Series: Serafina #2
Published by Disney Electronic Content on July 12th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Action & Adventure, General, Horror, Mysteries & Detective Stories
Reading Challenges: 2018 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge, The Backlist Reader Challenge
Buy on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
Serafina's defeat of the Man in the Black Cloak has brought her out of the shadows and into the daylight realm of her home, Biltmore Estate. Every night she visits her mother in the forest, eager to learn the ways of the cat¬amount. But Serafina finds herself caught between her two worlds: she's too wild for Biltmore's beautifully dressed ladies and formal customs, and too human to fully join her kin. Late one night, Serafina encounters a strange and terrifying figure in the forest, and is attacked by the vicious wolfhounds that seem to be under his control. Even worse, she's convinced that the stranger was not alone, that he has sent his accomplice into Biltmore in disguise. Someone is wreaking havoc at the estate. A mysterious series of attacks test Serafina's role as Biltmore's protector, culminating in a tragedy that tears Serafina's best friend and only ally, Braeden Vanderbilt, from her side. Heartbroken, she flees. Deep in the forest, Serafina comes face-to-face with the evil infecting Biltmore—and discovers its reach is far greater than she'd ever imagined. All the humans and creatures of the Blue Ridge Mountains are in terrible danger. For Serafina to defeat this new evil before it engulfs her beloved home, she must search deep inside herself and embrace the destiny that has always awaited her.
Serafina and the Twisted Staff is the second book in author Robert Beatty’s Serafina series, about a mysterious young girl who secretly lived at the Biltmore Estate. The series is set back in time in 1899 in North Carolina, but this story has a timeless feel to it. In fact, I often forget that it’s a historical fiction novel at all. Then Robert Beatty uses his vast knowledge of the Biltmore Estate and the Biltmores themselves to flesh out the scenes and develops the characters in convincing ways. This series is one I’m surprised I enjoy as much as I do, and I can’t wait to read the third installment.
In the previous novel, Serafina defeated the Man in the Black Coat. Just when she thought her life would be different now that the horror had passed, and the Biltmores are aware that she’s been living in their basement, Serafina stumbles upon a new mystery. This time, a deadly force is moving through the forest Serafina’s mother calls home, making all of the animals flee. Instead of learning more about being a catamount and building a relationship with her mother, Serafina must find a way to expel this danger from the forest so that all the animals may safely return and to protect all who dwell on the Biltmore Estate.
This story is part mystery and part horror. Serafina is a young, brave, extraordinary girl who risks a lot to protect those she loves. Unfortunately, a malevolent force keeps trying to harm the people who call the estate home. This story was horrific, because not only were horrible things being done to the animals in the forest but the entity was using it’s magic to harm humans as well. I like this one even more than the first novel, because the Biltmore family played a bigger role in the story, and readers get to meet more of the household staff. I also enjoyed how Serafina’s life has changed now that everyone knows she’s been secretly living in the mansion. Instead of the adults being absolutely clueless or absent characters that are typical in YA books, the adults here are present and respect the opinions of Serafina and the other children.