Review of middle-grade book Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty
An outcast risks her life to save her new friend from a black cloak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Serafina lives with her father in the basement of a manor house. Illegally. The world doesn’t know of her existence. It’s hard not to be grabbed from the start.
I rooted for Serafina rightaway and was with her throughout the book in her search for her identity. The author drops little clues along the way, which will be satisfying for a middle-grader to pick up and piece them together.
It had all the right tools for a middle-grade book. There are themes of friendship and grief. The young master of the manor has a connection with animals. When she realises that he is being sought out as the next victim, Serafina rises to the occasion.
With a cemetery and a sinister person in black cloak, this is a good variation from Halloween-themed books. Yet, it’s different enough to be read throughout the year. A great read.
“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.