Series: Serafina #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on July 14th 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, General, Horror, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Young Adult
"Never go into the deep parts of the forest, for there are many dangers there, and they will ensnare your soul."
Serafina has never had a reason to disobey her pa and venture beyond the grounds of the Biltmore estate.There's plenty to explore in her grand home, although she must take care to never be seen. None of the rich folk upstairs know that Serafina exists; she and her pa, the estate's maintenance man, have secretly lived in the basement for as long as Serafina can remember.
But when children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows who the culprit is:a terrifying man in a black cloak who stalks Biltmore's corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of the Biltmore's owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the Man in the Black Cloak's true identity before all of the children vanish one by one.
Serafina's hunt leads her into the very forest that she has been taught to fear. There she discovers a forgotten legacy of magic, one that is bound to her own identity. In order to save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must seek the answers that will unlock the puzzle of her past.
Serafina and the Black Cloak is the first book in the Serafina series by Robert Beatty. I may be thirty-four years old but I loved this book. LOVED it. Loved it so much that I read it and then shoved it into my daughter’s hands and told her she had to read it. She’s sixteen—neither of us in middle school, obviously. But, we both enjoyed this book. Don’t even think of rolling your eyes at us. We all need to embrace our inner child sometimes.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked this book up. I love fantasy but I don’t usually enjoy the paranormal. I couldn’t resist reading though because I live near the Biltmore Estate where this story is set.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. Serafina is different—maybe that’s why I loved her so much. In some ways you might say that Serafina could be considered to have a disability. She has only four toes on each foot and bones that don’t work in a typical fashion. Yet, she’s the heroine of this book and I couldn’t wait to share this with my children as they have a genetic condition that affects their bones and joints. While Serafina’s condition isn’t a disability, I read it as such. She’s different-abled and I think children need to see more strong characters like Serafina.
From an adult standpoint, yes, some of the plot was easy to figure out. But, this book is meant to be enjoyed by children. And honestly? Though I had guessed Serafina’s secret, it didn’t ruin the story for me in the slightest.
I would definitely suggest this book for adults who still enjoy middle grade and young adult fiction. This is a book that parents and children alike can enjoy.