"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.
Beatty's suspenseful debut opens in 1899 in Ashville, N.C., at the historic Biltmore Estate. Twelve-year-old Serafina and her father secretly live in the basement of the Biltmore, where he keeps the mansion's many mechanisms in working order. He forbids Serafina who was born with four toes on each foot, golden eyes, and other physical peculiarities from wandering upstairs among the Vanderbilts or into the woods, where he found and rescued her as an infant. One night, Serafina sees a man capture a girl, who vanishes into his cloak. With more children disappearing, she teams up with fellow loner Braeden Vanderbilt, nephew of the estate's owner, to search for the so-called Man in the Black Cloak, leading them deep into the forest. Serafina's quest to understand herself and her unknown family history, along with some truly creepy moments and imagery (during one encounter, the Man in the Black Cloak "seemed to float on the violence of the battle, his decaying, blood-dripping hands reaching outward as he came upon Braeden"), makes for an eerie historical mystery. Ages 8 12.
I love how Serafina is both relatable and somehow unrelatable at the same time. I am a historical fiction nerd and a fantasy nerd and this fulfilled my dreams. The hint of supernatural and some gore added intrigue to the story. All-in-all, this book was great, but I would use your own judgement in reading this. There are some parts that are more scary and intense that the age levels would indicate.
I would recommend men’s this to everybody.
Serafina and the black cloak
This is a really good book, I love the details that the author puts in it. It had scared me so bad at first but it was a fun scared feeling. I didn’t wanna keep reading because it did scare me but as I did it got better. If you like scary things I really recommend this book. And there are cute parts in it too.
Did not like this...
The concept was good... but it lacked character development and cohesion. This seems liked a book for small children with a plot that would be too scary for them.