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Poison Study (Study, #1)
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Poison Study > Yelena and Valek (spoilers)

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Tatiana (tatiana_g) Did you enjoy the romance story line? Did you find the romance between Yelena and Valek intense and compelling? Did you see it coming? Or it came out of nowhere for you? Did you find it believable considering the age gap between the two and Valek’s obvious position of authority?


Kate | 45 comments For me, it kind of made the whole story worth it. From the beginning, I had hoped it would happen, but I didn't necessarily see it coming. I had imagined Valek younger than he was, and now that image is burned in my mind. The age gap would bother me personally, but hey, to each his own.


Deborah Agree with Jillian. Think back to when women were married off to men old enough to be their father. The man asked the parents who decided whether or not the guy could provide a home and increase their standing in society. Women was then told she was to be married.

Fourteen years here is much better. And they actually know and like/love each other. Valek's protection of her was actually cute. My favorite part of their relationship was during Yelena's hunt evading the soldiers.


Heather (heatherjoy) I'm torn on this one. Though the setting was a hodge podge of days of old with modern whimsy, I didn't notice women becoming married in their teens to men who are twice their age. The only other couple we saw in the book were Rand and his seemstress girlfriend and they were the same age.

I think Yelena was wise beyond her years, due no doubt to her circumstances, but the same could be said for Valek, so that hardly evens out their age gap. Regardless, I wanted them together and liked them together, but were this book based in life, I would acuse him of craddle robbing and mock him for not finding someone his own age. I doubt they could truly be equal partners.


Paige I enjoyed the romantic part of it. I had suspected for a while that Valek liked Yelena for a while and i was happy to see that i was right :)
As for the age gap i wasn't too bothered. i figured out that Valek was about 14 years older. People even today marry with that much of an age difference. I personally know people who are 13 years apart in age and happily married


Kate | 45 comments I just think it would be weird to marry someone that is thirteen years older than me. Not that I don't think I'll be happy, it just is a weird concept for me.


message 7: by H (new) - rated it 4 stars

H (halm) It was cute, like super duper cute

It wasn't like I was totally expecting Valek's feelings, more like I was in-denial the whole time~

Sweet stuff (oh, and I was seriously put off with the age gap at first. I didn't know it was that big of a gap but I got over it. Eventually.)


Alethea A (frootjoos) | 46 comments I think age is just a number. I know a lot of people who unhappily married someone their own age. Compatibility matters much more. I thought Yelena and Valek had great chemistry and worked well together. They're one of my favorite fictional couples of all time!


message 9: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2686 comments Mod
I was a little bothered that the book seemed to be based around their relationship and then in the end they didn't get together. I just thought it would've really been selfish of the commander to not let Valek go and be with Yelena.


Kayzee | 180 comments Commander is selfish lol..... woman geez.
And I think it is perfect how their love whirlwinded me lol. and how it waited until close to the end to reveil it it was so perfect *heart* so cute


Jenny (narcisse) The age gap didn't bother me with these two. I love that he's protective of her, but also confident in her abilities. Unlike certain overprotective vampires. And I love the way that he teaches her and encourages her to learn. He's not intimidated by her intelligence. He values it. I felt like he really loved her for who she was and for her strengths because we never got the whole "omg you're so hot" vibe from him or saw him fawning over her beauty or some crap, even though I'm sure he finds her lovely. We know Yelena thinks he's a pleasure to look at though lol. I also thought the brief stint of jealousy was so cute! Not overdone, revealing brief vulnerability of self in such a strong and confident character, perfect.


Kayzee | 180 comments Oh JENNY i share that whole thing with you


Diana  (higura_natume) | 30 comments I loved Valek and Yelena's relationship. Originally, I thought the author might not include it, but I was glad when they did. :D


Victoria | 5 comments I had hoped dearly that a romance would develop between the two but was caught a bit off guard by the timing. The age difference was really weird for me when I first did the math and tried to imagine. For me that would be a guy who is like 29, 30 which was weird but, hey, it works for these two.


message 15: by Drew (new) - rated it 3 stars

Drew | 3 comments Hmmm. Came in on this discussion a little late, but want to put in my two cents anyway.

The person who recommended this book to me (Alethea) told me about the love story before I began reading, and considering her enthusiasm about the book, I had pretty high expectations for romance. However, I didn't get around to it for several months, so when I was reading the book and Valek was introduced, I remember thinking, "Is this the guy? No way. What a jerk." Surely, Yelena wasn't going to fall for someone who was literally poisoning her from day one. But it takes all kinds, I guess (just playing).

I tend to enjoy the stories that open with the love interests hating or misunderstanding each other from the get go. Its instant tension, and I think there is something very authentic about a love story in that direction. It seems to me that there is something really magical when people come together in disagreement and conflict and wrestle around till they start to see that there’s more there. Tale as old as time, right?

The relationship story that goes like: the girl and guy fall in love and then fight all obstacles to get back (or stay) together, isn’t something I enjoy as much (not to say that I don’t enjoy it at all). I think it’s because in a relationship that starts off rocky, the characters have to shift their perspective to understand the other; whereas in the one where they fall in love from the start, it feels more like they are just having to outwit everyone around them so that they can stay together. I’m not suggesting that this is always the case. I’m just saying that it’s my general opinion on relationships that share this dynamic in books and movies.

As for the age difference, I did have an amusing time imagining Valek getting ready for middle school while Yelena was lying in the crib. It wouldn’t have worked for me if Yelena was a more submissive character, but since she is so clearly independent and self-sufficient, I think that they are perfect for each other. I would love to hear a perspective from someone who found their relationship appalling or somewhat offensive, or even someone who never saw any issue with it because of their cultural or religious background. I think that there are a lot of interesting places that this subject can take us because of the different beliefs around marriage, and particularly sexuality. For more information on this, see my book, Maria V Snyder’s Syntax and Semantics in the Pseudo-foil Paradigm: A Textual Analysis (this doesn’t actually exist).


Belicia Buena-Terrones | 12 comments I knew there would be romance between them when Yelena washed up for the first time and went to his office. It became extremely obvious as the book went on but I do admit Valek's generally cold attitude had me worried he didn't love her but then the scene in the prison when they were hiding was sweet :)
At first the age gap bothered me but then I got over it. IT would be completely different if he was like the commanders age. I would have a hard time getting used to that.
over all they are a very cute couple and seeing Valek admit his love was a memorable side of him which Id like to see more of :)


message 17: by Heather (last edited Mar 23, 2010 06:41AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Heather (heatherjoy) Drew, I'm going to address your comments as a 25 year old female who has been dating over a decade.

While it can be amusing to read scenarios in which characters meet and instantly distrust and dislike each other and later fall into bed in fiery passion, or in this case, dung in a prison, that is hardly a winning formula in life. My 15 year old self believed that real life relationships could begin the way Yelena and Valek’s did, and yet still flourish. My 25 year old self knows better. This leads me to my stance on Valek and Yelena. She's 19; he is in his early 30's. While it is plausible that Yelena's character could still be naive, Valek should know better. And how much could a man in his mid-thirties really have in common with a 19 year old? I wouldn’t even want to date a man that age as we would be, or in the very least should be, in very different places in our lives. Knowing this made it difficult for me to really swallow their relationship.


message 18: by Jenny (last edited Mar 23, 2010 10:30AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jenny (narcisse) The age difference is hardly an issue, IMO. Especially in a book setting such as this one. I mean, they're traveling by horse and using oil lamps and chamber pots while living in castles and towers, so the setting is obviously not a modern one. It's commonplace, especially in the past, for girls to have married men who were much older, as someone already pointed out.

It's also common in literature. Jane Eyre and Emma come to mind as immediate examples. I haven't heard people doing a lot of complaining about the age differences in those, and they're both more drastic than what this one was.

And I know from personal experience that relationships that start out as dislike can evolve into respect, friendship, and then love. And there's no reason why that wouldn't be a 'winning formula' if it works out that way. I find the development of their relationship to be well done.


Heather (heatherjoy) As much as I enjoyed Poison Study, it can’t really compare to Jane Eyre and Emma. Not because Poison Study is poorly written, but because it is an entirely different genre. Comparing the former to the later is like comparing apples to oranges. Also, just because there are references to chamber pots, and horses opposed to toilets and cars, I don't get olden days from this story. Common place in this book is for couples to be close in age, at least, from what I read in this book, Magic Study and Fire Study. I saw nothing that suggested the norm was for women to form romantic relationships with men who were significantly older than them. Another key difference is the fact that women are able to hold political and social standing and income in their own right in Poison Study, unlike women in the time of Jane Eyre and Emma which could explain why no one makes age complaints. Emma and Jane Eyre are "historical romances" whereas Poison Study is fictitious.


message 20: by Tatiana (last edited Mar 23, 2010 11:04AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tatiana (tatiana_g) I think if PS weren't classified as YA, we wouldn't even be discussing this age difference. I personally don't have any problems with it. If we can accept 107-year old Eddie Cullen falling for a teenage girl, we can surely accept a 14-year difference between two characters who are of age:o)


message 21: by Drew (last edited Mar 23, 2010 10:54AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Drew | 3 comments Heather--I really like your comments here, and I do have to agree with you that in fiction it is much more interesting, but practically maybe not such a good idea to venture into. But at the same time, I’m sure you’ll agree (what an awful assumption of me to make) that the blind, naïve “love at first sight” can be equally problematic.

Tatiana--I'm not accepting the 90 year age difference between Bella and Edward. That was actually one of my big problems with Twilight. Statutory. That’s all I’m saying. Being trapped in a 17-year-old body is no excuse.


Jenny (narcisse) I wasn't comparing Jane Eyre and Emma to Poison Study. I was pointing out that many heroines find themselves involved with older men, those being two examples of such. Genre has nothing to do with it. (Though Emma will inherit her father's property which is not entailed and at the beginning of the book has no desire to marry, so she didn't have to be with anyone let alone someone who is 16 years older than she is. And Jane isn't with Rochester until she's inherited enough money to raise her social standing enough to not need him either. It should also be pointed out that both of those heroines marry by choice and for love, and not because of any financial or social pressure to marry.)

If, however, people are determined to compare it to other relationships within the book so that there is no excuse for deviating circumstances, then there isn't really much to compare it to, especially relationships in which we know the involved parties' ages. We're pretty much just left with Dilana and Rand. We find out I think in Fire Study that Dilana is 25. So she isn't much older than Yelena, who is around 21ish at that point. If Rand was the previous king's cook or whatever, then one can speculate that he must be older - probably near in age to Valek, for him to already be old enough to be the king's cook and thus retain the job once the commander takes over. If that's the case, then there is in fact a precedent in this book for women being with older men.

But it'll bother some people and not others regardless. I've just been stating some of the reasons why it does not bother me.


message 23: by Annalisa (last edited Mar 23, 2010 11:44AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Annalisa (goodreadsannalisa) Jenny,
I agree with you. The medieval elements made the age difference plausible for me (they're stuck in a castle without many people to meet). Plus, with fantasy elements where you're in a different world, I don't always compare their lives to ours. Yeah, if I knew a 30-something-old going after a 20-ish girl, I'd think it was sick and wrong, but here it worked.

The other thing that played a key in their relationship is tragedy. They both had pasts that required them to mature at a young age. It's kind of like Holocaust survivors who couldn't be with anyone who had not experienced the same horrors. I think Valek recognized in Yelena someone who had been through a lot but instead of letting it destroy her, she became stronger for it. It was that survivor strength that aged them and brought them together.

Tatiana, :). It's usually me who compares books to Twilight.


message 24: by Kristin's (last edited Mar 25, 2010 02:30PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kristin's (kristinnb) | 4 comments The age difference didn't bother me. I kinda saw it coming when she washed up and he caught his breath when he saw her. I was excited about this. Yelena may only be 19 or so, but she is more mature than the average 19 year-old. I hate that they had to seperate at the end of the book, though. I have the next two books waiting for me at the library, so hopefully it will all work out.


Heather Boxley (hrboxley) | 1 comments I really enjoyed the relationship between Valek and Yelena. I actually didn't see it coming at first. I had a feeling he cared about her, but he sure was hiding it well....playing it off as trying to protect his food taster so he wouldn't have to start training someone new. I was pretty bummed out that they were seperated at the end.....


message 26: by Zoe (new) - rated it 5 stars

Zoe Mc | 4 comments I absolutely loved the Valek Yelena story line. It made the book so emotional and brought a new dimension to the story.
This is one of my absolutely favourite books and it is all because of the characters of Yelena and Valek!


Kayzee | 180 comments OOOOOOOOOOOOOOh i read magic study lol not enough valek and I'm half way through fire study lol still not enough Valek


Amanda (thebooksloth) I really liked Valek and Yelena :)
I had no idea he was thatt old, but that's ok I guess, I mean my aunt & uncle are 10 years apart and I've hardly ever seen a couple as happy as them. :)


Ariel | 21 comments They're greatt , I love that Valek was supposed to kill Yelena in the beginning . The whole assisian thing is hott , lmfao . This is one of my favorite series <33


message 30: by Kaion (new) - rated it 1 star

Kaion (kaionvin) Forget their age difference. I'd be much more disturbed by their power imbalance. He literally holds her life in his hands. Stockholm syndrome, anyone?


Ariel | 21 comments It was actually the Commander that 'held her life in his hands' . I thought they treated eachother equally after what happens when they first meet ..


message 32: by Kaion (new) - rated it 1 star

Kaion (kaionvin) When she literally has to go to him for antidote in the mornings? Hands, life?


Ariel | 21 comments Well not technically since without the antidote she wouldn't actually die , just be really sick for a day or so . Either way I liked Valek from the beginning . <3


Stephanie (Reading is Better With Cupcakes) (imjustcupcake) | 18 comments Interesting enough, I got poison study without realizing what part of the book store it is kept in. Then I found that in the story I frequent, it is kept in the romance section. I have never really felt that this series belongs there. Then I see you guys mentioning that it is a YA book, that makes it make more sense to me. I have always felt that they keep this series and the Glass series in the wrong spot...

As far as the age difference, I honestly didn't really pay any attention to that. Throughout the story I thought maybe there would be a relationship between the two, but I found Valek to be very cold towards her. Actually, in general, I think Valeks character is more distant and cold. It is probably thanks to the fact that he is an assassin, but it still bothered me.


Jessie R (magiccircle) | 1 comments I still find it hard to believe that anyone would have a problem with such a small age difference. My mother was nineteen when she married my thirty-four year old father and 3 children and 30 years of wedded bliss later unfortunately he passed away.. My mother still loves him and hasn't even considered looking for anyone else.. In this day and age true and lasting love is such a rare thing and shouldn't be cheapened by judging someone on sexual preference or age (as long as both parties are consenting adults.) Shouldn't happyness and compatibility be the only concern? After all it is a ficticious tale:)


message 36: by Rita (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rita Webb (ritawebb) | 77 comments Stephanie wrote: "Actually, in general, I think Valeks character is more distant and cold. It is probably thanks to the fact that he is an assassin, but it still bothered me."

I always had the feeling that he liked her but didn't know how to handle a relationship, so he pushed her away. For me, that it made it all the more triumphant when they finally got together.

About the age difference, I was surprised at first that she was interested in him because I imagined him to be much older, like 50's or 60's. When it became apparent that I was mistaken and he was in his 30's, I didn't think it was a problem.


message 37: by Rita (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rita Webb (ritawebb) | 77 comments Magiccircle wrote: "My mother was nineteen when she married my thirty-four year old father and 3 children and 30 years of wedded bliss later ..."

That is a beautiful story, MagicCircle.


message 38: by Izzy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Izzy | 1 comments Of the top I actually found the age difference refreshing. I'm tired of the lead male characters being waaaaay to mature for their ages, Valek was a very believable character. For me personally the romance was awesome (reminded me of my own ;) ) Also I kinda liked that he was a badass... maybe just me but he was the perfect combination of funny, sarcastic/dry, sexy, and loveable. Yelena has been one of my favorite heroines of all time for a few reasons. I love a girl who can defend herself, but the ass kicking female thing has gotten old, while formidable, she's realistic. And she wasn't always that way she learned. She's inspiring and the perfect combination of believable yet strong. This is probable my favorite book romance ever.

Note: read the other two books to understand whole review.


message 39: by Valek_ixia (new)

Valek_ixia | 1 comments I personally thought that the romance was believable, then again it WAS right in front of me... Did I mind the age gap between me and Yelena? Not particularly. I have myself something of a Trophy Soulfinder.

To Angie: Honestly I'm just glad that the Commander let Yelena and I live. If that's selfish... the Commander has every right to be selfish when he chooses to be. Because let's be honest. I would have put the knife through my own heart a moment after Yelena's.

To Heather: I should know better? *laughs* You would be surprised to know that Yelena and I happen to have much in common; In our histories and in our present. Chronicler Maria V. Snyder should have made that clear in the stories we already have.

To Jenny: Rand was younger than me when he was cooking for the king. He was ten when he started cooking for the king, was in his rebellious teens when the commander started Rand as his cook... His age was closer to thirty when star's Men killed him. Dilana was twenty five.

To Ariel: Actually I did hold Yelena's life in my hands. If I had killed her all I would have had to tell Commander Ambrose was that she had committed treason. As for my 'so-called poison'; The mind controls the body. She could have died from the conviction that she was going to die alone. Would she have? I'm glad that I'll never know.

And Izzy, If I wasn't spoken for you'd be a lady after my own heart ;)

~Valek


Helen (hikarixxx) | 1 comments I imagined Valek to be in his late 20s, but it's fine if he's in his early 30s... a 13/14 ish age gap really doesn't bother me. My parents are 11 years apart and they've been happily married for over 23 years now. Of course they would have their childish fights and arguments from time to time, but I guess that allows them to keep the chemistry they have between each other.


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