Let me start this post by saying a HUGE thank you to Disney Hyperion for an Advance Reader Copy of this book through NetGalley. I absolutely loved Serafina and the Black Cloak, and if you missed that review, you can read it here. I was so excited to get a sneak peek of the next adventure, and it did not disappoint!
*Please note: if you have not read the first book, spoilers lie ahead! Please come back to this post after reading Serafina and the Black Cloak!*
Serafina and the Twisted Staff picks up where the first book left off, three weeks after Serafina has defeated the Man in the Black Cloak. I enjoyed this timeline because I felt there was a lot of mystery still lingering at the end of the first book. For example, we now know the truth about Serafina’s mother – that she is a catamount! – but what exactly does that mean for Serafina? Will she continue to remain with her Pa at the Biltmore Estate or will she embrace a new life with her mother? Like the first book, the action and adventure start right away and kept me guessing and anxious to keep reading.
In the Black Cloak, we got to know Serafina, but in the Twisted Staff, I felt like Serafina got to know herself. Now that she knows the truth about her mother and the Vanderbilts know the truth about her – that she exists! – she is no longer required to make herself invisible inside the house and is able to explore how it feels to be out in the open with everyone else. She finds herself questioning her friendship with Braeden while learning more about who she really is, all the while battling a new threat to the Biltmore Estate and its residents.
Familiar characters such as Pa, Braeden, the Vanderbilts, and Serafina’s mother all make appearances, along with new characters who, without giving away any spoilers, keep us wondering if they are friend or foe. I was thrilled at the appearance of Frederick Law Olmstead in this book. Hailing from Buffalo, New York, it was exciting for me to see the architect of our great city parks featured in such a unique adventure!
This book, like the first, is an exciting mystery with a little magic mixed in and a nice twist at the end. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the first book or is looking for an adventure. I love that the ending of this book, again without giving away any spoilers, seemed to hint at another adventure to come. My fingers are crossed!
One of my favorite passages from the book: “But unlike the men of iron, Mr. Olmstead had dreamed of vast gardens and endless forests. Those were the things he’d brought into the world. Thinking back in time, she wondered if the mountains, and the rivers, and the clouds, and even human beings, had been God’s dream a million years before.” – Robert Beatty, Serafina and the Twisted Staff
Serafina and the Twisted Staff is recommended for Middle Grade readers, ages 8-12, and will be available for purchase on July 12, 2016.