“Our character isn’t defined by the battles we win or lose, but by the battles we dare to fight.”
The first thing that convinced me to pick up a copy of Serafina And The Black Cloak was the gorgeous cover. In fact, I didn’t realize until later that this was actually a middle grade story… Although I personally like reading a middle grade book every once in a while. This story written by Robert Beatty has both an interesting setting and the perfect mix of fantasy and scary elements. It’s what you call a ‘light’ horror read that will entertain both a ten-year-old and an adult alike. The prose is really accessible and I loved the descriptions of both the mansion, forest and magical elements in the story. The main character Serafina wins over your heart in a blink of the eye and I loved the mystery around her character. The mysterious man in the black cloak is scary enough, but not too much to give the younger ones nightmares… And I really liked the ending. In short, Serafina And The Black Cloak was a more than satisfying read that I can recommend if you are looking for a middle grade fantasy book.
Serafina never knew her mother and has been growing up living in the basement of the Biltmore estate with her father. He works as a maintenance man during the day and hides away at night; nobody knows he sleeps in the basement and they don’t know that Serafina even exists. Her pa asks her only two things: she must take care to never been seen and she never has to venture too far into the forest. Serafina is not a normal child and has quite a few special skills. As silent as the night, her dad gave her the job of Chief Rat Catcher; she is able to catch rats with her bare hands… One day, children start disappearing at the estate. Nobody knows who is behind it except Serafina. Roaming around unseen that night, she saw a man in a black cloak stalking the corridors at night and taking away a young girl. She is determined to stop the man, but will she be able to even when nobody seems to believe her or can really see her in the first place?
Serafina And The Black Cloak is a very entertaining middle grade read that has the perfect mix of fantasy and creepy elements. The story is both accessible and well written, and just scary enough to not completely creep out the younger readers. The characters are very likeable and I loved the prose and descriptions. Definitely recommended!