Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Robert Beatty
Serafina considers herself the protector of the Biltmore, the Vanderbilt's home hidden in the forests of North Carolina. There she and her best friend Braeden, the Vanderbilt's nephew, have defeated the Black Cloak that had kidnapped generations of men, women, and children. But now, as they try to distinguish friend from foe to uncover the dark force controlling the animals of Biltmore, they face a different enemy. Facing a twisted staff and shape-changing owl sorcerers requires of all of their courage and strength, and they unite to defeat them. Then, just when Biltmore seems secure, Serafina sees a form in the forest and it is clear that things may not be as safe as they would seem.
This is another great installment in a series with extraordinary twelve-year-old heroes. The characters are true and loyal friends with noble hearts and grand ambitions. Their determination once they have set a course of action is admirable, and young readers will want to be like them. Themes in the story include friendship, family ties, trust, and loyalty. The friendship, adventures, supernatural powers, and intelligent animals create an environment that readers will be loath to leave behind when the story ends. The text is well written with an interesting, fast moving plot that captures and keeps reader’s attention, making it one of those tales that is hard not to read in one sitting. This is a great series with lots of paranormal content, but the violence can be brutal, so some readers may need to approach with caution.
*Contains moderate violence.