Broadway's Hamilton meets Edith Hamilton in David Elliott's crackling YA debut, a rapid-fire verse reimagining of the Greek myth of the Minotaur.

The cast members take turns dropping rhymes to tell the story. Minos, the "all ego" monarch of Crete, offends Poseidon--"King of the Sea!.../ Old Earth-Shaker/ And one helluva troublemaker"--by keeping the prime white bull the god sends as a sign of Minos's right to rule, instead of sacrificing it as promised. Cursed by Poseidon, Minos's wife, Pasiphae, falls in love with the bull and gives birth to "my beautiful beautiful monster," who grows into the Minotaur. Sheltered and educated at Pasiphae's command, beloved by his sister Ariadne (who knows "who the monsters are"), the Minotaur is nonetheless stalked by a future that brings imprisonment in Daedalus's labyrinth and a young prince named Theseus who "[B]elieves his own hype."

Elliot, author of the picture books This Orq. (He Cave Boy) and In the Sea, revamps the famous monster as a gentle soul victimized by society and machinations beyond his control. His catchy, occasionally explicit verse begs for dramatic readings, and he imbues female characters in particular with a depth and sense of agency lacking in many retellings, while painting power players Poseidon, Minos and Theseus as the true bullies. Older teens will find this version of Greek mythology darker and edgier than they remember from their Percy Jackson phases but every bit as intense and enjoyable. Razor-sharp rhyme schemes and sly, vicious humor make Bull a bawdy yet sophisticated romp, a literary feast fit for the gods. --Jaclyn Fulwood, lead librarian at Del City Public Library, Okla.

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