Serafina and the Black Cloak – Book Review

Serafina and the Black Cloak – Book Review

Robert Beatty’s New York Times Best Seller: Serafina and the Black Cloak

I am going to start by saying that there was a lot of hype about this book, Serafina and the Black Cloak. By the time I actually had my own copy, I was afraid I may be expecting too much!  Everyone was absolutely loving it and now that I have turned the last page I am happy to report, I love it too! So, so much!

The author Robert Beatty is truly a master of words and it’s one of those books you want to read slower than most so that you can absorb it one sentence at a time. Sometimes just one word at a time, like you would with poetry. While the writing itself is beautiful you also find a story you will need to read more than once. Even after the mystery has been solved for you, you will likely open it again just to hear how it was so expertly told, and to remember the pictures it painted so vividly in your mind. And also, the way it seemed to want to teach your heart something as well.

While it’s a story you will want to savor, it is far from a slow read. You find yourself anxious to turn the page. Every page. As Serafina seeks answers, the clues lead in one direction and then another.

This book is about a lot of things. So much more than the back cover touches upon when it says only,

“The sound came closer and closer until the Man in the Black Cloak was right outside the door. He stopped there, listening, waiting, as if he could sense Serafina and Braeden inside the room. He knew they were in there. Serafina could hear him breathing. She picked up the foul scent of the cloak as the stench wafted through the crack of the door. The Black Cloak began its slow, slithering, rattling motion. The doorknob turned slowly.”

~Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

WHO: Serafina is the main character leading the way among a cast of well-formed and highly likable co-stars. She shines with a childlike innocence combined with a deep intelligence and sincere compassion. She is unique. She is different in many ways. She is special. Let me take you into her mind by sharing this one paragraph.

“She thought that it was interesting how just about everyone had a special talent or skill, something they were naturally drawn to and good at, and then they worked years to master it. Nobody knew how to do everything. It wasn’t possible. There wasn’t enough time in the night. But everyone knew something. And everyone was a little different. Some people did one thing. Others did another. It made her think that maybe God intended for them to all fit together, like a puzzle made whole.”

~Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

WHERE: Biltmore Estates in Asheville North Carolina. We love Asheville and Biltmore is without a doubt its enduring gem. It’s treasure. The author Robert Beatty casts a new light on it when he describes it this way in Serafina and the Black Cloak.

“In the golden light of the setting sun, the mansion really could be quite startlingly lovely. But as the sun withdrew its brightness behind the surrounding mountains, it cast ominous shadows across the estate, which reminded her of griffins, chimeras, and other twisted creatures of the night that were half one thing and half another. The thought of it gave her a shudder. In one moment, the estate was the most beautiful home you had ever seen, but in the next, it was a dark and foreboding haunted castle.”

~Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

WHAT: It is a mystery and also an adventure. But then again it’s a fairy tale too. Perhaps what I love about this book the most is that like Serafina, it is more than it seems. It is a book full of questions and revelations both fantastical and real. It’s also frightening but still fun. It seems painfully human in places and thoroughly supernatural in the next. It’s just so well done.

While I did predict the bad guy correctly, I did not predict the ending and it’s very unlikely that you will either. There are characters in this book of kinds I have not encountered in any other tale I can recall.

WHO ELSE WILL LOVE IT: If you have Harry Potter books lining your shelves, then you will most likely love Serafina and the Black Cloak.

Technically it’s written for these folks…

  • Age Range: 8 – 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 – 7
  • Hardcover: 304 pages

MY FAVORITE LINE: 

“Our character isn’t defined by the battles we win or lose, but by the battles we dare to fight.”

~Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

Obviously, I am recommending that you add this one to your collection. It’s one to share and as I mentioned earlier, it’s definitely one to re-read. While it does target a younger audience everyone has something to gain from the telling of the story. My favorite books ever were written for children.  After all, it’s the child within us that keeps us young. Let’s feed that part of ourselves.

Serafina and the Black Cloak

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Learn more about the author Robert Beatty here:

Robert Beatty

Robert Beatty lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina with his wife and three daughters who help create and refine his stories. He loves to explore the grand Biltmore Estate and the darkened forest trails where his novels take place.

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Please note this is the first book I have read as part of the 2016 Reading Challenge!  Join us!  If you have read or would love to read this book, please let me know in the comments below. I love to hear from you!

Serafina and theBlack Cloak