by Elliott, David

The best-selling author of the Evangeline Mudd series updates the classic story of Theseus and the Minotaur in a darkly comedic, versed adaptation specifically tailored to the interests of today's young adults. Simultaneous eBook. 20,000 first printing.

David Elliott is a New York Times best-selling children's author. His most recent titles include On the Wing, Nobody's Perfect, and The Orq books. Born in Ohio, David currently lives in New Hampshire with his wife and a three-footed dog. www.davidelliottbooks.com

*Starred Review* This striking reexamination of the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur maintains the bones of the original story: Minos, King of Crete, angers sea god Poseidon, who exacts his revenge not on the king but on the king's wife. Queen Pasiphae, seduced by a bull, births Asterion, the famed future Minotaur, who is ultimately locked in a labyrinth and killed by hero Theseus. Elliott focuses this novel in verse on Asterion and the women in his family, painting them in a particularly sympathetic light. Rotating first-person narrations appear in a variety of poetic forms. Poseidon takes on the role of irreverent, anachronistic narrator, as he raps the story ("Life's not for wimps. / Sometimes gods are gods / And sometimes they're pimps"); Pasiphae grows increasingly nonsensical; Asterion speaks in childlike rhymes; Daedalus, labyrinth builder, is ever the architect with rigid, four-line stanzas; and princess Ariadne's flowery language is imbued with a clever slant rhyme that belies her coquettish facade. When Theseus the hero finally struts onto the page, it's with significant frat-bro swagger ("Ariadne! What a rack! / I knew I'd get her in the sack / As for her bro? / He won't outlive me. / No sweat. / In time they all forgive me"). Effective both for classrooms and pleasure reading, this modernization brings new relevancy to an old story. It's a conceit that easily could have floundered; in Elliott's capable hands, it soars. Copyright 2016 Booklist Reviews.

A saucy, brash retelling of the Greek myth of the Minotaur. In a series of dramatic monologues with no settings, Elliott updates the voices of Poseidon, Minos, Daedalus, Pasiphae, Asterion, and Ariadne, each in its own poetic form. Poseidon dominates in word count and attitude: if "[y]ou think a god should be more refined? / … / Never / Bawdy / Raunchy / Racy / Rude? / News Flash: / You don't want a god. / You want a prude." Angry at king Minos, he considers direct revenge ("Boils! / Scabs! / Gills! / A snout! / [Turn] his / Ding-dong / Inside / Out!") but instead gives Queen Pasiphae "a thing / For the white bull's thang." Asterion the Minotaur is born. He grows to age 17, bleakly miserable, tortured by Minos, finally imprisoned in the iconic maze; even his sister Ariadne can't break him out, and eventually he falls to Theseus. Poseidon considers Minos "a dick! / But also so much fun to hate"; some readers will think exactly that about Poseidon too, while others will r esent just how much fun Poseidon is to hate, given his misogynistic women-are-crazy/women-are-whores snark about Pasiphae, whose woes he literally created himself. Elliott's absolutely magnetic rhythms will wake up any high school class, and the book could also work as a play. Irresistible, slick, and sharp (no bull!)—with plenty of bull to dissect. (cast of characters, author's notes) (Verse fiction. 14 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2016 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.


There beneath the palace walls
the monster rages, foams, bawls,
calling out again and again,

No other sound
but the scrape
of horn
on stone,
the grinding cranch of human bone
under callused human foot.



Whaddup, bitches?

Am I right or am I right?
That bum Minos deserved what he got.
I mean, I may be a god, but I&;m not
Unreasonable, and when I am, so

Like I said,
I&;m a god.
Reason&;s got nuthin&;
To do with it.

But let&;s get back to where it all started:
Minos comes to me,
Mewling like a baby,
Frowny-faced, heavy-hearted.
He&;s got a hunger, he says,
A hankering, a jones, a thing.
But not for a woman!
This jerk wants to be king!
An island so dazzling
It could cure the friggin&;
Blind. But it&;s not the friggin&;
Scenery this friggin&;
Minos has in mind.

Not the harbors or the shores,
The god-possessed waters.
Not the sheep, the trusty shepherds,
Their warlike sons, their lusty daughters.
Not the olives or the figs,
The sacred, long-lived trees.
Not the amber honey
Or the honey-making bees.
Not the thyme-drunk lovers
Who sigh among its flowers.

All this clown wants
Is a little power.
He&;s got an appetite for obedience,
But no imagination.
And he doesn&;t ask for much&;?
Just his own private nation.

So he wonders
If I&;d give the people
An omen,
A sign,
Something impressive,
He says, something divine.
Anything to prove
He&;s the man
For the royal job.

So what the fuck, I think.
I&;m gonna help this slob.

Why not?
I got plenty o&; nifty tricks
Up this metaphorical sleeve.
And you mortals?
You&;re ready to believe
Anything to prove
A god&;s on your side.
Besides, I got no dog in this fight.
No skin off my hide.
So, I wave my trusty trident;
Ain&;t nuthin&; for me.
And abra-cadabra!

A milk-white bull
Comes walking
Out of the wine-dark sea.

The oldest trick in the book!
A piece o&; cake.
But it doesn&;t take
Much to bring you
Mortals to your knees.

Yeah, you&;re hard to respect
But easy to please.

So Minos gets it all&;?
The palace, the power.
Big Man on Knossos.
Man of the Hour.

But all of a sudden,
He won&;t play nice.

He was supposed to sacrifice
That bull
To me!
Poseidon, baby!
King of the Sea!
Tamer of Horses!
Old Earth-Shaker!
And one helluva troublemaker
When some jerk shirks
His responsibility and
Won&;t keep his word.

So this Minos,
This &;king,&;
This two-faced
Hid my bull and
Sacrificed another.
Like I&;m some kind of mark!
A pigeon!
His younger brother!
A harebrain!
An idiot!
A jamook!
A snot-nosed kid!

The guy&;s all ego.


I could have turned his eyes
Into a nest for seething wasps.
I could have turned his face
Into a snapping clam.
I could have given him hooves
Or studded the roof
Of his mouth with thorns.
Could have fitted him with horns.
Made him smell like an outhouse.
Covered him with zits.
Turned his arms into eels.
His teeth into snails.
Bleat like a sea cow.
Blow like a whale.
A snout!
Turned his
I could have.
But I didn&;t.

Parlor games.
A touch too mild.
Child&;s play.
And Poseidon&;s no child.

He needed something
He&;d remember
His whole stinkin&; life.
That&;s why I bypassed him . . .

And went after his wife.

When you play with the gods,
You&;re playing fast and loose.
Enough small talk&;?
I&;ve got a sea nymph to seduce.

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