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Serafina and the Black Cloak

(Serafina #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  32,181 ratings  ·  4,187 reviews
“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 h
Hardcover, 293 pages
Published July 14th 2015 by Disney•Hyperion
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Robert Beatty I have explored and studied Biltmore's rooms and corridors extensively. I've just always loved Biltmore Estate. Whenever I'm there, I imagine stories …moreI have explored and studied Biltmore's rooms and corridors extensively. I've just always loved Biltmore Estate. Whenever I'm there, I imagine stories about the people who might have lived there. When I wrote "Serafina and the Black Cloak" I wanted to give my daughters a story about a very unusual, but very heroic girl who lives at Biltmore Estate.(less)
Robert Beatty I have loved so many books, it's hard to name just a few, but when I was young, I especially loved The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien), The Once and Future Ki…moreI have loved so many books, it's hard to name just a few, but when I was young, I especially loved The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien), The Once and Future King (T.H. White), Men of Iron (Howard Pyle), and dark fantasy books by Gene Wolfe. As I got older, I fell in love with Jane Austen, Hemingway, and Dickens. One of my favorite stories/writers of all time is The Man Who Planted Trees by French writer Jean Giono. It's a simple, beautiful story. More recently, I loved The Witch at Blackbird Pond (Elizabeth George Speare).(less)

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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  32,181 ratings  ·  4,187 reviews

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Feb 25, 2021 rated it liked it
This is a decent middle grade fairytale/mystery. Adults may find it a bit boring 😴 But I think 10-12 year olds would enjoy it.

I had no idea that this was based on a real historical site... thank you Angie for the additional information. For those of you who are interested here's what she shared: "I bought my copy when we visited the Biltmore Estate where this book is set. I would say having seen the grounds and building, which were accurately described in this book, really enhanced my enjoyment
Neil (or bleed)
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it

I can say I am lucky in terms of middle grade novel these days since I liked every middle grade novel I've read lately. Or maybe, just maybe, these books tug the child in me so a part of me liked the books eventually. Serafina and the Black Cloak is not an exemption.

This precious little book is a middle grade novel about Serafina (obviously) and her adventure together with her friend Braeden in unraveling the true identity of the Black Cloak Man. And also, her peculiarity and finding her sel
Rachel Reads Ravenously
3.5 stars

A very odd little book, but very compelling. I can definitely see myself recommending it to kids at the library in the future.

Claudia {SparrowHawk}

Serafina and the Black Cloak was a one-of-a-kind mystery thriller, peppered with an old fashioned ambiance and ominous tone. I was entranced from the very beginning - it's the kind of story that grants you an escape from reality and an entirety of reading enjoyment.

Thus, if you are looking for a story that captivities through a blend of character-driven story surrounded by an unsettling, chilling, beautiful and haunting setting, then be sure to pick up this one up! It is unquestionab
I saw the book trailer for this and thought, "Hmmm. Fascinating. I want to read this."
Turns out, that trailer is pretty much the abridged version of the entire story.

I'd 2.5 this puppy. It's not bad but I've come to expect better from Disney-Hyperion. I had some problems as a grown-up reader.

The first thing that bothered me: speech patterns are all over the place, especially for Serafina who hops between uneducated vernacular (she calls horses “hoof-stompers” as if she had to make up her own wor
Jeff Raymond
Closer to a 1.5. I *really* didn't like this book.

I'm a firm believer that kids need creepy. There's a reason Goosebumps and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark have persevered over time, and Serafina and the Black Cloak tries pretty hard to be in that same vein, but ends up wildly missing the mark.

Serafina is a girl who was found in the woods, battered and broken. Taken in by a man and kept secret for the first decade or so of her life, she is witness to a strange disappearance that she feels uni
Dec 04, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens, ebook, z2015
This was kind of disappointing. I don't know what I was expecting but this book was very slow. While I was learning about Seraphina and her life at the start it was interesting but then the story almost completely halted. It was just description after description and I was getting bored. The characters were one-dimensional and didn't seem very authentic. The story was quite predictable but it wasn't a horrible story. I might read the next one as I'm willing to give it a chance but I'll see. ...more
Tiffany PSquared
"There are many mysteries in the world, both dark and bright."

Serafina lives in the basement of the magnificent Biltmore mansion, the home of the wealthy and influential Vanderbilt family. She's lived there all of her life with her Pa taking care of her, but the Vanderbilts have no idea that she's even alive.

And they probably never would have, that is until one of the Vanderbilt's young guests mysteriously disappears and Serafina, herself, witnesses what happens to her: something dark and unexpl
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Set at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC (about an hour north of me), this middle-grade novel has everything! An independent female protagonist with unique abilities, a mystery, some fantastical elements, historical setting, and gorgeous rooms and clothing.

And since Disney is the publisher, they were able to get the actual location to film their book trailer.
Sep 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
A strange and gothic tale set at the very real Biltmore Mansion. Serafina is an uncanny child, with many secrets, but she's not the only one. I was a little freaked out by some of the secrets, to be honest, but it was definitely an exciting and very unusual book! ...more
Wow, what a creepy, spooky tale. I love it. Set at the real Biltmore estate near Asheville, North Carolina, this is a historical fiction adventure with some supernatural elements.

There is a lot of adventure and suspense and spookiness in the book. The characters good, and there are lots of mysteries and near-escapes and lots of fun things like that. I wish I could have read it as a child. I think this is the closest book I’ve found to matching the genre of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.

Kayla Edwards
A fantastical thriller that takes place in the early days of the gorgeous Biltmore Estate? Count me in! When I found out about the existence of this book, I was elated. Biltmore has always been one of my favorite places to visit; it fascinates me. The way real details of the house and estate have been woven into this remarkable story about Serafina and her pursuit of the Black Cloak is inspired. Having been there myself, it was easy to imagine our heroine prowling through the halls at night. And ...more
Lonna | FLYLēF
Sep 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-challenge
FLYLēF Book Reviews

Original Post: Serafina and the Black Cloak at FLYLēF (

“NEVER GO INTO the deep parts of the forest, for there are many dangers there, and they will ensnare your soul.”

Step into the wonderfully whimsical world of Serafina and the Black Cloak, by Robert Beatty, and chances are, you'll be completely enchanted by its magical setting, valiant young heroes, and dark mysteries.

Mr. Beatty deftly builds a unique world full of beautiful details that effortlessly drew me in. Nestled in
Kadi P
I didn’t think it could be done, but here it is! Robert Beatty has finally disproven my theory that Disney Hyperion only publishes good books!

Serafina was an outcast of a protagonist who yearned to belong. For the entirety of the book she pined for companionship and she took the subtlest gesture to mean friendship. Her rose-tinted view of high society romanticised a class that were actually problematic and elitist, and the way she constantly licked the rich people’s boots in her desire to fit in
A School Librarian’s take on this book:

Who and what defines good and bad? Twelve year old Serafina tackles this question and many more in Serafina and the Black Cloak. Uniquely set in the historical, Vanderbilt Biltmore Estate and surrounding forests of North Carolina, the author has captivated the essential coming-of-age struggles we all must reconcile: What is normal? Who is a true friend and why is it so difficult to find them? Why am I different?

Although this story is set in 1899 and is hi
DNF at 11%

There's nothing in particular wrong with this book. The writing is fine - poetical at times - the characters are interesting. There is stuff going on...but it's happening at about a snail's pace. There's so much explaining of everything that I'm bored in between, waiting for stuff to happen.

I'm not entirely sure this is the book's fault - I think it's probably me...
Melanie (TBR and Beyond)
“Did evil creatures think of themselves as evil? Or did they think they were doing what was right? Was evil something that was in your heart or was it how people viewed you?”

I had very high hopes from this book, I'm not even sure why. I just thought it was going to be one of those gems you stumble onto, sadly it didn't live up to the hype I had set-up in my head.

For the most part, this book was fairly good. The writing was solid, again for the most part and the lead character was i
“…our world is filled with many mysteries, things we don’t understand. Never go into the deep parts of the forest, for there are many dangers there, both dark and bright, and they will ensnare your soul.”

Biltmore Estate is large enough to have kept a secret for over a decade: deep within its basement lives a man and his daughter, named Serafina. Serafina’s father is in charge of the buildings maintenance but he would be tossed out in a heartbeat if it were discovered he also resided there. A
Scott Bischke
Jan 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I had the pleasure last week of reading an advance copy of Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty. Serafina, to be published by Disney, is a page-turner that is sure to be a hit with the younger set (as well as many adults, like me!).

Serafina and the Black Cloak is an adventure/mystery that takes place at the Vanderbilt Biltmore Estate deep in rural North Carolina. Dark, foreboding woods surround the estate. Our heroine, Serafina, has a mysterious past somehow tied to that frightening fo
Yvonne (It's All About Books)
Finished reading: January 6th 2016
Rating 4qqq

“Our character isn’t defined by the battles we win or lose, but by the battles we dare to fight.”

(view spoiler)
Aug 15, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
Serafina lives in the basement of the Bilmore House, unseen by any but her pa. They've lived there secretly since the house was built, and her pa has always cautioned her never to be seen. So Serafina scuttles around the house at night, taking joy in catching any rat she comes across. (That she catches them and then throws them outside the Houses's walls is my first annoyance--it seems so anachronistic and against (view spoiler).) Then ...more
Laura Harrison
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
How I loved Serafina! Absolutely marvelous, creepy, fun, atmospheric read. I read it all in one sitting. I think many young people will do so as well. Great title.
Ana Vizentim
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful book!!!! I loved it!!!🥰🥰🥰
It got me from the beginning till the end...
Jan 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Okay, how have I not read this sooner? The moment I first opened the book, I was drawn in. I seriously enjoyed this book and for sure will finish the series. :)

The character development was SPECTACULAR. Serafina grew so much during the book I'm so proud of her! She went from being scared of being seen by people, and catching rats, to a heroine, worshiped by the rich-folk. It was so wonderful to see her face her fears, I feel very happy for her.

The plot was also amazing! I really enjoyed the stor
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookclub, kids
I must admit that I started listening to this without knowing that it was aimed at readers aged 8-12. I think because of this the book was only okay for me. I listened to the audio, and although I enjoyed the Southern accents, reading may have been a better option, as my attention kept drifting. I liked Serafina - she was sweet, unique and brave. This will be a good book for young readers, if they don't scare easy.
The Story: Twelve-year-old Serafina isn’t quite like other girls. She has golden e
Stephanie ((Strazzybooks))
Oct 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
"It was true that she was a creature of the night. But she would decide for herself what that meant."

A perfectly creepy middle-grade story that was fun to read.

Serafina is a memorable heroine with a connection to an enchanted forest, and the villain is a supernatural man who kidnaps children to drain the life from them. The writing was crisp and engaging, with classic fairy tale vibes.

Sefarina and the Black Cloak is dark, spooky, and atmospheric - perfect for an October or winter night.
☯~☽~•Patricia Mainard•~☾~☯
I really enjoyed this book.
Tracy (Cornerfolds)

Middle grade books are not regular fare for me, but when I saw the cover of Serafina and the Black Cloak, I just HAD to know more! And when I found out it was a "spooky mystery-thriller" with the Biltmore Estate as its setting I was all but jumping up and down in anticipation! The premise of this book is so exciting and unique and I had to know what was going on with the Man in the Black Cloak!

The main character is, as you may have guessed, Serafina. She lives in the basement
Jul 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
Well that was rather disappointing ...

This is a solidly middle-school targeted book for the 8-12 year old group. It follows title character Serafina, a girl with some personal mysteries who lives with her "Pa" in the basement of the Biltmore mansion, unnoticed by any other servants. Even a 10 year old might have problems with that premise but there are many more little problems with this book that add up to an "I'd skip it" verdict: one-dimensional characters and situations that don't stand up
Tanja Berg
I picked this up in the States, one of many books. I single-mindedly went after books I had never heard of and that weren’t on my to-read shelf from before. This wasn’t a top pick.

Sometimes books for young readers can be truly inspiring. This one was rather boring with incomplete world building. The ending was surprisingly good, but couldn’t make up for the drudge to get there.

I’m at Helsinki airport and I will leave the book here. It didn’t take well to sauna last night either.
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Robert Beatty is the author of the #1 New York Times best-selling Serafina series and Willa of Dark Hollow, both published by Disney Hyperion. He is also an Executive Producer for the WILLA live-action television series that is currently in development. WILLA OF DARK HOLLOW, which can be read as a stand-alone story or as a follow-up to WILLA OF THE WOOD, is now available for order.

The Serafina Ser

Other books in the series

Serafina (4 books)
  • Serafina and the Twisted Staff (Serafina, #2)
  • Serafina and the Splintered Heart (Serafina, #3)
  • Serafina and the Seven Stars (Serafina #4)

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