Serafina and the Black Cloak (Serafina Series #1)

Serafina and the Black Cloak (Serafina Series #1)

4.6 43
by Robert Beatty
     
 

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"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

Overview


"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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"

Beatty spins an enchanting mystery through lonely Serafina's golden eyes. Each new clue adds another brush stroke to this keenly perceptive portrait of a young girl searching for answers about herself and the world around her. The book leaves readers satisfied with the plot but hungry for more about its unusual heroine. Adults and children will eagerly follow Serafina from the basement into a world of self-discovery, justice, and new friendships."—Kirkus"

Serafina narrates with an engaging voice that draws the reader into her world. The setting is just as engaging: the Biltmore drips with opulence and the surrounding forest with sufficient eeriness Serafina has enough mystery and fantasy (with a fair amount of creepiness) to satisfy young readers."—Historical Novel Society"

Serafina's quest to understand herself and her unknown family history, along with some truly creepy moments and imagery makes for an eerie historical mystery."—Publishers Weekly"

An entrancing historical, mystery thriller, Beatty tells the story through Serafina's searching and inner dialogue. A finely detailed setting, strong characterization, rich foreshadowing, and haunting imagery, all work to build suspense throughout."—SLC"

The vast estate with a haunted past and a creepy present makes for an atmospheric setting, and Serafina's multiple narrow escapes from her enemy are absolutely thrilling. Serafina herself is an enchanting heroine, brave and determined, and her attraction to the dark forest adds another layer of suspense and mystery."—BCCB"

The chills and adventure will surely please."—Booklist

OKRA Pick for representing the "best in Southern Literature"—Southern Independent Booksellers Association"

The story drips with suspense, wrapping readers into the narrative just as easily as the man in the black cloak binds his young victims. Serafina's friendship with Braeden is heartfelt and believable... mystery fans will enjoy this book." —School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly
08/31/2015
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. Agent: Bill Contardi, Brandt & Hochman. (July)
School Library Journal
06/01/2015
Gr 5–7—A mystery set at a sumptuous estate, featuring a courageous female protagonist entangled in a hair-raising adventure. It is 1899 and 12-year-old Serafina lives with her Pa in the basement of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. Pa had come to Asheville years ago to help with construction and stayed on as a fixer of all things mechanical in the 250-room mansion. For reasons unknown to Serafina, they must keep their nightly lodgings in the basement a secret as well as the existence of Serafina herself. She has developed catlike skills in exploring the vast Biltmore estate and enjoys sneaking through heating vents and other small spaces in order to eavesdrop on staff and inhabitants. Her quiet existence is shattered when she witnesses a strange man dragging a tearful young girl down into the bowels of the vast home. The man is wearing a large black cloak and reassures the young girl that everything is okay. Suddenly, the captive struggles to get away from the man and his cloak appears to come alive. It wraps itself around the terrified child as she calls out for help. Serafina is frozen with fear and before she can react, the girl has vanished. Serafina escapes, thanks to her agility, and discovers the next day that a visitor of the Vanderbilts by the name of Clara has disappeared during the night. More children disappear and it becomes increasingly obvious that Serafina's new best friend, Braeden, is the man in the black cloak's newest target. The story drips with suspense, wrapping readers into the narrative just as easily as the man in the black cloak binds his young victims. Serafina's friendship with Braeden is heartfelt and believable. The ending is tied up too neatly, but that's a minor quibble; most horror and mystery fans will enjoy this book. VERDICT A creepy, suspenseful read that's not quite as dark as the works of Neil Gaiman or Adam Gidwitz.—Julie Shatterly, W. A. Bess Elementary School, Gastonia, NC
Kirkus Reviews
2015-04-15
Serafina mostly enjoyed her life at the Biltmore Estate until the other children started disappearing at night. Motherless Serafina has grown up isolated and in secret in the basement of the Vanderbilts' Biltmore Estate. It is close to the machines her father repairs and the rats she catches nightly. As the Chief Rat Catcher, Serafina has uncanny physical abilities that match her peculiar looks and allow her to hunt these sneaky vermin. She applies these talents to find out who or what is snatching children staying at Biltmore, a terrifying encounter with the cloaked child thief forcing her out of hiding to save the other children and herself. The Vanderbilts' orphaned nephew, Braeden, proves to be a great ally, and they work together to stop the kidnapper before they become the next victims. Beatty spins an enchanting mystery through lonely Serafina's golden eyes. As she begins to defy her loving, protective father and involve herself in the estate's doings, she comes ever closer to uncovering the villain and the secret behind her own origins. Each new clue adds another brush stroke to this keenly perceptive portrait of a young girl searching for answers about herself and the world around her. The book leaves readers satisfied with the plot but hungry for more about its unusual heroine. Adults and children will eagerly follow Serafina from the basement into a world of self-discovery, justice, and new friendships. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781484711873
Publisher:
Disney Press
Publication date:
06/14/2016
Series:
Disney's Serafina Series , #1
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
1,440
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.10(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Robert Beatty lives in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, with his wife and three daughters. He writes full-time now, but in his past lives he was one of the pioneers of cloud computing, the founder/CEO of Plex Systems, the co-founder of Beatty Robotics, and the chairman/CTO of Narrative magazine.

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Serafina and the Black Cloak 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was fantasic! A great combination of excitement, history, suspense, mystery and family. This would be a great book for kids and adults. It is a little scary, so if you or your child are easily scared I would suggest reading this together for storytime. All in all it is a well rounded book that flows nicely and pulls the reader in. Highly recommended and a great book from a brand new author!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You can't put down this amazing book!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
5 stars
smgross144 More than 1 year ago
I am a forty-something woman who reads a lot of YA &Kid Lit because I spend time working/reading with elementary-aged kids, so I like to stay current with the latest books. Having spent my childhood summers at a camp just down the road from the Biltmore, I was very excited about this book. I listened to it, beginning to end, this Sunday on a road trip home. While I enjoyed the book, I couldn't wait to get home and check what the target readership was, because there was a definite disparity there, in my opinion. The writing level and story level seemed to be targeted at upper elementary grades, but some of the details were far too graphic and spooky for that general population. As a reading mentor, I would have a difficult time recommending this book to children that I did not know personally (and relatively well). I would only have recommended this to one of my three children at the target age. SMALL SPOILER AHEAD: The passages that describe the children's abductions by the man in the black cloak are very graphic, both in the dialogue and in the descriptive passages. I found the children's pleas for help particularly troubling. I think that a significant number of upper elementary children would find these passages disturbing - some to the point of bad dreams. END SPOILERS There were other segments that I found unnecessarily graphic (as in, it was not necessary to enhance the story), but not to the point that it would keep me from recommending the book to others. I'm still torn on exactly to whom I would recommend this book. It wasn't deep enough to entertain an adult audience (as many of today's YA books are) - but I'm just not quite comfortable recommending this book for the target audience. I would only recommend this book to 9 and 10 year olds who I know have strong wills and a bit of love for the macabre.
Anonymous 10 months ago
I read the smple and its really amazing i couldnt put it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was probably one of the best books I've ever read. The plot was great, there were many twists and surprises, and it was just amazing! I love how Mr. Beatty described and wrote the plot so carefully, and I also love how Serafins got a friend to help her stop the man in the black cloak in the story. Great read! I think you should read it if you like adventure fiction!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This special book from Disney takes you on a mysterious adventure that will leave you "spellbound!" The plot is always changing and ever engaging. Now I can't wait to read the sequel! I couldn't put this down! It may be a young adult book, but as an adult who loves the Biltmore Manti on I fell in love with the depiction, accuracy and details the author so eloquently displayed!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was an amazing book except at some parts i got a little creeped out :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In class this is our read aloud book, an this time I want to know whats coming, every other time my teacher says ok lets clean up, in a part that is suspensful, and sometimes a book is sad, and now i want ti be ready for something!!! Good thing: We JUST started reading, and we watched the trailer for it and I was just like, I know my teacher is going to stop somewhere that I want to know what will happen next!!! So I'll try getting it Saturday! Bad thing: I don't have any bad things!!! But so far me and my friends in class thought she was a cat, thanks to the trailer her eyes were so like a cats!!! And she can see as bright as she can in the morning at night, and shes a crc!!! We could possibly fall out of our seats wheb my teacher stops it again tomorrow, and the BEST thing is, in every other fourth grade class that has read this, the boys said, they litterally said: BEST BOOK EVER!!! And the boys in my class want her to keep on reading, and so far, and probably for the rest of the time, I'll agree with the boys in the other fourth grade classes!!! So gonna check if I can buy this on Saturday, because for the rest of the week, I'm busy!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a fun easy read I couldn't put it down! Great story line.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Adults and children alike will be enchanted
Anonymous 4 months ago
I am just so happy, though! Because of who I follow and who's following me on Twitter, Robert Beatty himself sent a followers request to me. Someday, I'm going to be a famous author, and I am just so happy about this!
MaureenAlf1-_ 5 months ago
Ok, as I close the 1st Serafina book and try to gather my thoughts. I did not fall head over heels with this one. It is considered a Young Adult read. I agree and will post a suggestion to parents/guardians who have children focused to read this book to either read in conjunction with them or before them. I do not wish to give any spoilers and will only give my PERSONAL opinion. The story starts out nicely as a story then kind of gets into a dark, twisty place in the middle before scrolling back into the nice story. I loved the writing and was surprised by it, glad that I did not look at others reviews prior to reading. As an educator though (forgive me for repeating myself) this read should be a combined effort between parents/guardians and the young adult reader. Looking forward to reading Serafina and the Twisted Staff however, need to accomplish reading one more book prior to it. Have Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on ice until my Nephew a.k.a. Reading Buddy, finishes summer (ruin summer) reading work. Happy Reading. Catch Us Reading A Book
Anonymous 5 months ago
The setting takes place in biltmore estate which was interesting. The CRC(chief rat catcher) while on her nightly business, witnisses a childs misterious capture that leads to further examination and her meeting mr vanderbilts nephew. The story has many twists and turns with secrets being slowly uncovered. The reason i did not give thus book five stars was because i figured out who was capturing children way before it confirmed it. Otherwise, this was an amazing book-Quills
Anonymous 6 months ago
Overall I thought that this bookdid a great job of explaining all of the little details and had a great base story and theme.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So cool
nhr3bookcrazyNR More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! Loved the setting - the Biltmore Estate!!! The year is 1899. It's a truly different and original story. Serafina is a great heroine. Just 12 years old and "different' - but hidden away from the everyday world. There's the element of upstairs/downstairs, and elements of supernatural. Budding friendship. Solving mysteries. Growing up and learning about ourselvees. So much going on in this book. And I sure hope the hints that there is more to come in future books will be delivered by the author. I highly recommend this book to others - young and old.
Dana lomas More than 1 year ago
What a great book! I am an avid reader and mother of two. I read Serefina prior to my children and loved it! It is in true Disney format and very well written for its target age group and all. Mr.Beatty is able to accomplish his story line while not pursing the "scary parts" in just enough detail to not upset young readers yet keep the suspense. We love Serefina and her adventures and can't wait for more to come. If you haven't been to Biltmore in Ashville, NC it's a must see and the perfect setting for this story. A must read for the family!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! I listened to it on Audible.com and it was hard to walk away from. I will be sharing this book with my class this year!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a 45 year old adult I really enjoyed this book. I live in Asheville, NC home to the setting of this book the Biltmore Estate. As the main character spoke of the rooms in the mansion I could envision each one. I normally do not read "magical" books such as Harry Potter but this one kept my curiosity and I had to keep reading to find out who the man in the black cloak was! Great book! For middle school age children and up! If you can visit the Biltmore Estate it makes the book even more amazing because you can live it out in your mind. Cant wait for the sequel book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing! Fantastic Book to read with your older kids! Harry Potter meets Nancy Drew! Love!
JS More than 1 year ago
Great story, keeps you guessing the whole way through!!
brittanysbookrambles More than 1 year ago
This was a fun and cute little read. It has the charm of Anne and the Green Gables with the spark of Matilda. Plot-wise though this book steps ahead those. There is a lot of magic and mystery. It brings warmth to my heart knowing that there are books like this still coming out. It made me feel nostalgic. I did find it a tad predictable but I think that's because I'm seeing this through an adult's eyes when this is a children's book. A great family read and something kids will definitely enjoy. Full review: http://www.bookrambles.com/2015/06/serafina-and-black-cloak-by-robert.html
JeannetteM More than 1 year ago
I rated it a 5 star! Wow! Last good kids book I've read was Harry Potter. This had all of the mystery and magic in it that Harry Potter did. I was super impressed. I got to learn the beauty and history of Biltmore Estate, which only added the place on my list of places to visit. I've also noticed that there was a very important message to kids in this book... It doesn't matter what you look like, or where you come from, May that be a different world, but there's beauty in everyone and everything. There was a part where it described how bad Serafina wanted to be like normal girls and normal she is not, but it made me tear up, because she wanted it that bad. Never knowing until the end how amazing she really is! The mystery had me at the edge of my seat. The twist and turns in the story was incredible and when I found out who it was at the end... I knew he would be a Thorn in my side. (Only people who read the book will know what that means!) I can't wait to have my daughter read this. I know for a fact she's gonna be able to relate to Serafina and love the story just as much as I did... And I'm almost 30!!!!
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
She’s a C.R.C. and she’s very proud of it. While the rest of the house is asleep, she creeps quietly among the halls listening and watching, for she’s waiting for the exact moment to pounce. Firming holding onto their backs, avoiding their sharp teeth and whipping tails, she waits patiently for them to calm down, so she can finish her job. Serafina is Biltmore’s Chief Rat Catcher, where she lives with her father in the basement, the two of them hiding among the pipes, hidden to others. She’s been told to stay invisible to the family and guests of the estate yet the huge manor is so tempting to this young child that she soon finds a friend in Braeden. He soon becomes her confidant when young children start to disappear in the manor and Serafina feels she knows something about the case. I really enjoyed this story, as it has a wonderful storyline with great adventures and fantastic characters. I loved the relationships in the book, Serafina and her father and Serafina and Braeden. The honesty and respect they have for each other shows in their actions and in their words. As the book progressed, I couldn’t get enough of Serafina’s journey, it became one of my hairdryer novels. Towards the end, I found myself yelling at Serafina, her actions frustrating yet compelling for a young girl like her, someone who is young and curious. I love it when a novel affects me this way. I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Disney Book Group in exchange for an honest review.