Book BFF: Yelena Zaltana

Book BFF was created by Larks Andrea, Paula, and Jen to showcase some of our favorite ladies & was originally inspired by Book Boyfriend. We'd love it if you'd join us featuring your favorite Book BFFs and leaving links so we can check out your posts. We will be alternating between Book Boyfriends and Book BFFs on Thursdays. 

For the first ever Book BFF on Reading Lark, I had to pick my favourite heroine ever: Yelena Zaltana from the ‘Study’ series by Maria V Snyder. 
My ideal Yelena is a young Jennifer Connelly. 


 long black hair plaited in a single braid, green eyes, oval face, skinny and under-fed looking. I don’t know if there is anyone who perfectly fits her look, but in my head she looks a little like a slightly gaunt, young-ish Jennifer Connolly with no make-up on! (Yelena doesn’t mess around with that kind of thing!) 

 Facts about Yelena: 
 - She is about 20 years old. 
- She was born in Sitia, a kingdom in the South, kidnapped as a child and raised in anorphanage in Ixia (a Northern kingdom).
- She is agile and flexible, and used to be an acrobat in the orphanage; this comes in handy during her combat training. 
- She was sentenced to death after killing the son of her kidnapper. 
- She chose to accept the offer of being a food taster rather than being hanged. 
- She is quick to learn the different poisons she has to identify and often has to rely on her wits to escape danger. 
- She is decidedly stubborn, but unfailingly loyal to the people she cares about, and is devastated when she learns that someone has betrayed her. 

 “Look at Ari and Janco. They appointed themselves your protectors long before I assigned them. All because you stood up for them to the Commander, when their own Captain wouldn’t. Think about what you have right now before you give me an answer. You have gained the Commander’s and Maren’s respect, and Ari’s and Janco’s loyalty.” “What have I earned from you, Valek? Loyalty? Respect? Trust?" "You have my attention. But give me what I want, and you can have everything.” – Valek & Yelena, Poison Study 

 “Yelena, you've driven me crazy. You've caused me considerable trouble and I've contemplated ending your life twice since I've known you...but you slipped under my skin, invaded my blood and seized my heart.” – Valek, Poison Study 

 "Living is a risk," I snapped at him. "Every decision, every interaction, every step, every time you get out of bed in the morning, you take a risk. To survive is to know you're taking that risk and to not get out of bed clutching illusions of safety.” – Yelena, Magic Study 

 “I gave him a bored look. I had been threatened many times before and had learned that the men who didn’t make verbal threats were the most dangerous.” – Yelena, Magic Study 

“Nothing like having a warrant for your execution to get a girl motivated.” – Yelena, Fire Study 

 Why she’s my Book BFF: 

 Firstly, I really feel like I could sit down and have a ‘putting the world to rights’ kind of chat with her. She’s humble, honest and stubborn... she doesn’t let people push her around, but she also doesn’t throw her weight about, even when she becomes extremely powerful. She has a wonderful bunch of friends, who I would love to hang out with, and she is strong enough to keep going on her mission even when she can’t be with the man she loves. 

 One of the things which made me love her most was when she was so weak at the start of the trilogy... just rescued from dungeons and death, she looked like a corpse, but she had unrelenting spirit. She ran laps until she was sick, trained to fight until she was black and blue, and she proved resourceful when no one expected her to succeed. She is clever, kind, strong, and loyal – and that’s why she is my Book BFF.


  1. This is such a wonderful idea for a weekly blog feature!

    The Study Series is definitely one of my favorites, and I've read Poison Study quite a few times. Yelena is a wonderful character to be sure, but I also love that there are so many other characters that you care about just as much (like Valek, Ari, and Janco).

    Awesome choice for a book BFF!! :)


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