Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

Halloween Books 2017


Goodreads: Serafina and the Black Cloak
Series: Serafina #1
Source: Library
Published: 2015


Serafina lives hidden in the basement of the Biltmore Estate along with her pa.  He says the rich folk who live above must never know she exists.  But then one night Serafina witnesses the Man in the Black Cloak kidnap a child.  And soon the children of Biltmore are disappearing one by one.  Along with her new friend Braeden, Serafina must find a way to stop a deadly evil before it’s too late.


Serafina and the Black Cloak is a deliciously creepy middle-grade adventure.  Set at the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, it follows the adventures of a girl who can run faster, walk more quietly, and see farther in the dark than any regular human.  And so she hides herself in the basement, afraid lest her strangeness make others shun her.  Until the day she witnesses the Man in the Black Cloak engulf a child.

Admittedly, books where children mysteriously disappear in the night are not terribly uncommon.  And older readers will likely understand Serafina’s past fairly quickly and uncover the identity of the villain as soon as he appears.  Still, Serafina and the Black Cloak proves an engrossing read.  Perhaps it is because Serafina and her friend Braeden are so likable.  Perhaps because the story is just so delightfully scary.  Either way, its predictable plot does nothing to harm it.  Nor do the parts of the book that, quite frankly, just do not make any sense.

I read the book at a fast pace, so I was willing to overlook the fact that Serafina starts out talking like her father and then suddenly seems to possess a more educated diction than he does. I  was willing to overlook the fact that Serafina somehow wants everyone to believe that she found a bunch of people who had “wandered off” and “gotten lost” eleven miles away.  I was willing to overlook that the ending was full of too many happy coincidences to be believable.  For me, the book was entertaining.  Why destroy the fun by wanting it to make sense?

4 stars


5 thoughts on “Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

  1. theorangutanlibrarian says:

    Ah yes I agree so much about this book being a lot of fun and so perfectly creepy. Gotta admit I didn’t pick up on the diction thing (maybe I read it too fast) and when it came to the whole thing where the adults were supposed to believe her ridiculously tall tales, I just shrugged my shoulders over it, cos I agree with you- why ruin a really fun book by worrying about stuff like that? Great review!!


    • Krysta says:

      Maybe it’s a commentary on how adults don’t pay much attention to children? Though that would be odd in a book about parents distraught over their missing children. Oh well. No time to worry when there’s a sequel to read, right? 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • theorangutanlibrarian says:

        Yeah I did initially think they dismissed her cos they thought she was making up stories/they weren’t taking her series. But like you said, it clashed with how upset they were with the very real situation of losing their children… so I wasn’t sure. hehe yes!!


  2. One Man Book Club says:

    Are you going to read the next book? I found the first one strong in story but lacking in writing, and the ending was good enough that I’m considering reading the next one as well. Wondering what your opinion is on moving to book two…


    • Krysta says:

      I don’t have current plans to read the sequel. Sometimes I see it at the library and consider it, but I always check out other books instead. I just worry the series won’t get any better. I liked the first book but not enough to read the whole series at this point.

      Liked by 1 person

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