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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.