Three weeks after the battle with the man in the black cloak (a.k.a Mr. Thorne), Serafina finds herself at a loss. She is struggling as she is trying to decide which world she truly belongs to. One, in which she lives with her Pa and is the C.R.C (chief rat catcher) of the astounding Biltmore Estate, or the other, which is deep inside the surrounding forest with her mother the catamount and her half siblings. Both worlds are tearing her apart as she doesn’t feel like she truly belongs anywhere. Making matters worse, she hasn’t spoken to her only friend and most trusted confidant Braeden since that dreadful day they battled Mr. Thorne and the black cloak.
As Serafina is visiting her mother and the cubs one day, a ghostly carriage pulled by four formidable stallions comes barreling down the road to Biltmore. As it passes Serafina, it suddenly stops and a mysterious man exits the carriage accompanied by a ferocious owl and several bloodhounds. After muttering something to the hounds, they set off in Serafina’s direction leaving her no choice but to run for her life. She escapes the bloodhounds, but not without a few nasty wounds and the help of a feral mountain lion.
After this frightening run-in with the hounds, her mother tells Serafina that she doesn’t belong in the forest with them. She cannot successfully shift into a catamount even though they practice constantly, and she is afraid she is already too human to change. Her mother is taking the cubs in search of new territory, similar to many other animals that inhabit the forest. With all of this looming, Serafina senses something terrible is coming. Something that will bring ruin to the entire forest, and she believes it has to do with the man and the owl.
When Serafina returns to Biltmore, she immediately notices the same stallions that she encountered on the road are now being housed in the barn. This can only mean that the man with the owl accompanied them. As Serafina starts to investigate, she finally hears from Braeden. However, it’s not the welcome that she had hoped for. Braeden informs her that a private detective has been hired to investigate the murder of Mr. Thorne and that he wants to interview the pair of them. This only adds on to Serafina’s worry and angst.
Serafina’s mind is swirling with questions. Who is this new investigator and what does he know about Serafina and Braeden’s involvement with Mr. Thorne and the black cloak? Who was the man in the carriage with the owl and bloodhounds and why is he staying at Biltmore? Why can’t she change into a catamount like her mother? Why are her mother and the cubs leaving their territory along with all of the other animals in the forest? And most importantly, what is the dark presence that has cast a cloud over her home and the entire forest?
This second book in the Serafina series will take you on a magical journey through the halls and secret passages of Biltmore, and also the beautiful scenery that accompanies the forest such as waterfalls, caves and mountains. The Twisted Staff teaches us about the power of bravery, friendship, and family and how important it is to trust your heart. If you’re looking for a thrilling adventure series that will leave you clamouring for more, I implore you to check out the Serafina trilogy. I rate “The Twisted Staff” an 8/10 and I am very excited to dive into the third instalment of the series, Serafina and the Splintered Heart.
Have you taken part and read about any of Serafina’s adventures? If so, let us know what you think in the comments!
SYNOPSIS | Goodreads
Serafina’s defeat of the Man in the Black Cloak has brought her out of the shadows and into the daylight realm of her home, Biltmore Estate. Every night she visits her mother in the forest, eager to learn the ways of the catamount. But Serafina finds herself caught between her two worlds: she’s too wild for Biltmore’s beautifully dressed ladies and formal customs, and too human to fully join her kin.
Late one night, Serafina encounters a strange and terrifying figure in the forest, and is attacked by the vicious wolfhounds that seem to be under his control. Even worse, she’s convinced that the stranger was not alone, that he has sent his accomplice into Biltmore in disguise.
Someone is wreaking havoc at the estate. A mysterious series of attacks test Serafina’s role as Biltmore’s protector, culminating in a tragedy that tears Serafina’s best friend and only ally, Braeden Vanderbilt, from her side. Heartbroken, she flees.
Deep in the forest, Serafina comes face-to-face with the evil infecting Biltmore—and discovers its reach is far greater than she’d ever imagined. All the humans and creatures of the Blue Ridge Mountains are in terrible danger. For Serafina to defeat this new evil before it engulfs her beloved home, she must search deep inside herself and embrace the destiny that has always awaited her.