'Serafina and the Black Cloak', 'Serafina and the Twisted Staff', and 'Serafina and the Splintered Heart'

10 Things About ‘Serafina and the Splintered Heart’

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'Serafina and the Black Cloak', 'Serafina and the Twisted Staff', and 'Serafina and the Splintered Heart'
Jacket art for ‘Serafina and the Black Cloak’, ‘Serafina and the Twisted Staff’, and ‘Serafina and the Splintered Heart’ by Robert Beatty.


What is the Serafina book series?

Serafina and the Splintered Heart is the third book of a series. If you have kids eight years old or older and are not familiar with the Serafina series of young adult books by Robert Beatty, you should take a look. The first two books hit the New York Times best seller list and captured the imaginations of kids and adults across the country. You can read my earlier review of Serafina and the Twisted Staff here.

The setting of the books intertwines the real life location of the Biltmore Estate and the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville, North Carolina during the late nineteenth century. The books are wrapped in the history of the Vanderbilt family, adding a slight paranormal twist to show us a world that is just-this-side-of-fantasy. Add to the mix a healthy dose of mountain folklore, with shapeshifters and sorcery, and you get a feeling of lost knowledge just out of reach.

Who is Serafina?

The unique heroine of the series is Serafina, a young girl who grew up hidden away in the basement of the Biltmore Estate, where she lived secretly with her adoptive father. As she comes out of the shadows, we learn she is no ordinary girl, but possesses the reflexes and abilities of a catamount (also known as the eastern cougar) along with certain supernatural abilities.

What is the latest book about?

Serafina and the Splintered Heart is the third book in the Serafina series, and it doesn’t disappoint. Robert Beatty once again delivers an intense, intriguing story with the series’ young heroine beset by supernatural forces. Serafina has grown so much since her days hunting rats in the shadows and staying hidden from the people around her. Now she finds herself hurt and isolated from her friends. Everything she thought she could depend on and trust is cast into doubt. She must overcome her own fears and suspicions and decide who she can trust.

Joined with allies old and new, Serafina must grow in both power and maturity to persevere against overwhelming odds. Throughout the trilogy, we see Serafina develop as a person, and as the Guardian of Biltmore. As in the first two books, the author manages to capture the reader’s imagination as Serafina faces new and surprising challenges. She does so through strength of will, trust in friends, and, of course, boldness of heart.

Will my kids like it?

The book is recommended for ages eight and up. All kids are different, but it has been very popular with middle school children. My kids certainly both enjoyed the books. My daughter lent a copy of the first book to a friend after reading it. She also stole my copy of the third book to read for herself before I could get my hands on it. I’m willing to tolerate a little literary larceny if my kid is that motivated to read.

Is it just for kids?

I read the first book to my kids aloud, but now that they are older they prefer to read themselves. I might have passed the book by if it wasn’t for my kids, but I’m really glad I didn’t. I’ve read all three books and enjoyed them myself. I’d recommend them to any adult who enjoys supernatural fiction.

How scary is it?

All three books have a supernatural element to them, but the tone of Serafina and the Splintered Heart is just a bit darker and creepier than the prior two books. If your child is especially susceptible to frights, you might want to preview the book yourself before letting them read it.

Is it as good as the other books?

I think it was on the same level as the earlier books, which is to say excellent. My daughter felt, if anything, this was the best of the series.

I was impressed with how the last book of a trilogy managed to dish out so many surprises. We get to see Serafina develop even further, and we also learn more about some of the secondary characters.

How long is the book?

The book is over 350 pages, with 58 chapters. Each chapter is relatively short, which makes it an easy read with plenty of places to stop. I read it over about three days. My daughter took more time with it, but lately, she draws or watches videos at night instead of reading.

Is this really the end?

Although this is the end of the Serafina trilogy, Disney Hyperion has already commissioned some future books set in the same world. Willa of the Wood will be a two book series about a new character, Willa, a 12-year old forest girl. Willa’s story will connect with Serafina’s, but takes place sometime after the events of the Serafina series.

Where can I learn more?

The book is listed on Amazon, where you can buy it in multiple formats including Kindle e-reader and Audible audio book.

The author’s web page has information about all three books, including reviews, book trailers, cover art, and more.

Here’s the book trailer for Serafina and the Splintered Heart:

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