Title: Serafina and the Black Cloak
Author: Robert Beatty
Genre: YA Thriller/Horror
Opens: … Serafina opened her eyes and scanned the darkened workshop, looking for any rats stupid enough to come into her territory while she slept.…
Blurb: Serafina’s Pa told her "Never go into the deep parts of the forest, for there are many dangers there and they will ensnare your soul." She has never had a reason to disobey her Pa and venture beyond the grounds of Biltmore Estate. There’s plenty to explore in the shadowed corridors of her vast home, but 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. Then the children start disappearing
My Thoughts: SERAFINA AND THE BLACK CLOAK is a real page turner. I was swept into the magic, terror and mystery of Serafina’s world from the very first page. Set in the 1900s Serafina and her father ‘Pa” live in the dark spooky basement of the remote Biltmore Estate. Which is actually a real place: http://www.biltmore.com/visit/biltmore-house-gardens/biltmore-house
Pa has always kept her hidden as they are not supposed to be living in the basement so Serafina has kept away from people and amuses herself by chasing, catching and evicting rats from the dark corridors of the house. All she really wants though is to not have to hide, and to have some friends. When the book opens she has just successfully seen off another couple of rats when she sees a man in a black cloak holding a struggling girl. Hidden in the shadows Serafina sees the man cover the girl with his cloak – and the girl disappears! He then sees Serafina and chases her – but she knows the dark passages like the back of her hand and eludes him. The next day there is a grand ball and Serafina sneaks upstairs to see if she can spot the man in the black cloak and meets Braeden Vanderbilt the young nephew of the Estate’s owners. She tells him about the little girl and he tells her that this is not the first child that has gone missing. The two youngsters then decide to find the man in the black cloak.
What follows is an edge of the seat, heart pumping story. Twists, turns and danger – not sure how many more adjectives I can use to describe the book – but it soon becomes apparent that Braeden is going to be the next victim. There is also a very different sub-plot, or back story, about Serafina’s mother and why Serafina’s dad is hiding them both. The huge climax in the deep part of the forest is heart-in-mouth time and was really scary – mind you I’m a big sook and scare easily – the average 12-year-old who the book is aimed at would probably lap it up! Serafina is a fairly unusual child – with yellow eyes and 8 toes, while Braeden has a talent of being able to communicate with animals. Neither child’s talent is considered unusual – it is just part of who they are – no questions asked. And I can’t say too much about the man in the black cloak other than he is creepy and terrifying – and without heart. I am quite surprised this has not been shelved as horror – because it is deliciously so.
If you love spooky thrillers then SERAFINA AND THE BLACK CLOAK is for you.
For more about the author – Click Here
B – Great – I really enjoyed reading it and it is a book I will be recommending to all my friends who like this genre.
With thanks to Disney-Hyperion and the author via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.