Book Review: Serafina and the Twisted Staff (Serafina, #2) by Robert Beatty

Serafina and the Twisted Staff is the second book in the Serafina series for middle grade and older readers by Robert Beatty. It begins a few weeks after Serafina and the Black Cloak ends. I do suggest reading the books in order, otherwise the relationships and natures of the returning characters will be hard to fully understand and it will take some time to catch up. 

n 1899, when an evil threatens all the humans and animals of the Blue Ridge Mountains, twelve-year-old Serafina, rat catcher for the Biltmore estate and the daughter of a shapeshifting mountain lion, must search deep inside herself and embrace the destiny that awaits her. She not only needs to protect the forest and discover what the danger is, but the darkness is inside the Biltmore as well.

Serafina and the Twisted Staff is an amazing sequel. The action follow close of the heels of the first book, so I do recommend reading the books in order (no hardship because the first book is wonderful) to fully understand Serafina, her childhood, and the struggles she faces in this book as she searches for her place in the world. She is not fully human, and does not quite fit in with the guests of Biltmore. However, she is not fully animal and is lacking certain skills and abilities that would aid her in surviving in the wild. She is struggling with who and what she is, and what she wants for her future. The danger she faces tests her on all fronts and she needs to come to terms with her past, present, and future. The mystery of who exactly the detective discovering a related murder is, the hooded figure that arrived as the animals fled, and animals acting in unnatural ways all come together in an unexpected way. While I did expect one of the twists, it was discovered in a fresh way that made the reveal and danger that much more intense.

Serafina and the Twisted Staff is a wonderful book, and unlike more follow ups, surpasses the first book. Serafina grows in character and understanding, while the reader grows right along side her. I highly recommend this series to middle grade readers and older, including adults! Readers that enjoyed the first book will need to read this, and those that have not should get started now. We will let you to catch up. I can only hope for more to come.
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