Saturday, June 13, 2015

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty ARC Review


4/5 Stars
Details of the Book
eARC, 304 pages
Published by Disney Hyperion 
Publication Date: July 14, 2015

Synopsis: "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.

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. 

Strengths/Likes: 

1) I love Serafina. She's feisty, loving, and crafty. She really shines as a heroine and I think she can be a great inspiration. 

2) All of the family elements were really heart-warming. There were no evil parents, just happy and loving families. It was a breath of fresh air. 

3) Serafina and the Black Cloak has an interesting fantastical being that I have never heard of before. 

4) Finally a book that using Russian properly. I've read many books and seen a lot of books where Russian (and I'm sure other languages) wasn't used correctly. Some of the worlds are out of date but considering that the book is set in 1899, it's fitting. 

Weaknesses/Dislikes:

1) I wish that there was more dialogue. Serafina is a very interesting character but I would have liked to learn more about the other characters in the book through more interaction. 

2) I wanted more development and description of the fantastical elements. There are hints of it throughout the novel but it's not as present as I think it should be. 

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