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I couldn't put the book down. Very interesting, intense and the story takes many twists and turns! Highly recommended to those over 10 years of age, mainly (pre)teens but can also be enjoyed by those who are older!
Again, I've been fortunate enough to be asked to be on the Serafina Advanced Readers Team and again, I have been impressed by this ongoing story. With this third book, Beatty has really gone a little darker with the content. I'll be honest - the first few chapters about had me in a panic. This book doesn't rest for a second. I could've read this in a day if I had the luxury of that much time, but I'm glad I stretched it out. I like to linger with characters for a while and all of these characters; Serafina, Braeden, the Vanderbilts, Rowena, Pa, Gideon, and the estate are all fascinating to me. This time we really learn more about the grounds and less about the inner workings of the mansion as we have in the previous books. As I've said in prior reviews of this series, having a strong female protagonist and getting to watch her grow into a stronger young lady throughout the arc of these stories has probably been my favorite part of reading these books. I hope Mr. Beatty doesn't make us wait too long for another Serafina installment, but I am also looking forward to getting to know other characters he has in his head. Do you like mystery? Suspense? Read this... it's just a good read.
My daughters are almost 8, and although I am not going to win Mother of the Year for being suckered into starting this series with them (the series is a bit dark and likely meant for kids over 10), they look forward to these books and beg me to read chapter upon chapter before bed.
This book, Serafina and the Splintered Heart is Book 3 in the Serafina series, and is the most current/last one. Robert Beatty assures panicked parents everywhere that this is not the end of the series, and that he is working on the next installment. Out of the three books, I found this one to be darker than the first two. If you haven't read it and don't want spoilers, stop here.
The book opens with Serafina trapped in a coffin underground (yikes!!). This is a bit puzzling because Book 2 seemed to end so well - Serafina and her friends defeat the evil Rowena and her father, and she, in her black panther form, lays on the patio of Biltmore, the proud protector of the estate.
However, apparently something not so great happened on the patio, because the next we see of Serafina, she is trying to dig out of her grave and is now some kind of ghost, splintered from her human body and panther form. Nobody can see or hear her, and presume her dead. From here, the book takes some fascinating and unexpected twists and turns (enemies not truly defeated, unexpected alliances, the return of the black cloak, etc). I won't ruin the ending for you....
These books would have likely been way too scary for me as a child, and there is no way I would have gotten past the first one, but my kids absolutely love them, and cannot get enough. Our car rides to school are filled with speculation as to what is going to happen next, and I've never had my children, who love books, pay such close attention to a book before and truly understand what was just read. They are now asking if there will be a movie series (no pressure, Robert Beatty, but hurry up!).
So, if you are thinking of this or the other books in the series for kids, you know your kids best and proceed accordingly.
Serafina and the Splintered Heart by Robert Beatty
Serafina and the Splintered Heart intrigued me so much that I had to read all of it in two days. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. Several things baffled me as I saw Serafina deal with more frightful dangers than usual, happy encounters, and many mysterious events. Although the author includes many clues along the way, the story has setbacks and changes that kept me engrossed through the last page. I like the way that the characters talk about their plans and life viewpoints. I appreciate the use of local dialect appropriate to the various speakers. I enjoy very imaginative stories like this one, but this third book started in a darker fashion than the first two Serafina books did. I would recommend it for older middle school students, rather than elementary children.
As always, there are friends to be made, hard-won, yet vital lessons to be learned, vexing problems to be solved in exceptionally resourceful and creative ways, all with a heaping, healthy dollop of fierce determination to make certain that the common good and decent friendly folk may prevail, and live well! All at the Biltmore, of course!
I have tried three times now to express how enchanting these novels are, how they reach out and involve the reader of any age right from the first page, and the natural way the stories progress naturally and exquisitely as seen through the eyes of a child on the cusp becoming an adult in all ways which matter most, yet with every scene fresh and new, saturated full of colors and nuances rarely seen except through young eyes. These are simply magical tales and somewhere, Walt Disney is smiling, knowing the company that is his lasting legacy is helping to share and spread the magic both far and wide.
Painless and reflexive lessons about the nature of love, responsibility, heroism, failure, forgiveness, duty, and the rewards they bring to those who revere and embody them are themes gracefully woven throughout the novels alongside expressed reverence for community, creativity, vision, industry, and personal accountability meshed with a keen desire to explore, learn, and grow through all these through daily challenges faced, dangers and foes bravely met, alongside and in protection of the people, places, and ideals one holds dear. And it's all magical tale-telling that is purely-enchanting in itself.
These novels have legs that I can see carrying them through at least several generations like the best of the older Disney fare. Three generations of this family have enjoyed them so far! Yours almost certainly will too, best shared reading together.