"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 Biltmore Estate. There's plenty to explore in her grand home, but she must take care to never be seen. None of the rich folk upstairs know that Serafina exists; she and her pa, the estate's maintenance man, have lived in the basement for as long as Serafina can remember. She has learned to sneak and hide.
But when children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows who the culprit is: a terrifying man in a black cloak who stalks Biltmore's corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of the Biltmore's owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the man in the black cloak's true identity before all of the children vanish one by one.
Serafina's hunt leads her into the very forest that she has been taught to fear. There she discovers a forgotten legacy of magic - one that is bound to her own identity. In order to save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must seek the answers that will unlock the puzzle of her past.
©2015 Robert Beatty (P)2015 Listening Library
Fan of philisophical fantasy, historic fiction, Victorian gothic, books that make you think!
I was personally intrigued because I grew up/still live nearby the Biltmore Estate, and it has been a place I hold dear to my heart my whole life. It was exciting to listen to the book and know which room they were in, or what was entirely made up.
I also enjoyed moments when the author would delve into Serafina's deeper, emotional thoughts and draw out the fact that this girl (SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT) is not quite normal and has an unusual way of thinking, seeing, and reacting to the world. It was nice to see a character built up to believably embody what the author claims her to be, instead of just sticking a supernatural label on a character who behaves and thinks like an entirely average human being.
I enjoyed how the author tied some local historical roots to the supernatural aspect of the story.
I'm 28, and I went into this book realizing it was a YA novel. That said, I did feel that there were some mature themes/gritty moments that would be scary or have a shocking effect on young kids. I would think kids of all ages would be intrigued by this book, but under age 10 it might be a little much at times. Not that I didn't read a few grizzly scenes in books at a young age, but I'll say that they did leave an impression in a not entirely good way.
and a penny for your thoughts
Needs a good editor. Cute story idea but the story is ruined by the writer's repetition of every single thing, from the external conversations to the character's feelings, intentions and impressions to descriptions of the SAME thing over and over. Also, there are far too many weak analogies which are ineffective and distract rather that enhance the story. It feels like the author is trying to impress rather than tell a sweet little story elegantly. Wordy for its own sake - not elegant. While we can't all be Mark Twain, J.K. Rowling, E.B.White, we should remember that the goal is to say everything as simply as possible. Less is more.
As a reader, I could see the cute idea but it was tough to enjoy and "feel" the story. I felt the author banging me in the head with repetition like a trial attorney. (There's an analogy.) without quoting from the book so as to not write a spoiler, here's a fictitious example;
"The insecure girl worried she wasn't good enough. Am I good enough?" She thought. He looked at her. "Oh no! Am I good enough for him to look at me?" She thought. "will he like who I am? Will he like what I wear? Am I pretty enough? I feel frightened!"
Then, imagine that every time this girl goes anywhere or speaks to anyone, those thoughts are repeated in slightly different words. THEN imagine the same thing happens with description of everything, thoughts of every character and conversation between characters. Not enjoyable.
very suspenseful, but not too scary! made out drive for vacation go by in no time!
Boy, the story was great. I thought I had it figured out a few times but my mind was changed each exciting time! I loved the ending! This book is great for children! Thank you for the adventure!!
Very engaging although some parts were slow and we needed a break
Some scenes I wish werent there. The young girl who is preteen snuggles up to her best friend who is a boy at night and enjoys snuggling and hearing his heartbeat. A few things like that may not be welcomed by all listeners. I wish i had known.
Loved the story! Kept me interested and excited throughout. I like to listen to books when I drive the 30-40 minutes to work and home. The performance was well done on the audio. The story was a nice historical fiction mixed with fantasy. Great for young adults to adult age. Might be a little scary at times for anyone too young. Would make a wonderful movie!
I was worried that it would be more for a young person, however; that was not the case! It was very well written and kept your interest throughout the entire book. Definitely a thriller that will keep you guessing!
I just love books. I would rather read then do just about anything else.
I bought this on a lark after seeing one of the youtube videos previewing the book. I am glad I did. It is a interesting story. One review that I read stated that they disliked how everything wrapped up so neatly. Sometimes, it works. In this case I believe it does. This is a story that I would feel comfortable with children reading but it is interesting enough for an older reader. if you just want an interesting story with a happy ending, this book is a good choice.
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