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Review: Corbenic By Catherine Fisher

A few years ago, there was talk in the kidlit community about extending the YA designation to include books written for readers up into their early twenties. Catherine Fisher’s moody Corbenic would certainly appeal to that age group and older. In this contemporary spin on the medieval story of Sir Percival, seventeen-year-old Cal has left school (and his needy mother) and is about to take a job with his uncle. He has been on a Welsh train all day, and, after falling asleep in the night, accidentally gets off at the wrong station. Except for a sign saying “Corbenic,” there is nothing there. After wandering around in the dark, Cal stumbles upon an upscale castle-like inn where he is welcomed with a banquet. He makes a mistake during the meal, though, and the next morning he wakes up to find himself alone in a ruin. Once he’s back on his way, he finds that no one else knows of the inn or the Corbenic train station.

Did any of this really happen? Or is Cal, like the mother he is trying to escape from, mentally ill? Cal is a wonderfully conflicted character, desperate to get away from his mentally unbalanced and alcoholic mother but filled with guilt for wanting to do so. He’s not always attractive, but we can still understand his suffering.


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My name's Peter Bryant, I come from Bakersfield, California. I was born in Seattle and have just started this blog in the summer of 2021.

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