Where the Dark Stands Still

S. & S./McElderry. Feb. 2024. 368p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781665936477.
Gr 8 Up–Inspired by the dark woods of Poland, Poranek's debut is a dark, Gothic tale. Liska, 17, has always been accused of being a witch. In order to prove that she is not, she chooses to go into the Driada, the dark woods, to find a fern flower and banish her power. While she is there, she finds the Leszy, also known as a demonic warden of the Driada, who bargains with her. She must serve the demon for one year in order to get the fern flower and the wish that goes along with it. The worldbuilding is top-notch, moving between the woods and the House Under the Rowan Tree. Polish words are scattered throughout and easy to understand through context. Liska, who has fair skin and blue eyes, is determined and likeable. Her beauty is a stark contrast to the demon who is human, yet gangly in his movement. As Liska learns more about her situation, she finds it is more dire than she initially thought as romance ensues. Readers will respect Liska’s strength with her decisions after a heartfelt ending.
VERDICT Fans of romantic Gothic fantasy mixed with Polish folklore will appreciate this novel. Recommended.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing