MG Book Review: Serafina and the Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty

twisted staff

I always consider it a bonus when a sequel is as good as the original. But a sequel that is better than the original is a rare treat. SERAFINA AND THE TWISTED STAFF is that rare treat. In the first book, Serafina and the Black Cloak, we met Serafina who lives with her father in the basement of the Biltmore House in 1899. As a catamount (part human-part cat), Serafina has unique physical abilities that help her solve the mystery of the missing children. Read more about the Black Cloak here.

In the Twisted Staff, Serafina is out hunting in the woods at night when she sees a weird old man with a twisted staff and five wolfhounds. The man sics the dogs on Serafina. Injured and terrified, she manages to escape, but is even more frightened by the evil she senses. Who was that man and why are all of the animals in the forest fleeing? The animals at the Biltmore start acting strangely too. After Braeden Vanderbilt’s dog Gideon attacks Serafina, she wonders if the Vanderbilts will believe that the terrible old man with his twisted staff is controlling the animals or will they blame her.

Full of danger and deceit, this story would be satisfying with just the mystery. However, there is another story in Serafina’s struggle to understand who she is and where she fits into her divergent worlds. Is she human and meant to live with her Pa at the Biltmore? Or should she be a mountain lion in the forest with her mother and siblings? She feels like she doesn’t belong anywhere. Her identity dilemma added another layer of interest to this fast-paced adventure.

This is a must-read for anyone that read Serafina and the Black Cloak. It’s not imperative that you read the Black Cloak to enjoy Serafina and the Twisted Staff, but you will appreciate the second book more if you had already read the first. Because of some intense fight scenes and the supernatural element, I recommend this to readers 10 and up who like spooky books.

SERAFINA AND THE TWISTED STAFF releases on July 12, 2016. To buy now, click here.

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