A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away --- oops, wrong story. My bad. A long time ago in Greece, the poet Ovid wrote of the Minotaur and Theseus in the Labyrinth. What if that wasn’t the actual story? Phillip W. Simpson, author of the Rapture Trilogy, gives readers a twist on an old tale: MINOTAUR. His Ovid meets the Minotaur years after the supposed incident with Theseus in the Labyrinth.
Asterion tells his life story to Ovid. He is one of King Minos’s seven children, and to say his family is dysfunctional is an understatement. It turns out that Asterion isn’t really the child of Minos; he’s a demigod, son of Poseidon. He loves his sister Phaedra, who isn’t really his sister because they don’t share the same mother. Some of his siblings are cruel, but none are as cruel as their father. Due to Asterion’s deformity (he has bull horns), he is set apart and reviled. When he flees Crete, he meets Theseus and they become friends. Eventually, Asterion finds himself back in Crete, imprisoned in the famed Labyrinth, and known as a hideous monster. The true story of his escape is nothing like the myth that survived centuries.
Wait until a weekend to start, since you’ll stay up all night to finish it!
I appreciated that even though Asterion suffered emotional and physical abuse and neglect, he doesn’t grow bitter. Rather, he grows wise and learns to cherish the few people who accept him, revealing that he is loyal.
If you love mythology, you will love this book. However, I wouldn’t recommend it to younger readers --- Ovid is a drunk and, though the scenes are not terribly graphic, there is a great deal of slaughter throughout the book. There’s also a lot of focus on the emotional pain of an innocent child who struggles to understand why others don’t like him. Older readers should definitely read MINOTAUR, though, as long as they wait until a weekend to start, since they’ll stay up all night to finish it! Readers might need a box of tissues, too!
Reviewed by Cat S., Teen Board member on September 29, 2015