise. Plus, when I read about the comparisons to Hamilton I had an inkling this was going to be quite the quirky read. I think I put in my review too that Bull probably wouldn’t be for everyone.😊

      • It was my first experience with his work and I started it without investigating first, so that might explain my reaction or different expectations. 😉

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  5. I hadn’t seen this book before. The way you describe it, this book reminds me of Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood, which is a retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest that is set in a correctional institution… Definitely for a specific audience lol

    • I hadn’t heard about that one before! I like it when books are unorthodox; they are without doubt original although you have to be in the mood for them and/or belong to the right target group. 😉

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