Reimagining the Greek myth of the notorious half man, half beast, this book tells the tale of Asterion the Minotaur, recorded by the famous Roman poet, Ovid. “Where shall I start?” asked the Minotaur. Ovid made an expansive gesture with both hands, “Where else but the beginning of course.” The Minotaur nodded his huge head, his eyes already glazing over with the weight of a thousand year old memories. So begins the story of Asterion as he describes his boyhood in Crete under the cruel hand of his stepfather Minos, adventures with his friend, Theseus, a growing love for the beautiful Phaedra, and what really happened in the labyrinth.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)|
|Age Range:||12 - 18 Years|
About the Author
Phillip W. Simpson is a teacher and a children’s book author. Before embarking on his writing career, he joined the army as an officer cadet, worked in recruitment in both the UK and Australia, and owned a comic book shop. He is the author of How Can We Save the Cheetah?, Lion Habitats Under Threat, and Rapture. He lives in Auckland, New Zealand.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Greek myths aren’t just for scholars, and Phillip Simpson’s Minotaur isn’t just for kids. But this is a cool reimagining and vivid retelling of a young man’s coming of age in the time of legend. Heroes are human (but strong), and monsters… well, this monster at least is mostly human as well. Gods might make better fathers than some men. And relationships, like friendship, carry the bad as well as the good, because they’re real. Most readers will know the legend where Greeks youths are given in tribute each year, to be devoured in the labyrinth where the Minotaur lives. Perhaps they’ll recognize other names too in this novel. But readers who’ve never heard the myths will pick up the story quickly as elderly poet Ovid listens and interjects what he thinks he knows into the tale. (Ah, how nicely plotted—the old man who doesn’t know it all!) But Ast has a story to tell that’s not quite the same as the one we’ve heard, and the reader is gripped from beginning to end, eager to know more and totally absorbed in fascinating detail and delight. In our modern world, where “Truth often suffers for the sake of entertainment,” this truly entertaining novel might be wisely thought-provoking too. It’s highly recommended. Disclosure: I was given a copy and I offer my honest review.
“But people didn’t want the truth. They wanted to believe in heroes and monsters.” I wasn’t expecting to be swept away, but I was, into the port of Iraklion, Knossos, the once glorious capital of Crete. We meet the Roman poet Ovid, known for his epic poem: The Metamorphosis, on a research trip for his work-in-progress. A poet, not a historian, he visits Crete to see the fabled home of the Minotaur for himself. In the port of Iraklion, Ovid meets the largest man he’d ever seen, unshaven, hair that looked like it was chopped with a clumsy blade. He’s also his new guide into the ruins of Knossos, and into the ruins of the Labyrinth. Where Ast, otherwise known as Asterion, otherwise known as the Minotaur, the half bull and half man of Greek Mythology, begins to tell his side of the story. Was it a true story? Ovid’s scholarly quest for knowledge wins and he’s all-ears, listening to Asterion’s tale. So was I. I was entirely compelled to hear more of his story. We learn of King Minos, Asterion’s cruel stepfather, and about his abused, but devoted mother. Deformed from birth, accused, and insulted throughout his life, a product of a God, he grew up despised by King Minos. Reminded of Asterion’s mother’s infidelity with Poseidon, the Minotaur’s real father. Asterion begins his tale, from before he was sent into the Labyrinth. He tells of his great love, with so much tenderness for a brute. But was he? There is much heartbreak, and a lot of humanity in this telling. Ovid can’t help following the stranger home and writing down every word he speaks. Even if the stranger is recounting a story that happened 1000 years ago. But it was entirely believable—for Ovid, and for me. Ovid is enraptured, and the wine keeps flowing. There are some fun twists, I realized as I looked up each Greek character. Theseus is there and we learn so much about their relationship and Asterion’s side of the story. The action scenes were fluid and entertaining, and the depth of loyalty, inspiring. I love how the book opens with the cast of characters—for those of us who need a little refresher. MINOTAUR is such a well-written, entertaining story, and could very well be, the true tale of the Minotaur. A great YA read!
Reviewed by J. Aislynn d'Merricksson for Readers' Favorite Legends and myths contain nuggets of truth, oft buried beneath the detritus of time, layer upon layer added until sometimes what is has become a distorted reflection of what was. With Minotaur, Phillip W. Simpson has given us just such a story of what might have been. Not the chimeric creature of legend, half human and half bull, he who would become known as the ‘Minotaur’ is simply a young man who had the misfortune of being born with an unfortunate birth oddity. Long after the events surrounding the labyrinth, and long after Knossos has crumbled to ruins and faded to tattered memory, the demi-deity Asterion tells the true story of his life and those events to the poet Ovid. Asterion, though big and strong, is an undeniably gentle soul. Despite a childhood of abuse and neglect, he manages to preserve that nature, instead of growing bitter or vicious. He is easy to identify with, especially if you've had the displeasure of being singled out and mocked for being ‘different.’ Simpson has woven a captivating tale that presents a different take on not one, but several Greek myths and legends, and the players within. Demi-deity status notwithstanding, it is easy to believe this is the nugget of truth behind the myth of the Minotaur. If you enjoy Greek mythology or alternate histories, or you just want an enjoyable read, you’ll definitely want to check out this nifty novel. Be forewarned though - this story is more narrative oriented than many stories today, which only makes sense being that Asterion is recounting his history to Ovid. It takes its time to unfold, allowing you to savour it.
I enjoyed the voice and tone of this story, it reminded me of an ancient orator sharing his story. I found the characters believable and real. I liked how the author used famous characters from historical myths but stayed true to their characters (for the most part) and gave them depth. Of course, the author spun some of the relationships in his own way and the Minotaur is not the monster everyone thinks he is, but I enjoyed the way the author played it out. The pacing isn't bad, but if you're impatient for action then this story may seem to drag out for you. If you look for it, there is a lot of telling but mostly because Asterion (the Minotaur) is telling his story. It wasn't too bad for me but I did find myself skimming ahead sometimes to get to the important bits. When Ast is telling his story there are breaks in the story for his reality that pulls me out of his story because that is part of the story. It's fine for the most part, but I wasn't extremely fond of it as a reader. Can't say that I really liked Ovid too much, seemed like too much of a drunk to be taken seriously but I suppose that was the norm in those times. He might have been comic relief but I didn't feel him to be that funny. The story is entertaining. I found myself immersed in Ast's tale and what he went through in his life. I found myself relating and sympathizing with him during his journey and I think he led an interesting life. If you're looking for a humorous read or a romantic story, you won't really find it here. It's mostly a discovery and adventure story where Ast is trying to find himself and his purpose in life. I recommend this story if you enjoy seeing historical myths and their heroes come to life. You'll find an adventure here. 3.5 out of 5 rating for me! (A copy was provided for an honest review. I was not compensated in any other way.)
Mama’s Thoughts: I can honestly say without shame I am a huge myth buff; not in the sense that I’m an expert but in that I am completely obsessed with mythology and the myriad ways many authors use different myths within their stories. In this case, we essentially get an origin story for one of fantasy’s most misunderstood creatures- the minotaur. Was he really a demonic monster or was there more to be told? Now we have answers…along with more questions. I was struck by the literary quality of this book, while at times it delved more into the realm of epic fantasy, there were many instances where I felt what I was reading to be so real as to cause me to get online and look up possible conspiracy theories. Mr. Simpson is a writer to look out for, and one to add to your next-to-read list! 4.5 stars ****Free copy provided for honest opinion.***