Thursday, July 16, 2015

All About Middle Grade Review: Serafina and the Black Cloak [Blog Tour]

I am excited to be reviewing Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty today on the blog. This was one interesting read and the setting, well, that was pretty awesome given that's set here in my state.

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty, July 14, 2015. 304 pages. Published by Disney-Hyperion. Source: blog tour.
"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 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.

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 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 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.
First Sentence:
Serafina opened her eyes and scanned the darkened workshop, looking for any rats stupid enough to come into her territory while she slept.

What drew me to picking up Serafina and the Black Cloak was that it was set here in North Carolina. Not only was it set here, but the book took place at the Biltmore estate around the time that it was built, so, we're talking a historical fiction feel to this creepy read.

Even though it took me a couple chapters to get into the story-line, I found myself caught up in the atmosphere of the Biltmore and Serafina's nighttime prowling around the estate as she performed her secret duties of CRC. Serafina, in her oddities was what made her an interesting character to read about. As she stalked the halls and saw things differently then the other characters of the book, well, let's just say that it gave her an edge that caught my attention because I wanted to know the mystery behind why she was different. Thankfully, the reveal of her past was well worth the wait as it really added to her overall story.

I'm trying not to spoil the major plot points, but, there are a few things I really want to discuss about this book. So...

One of the things that made this such an interesting read was watching Serafina move past her fear of the man in the black cloak and push forward to try and defeat him and rescue those who he took. I really enjoyed that part of the book because you could see how much he scared her and, yet, she knew in her bones that she was the only one that could possible stop him. I really do just like books where you can see the character move past their fear to do something great! I think it helps readers learn that fear is not a bad thing in itself, just something that everyone faces and has to work with.

Plot and character development aside, let's talk about the writing. When I started reading Serafina and the Black Cloak I had no idea what to expect from Robert Beatty's writing. Would it be a quick paced read or would it be more of a slow. While it definitely took its time to get going, I enjoyed the way the story just built up as things became more dire for the residents of the Biltmore. Yet, while I enjoyed the build up, it was the combining of historical fiction with paranormal creepiness. Setting aside, I also enjoyed seeing the friendship that bloomed between Serafina and a certain character. You'll have to read it to see why I enjoyed that and many other aspects of this book.

Final Verdict: Serafina and the Black Cloak- A historical setting woven with tales of the unnatural, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat as you unravel the mystery behind the black cloak and Serafina's history.

Serafina and the Black Cloak earns

About the Author:
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. Robert’s Disney Hyperion novel  Serafina and the Black Cloak  will go on sale July 14, 2015. He writes full-time now, but in his past lives, Robert was one of the early pioneers of cloud computing, the founder/CEO of Plex Systems, the co-founder of Beatty Robotics, and the chairman/CTO of Narrative Magazine. In 2007, he was named an Entrepreneur of the Year. Answering a question about the inspiration for his book, Robert said, “Serafina’s journey grew out of my desire to write a story about an unusual and heroic young girl for my three daughters.”

You can haunt Robert Beatty at-
Website | Twitter |

You can order a copy of Serafina and the Black Cloak at-
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound |

this book was received in consideration for review. All thoughts are my own.

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