Ashaya's Age in HtP (Book # 5)

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Ashaya's Age in HtP (Book # 5)

Post by Artemisia on Wed Jun 04, 2014 1:59 pm

Hello everyone,

I'm re-reading one of my favorite book in the series: Hostage to Pleasure. I LOVE everything about Dorian's and Ashaya's dynamics. I love you Partly because I can relate to Ashaya's characteristics and have a HUGE fictional crush on Dorian. Wink 

I have always assumed that Ashaya was in her early 30s. She is an accomplished scientist: a lead researcher that is well-respected in her intellectual circle. And she also holds a more seasoned outlook compared to the younger heroines respective to their novel debuts (example: Sascha, Faith, etc.)

Becoming a respected scientist takes years of dedication, and most don't accomplish it until at least their 30s. Or even longer. Whereas becoming the world's top athlete occurs in the 20s age range, being a top (and well-rounded) intellectual is more demanding on experience.

However, my many years of thinking Ashaya is in her early 30s... has been challenged by a small detail I missed before.  Shocked 

"When she was with this changeling, all her abilities at subterfuge and self-preservation seemed to disappear

But, as she had learned in the twenty-six years of her life, truth was a tool. It should never simply be said. No, it had to be bent, twisted, colored, until it became a weapon." - Chapter 20, Hostage to Pleasure

What do you think Nalini means by this?  Shocked Most children don't understand the concept of lying they are at least 3-4 years old. I assume that if we add on these years, she would be at least 29-30?

Is there another, more clear reference to Ashaya's age in the book?  Idea 

I really just hope she is not actually 26. No Dorian, I believe, mentions he is 33 in the novel.

It seems that there are many authors who are afraid to age their heroines over 30... but they don't hesitate to make their heroes 30+.  Question 

Being only 25 myself (I started reading Nalini Singh's series a few years ago), I admit I am a wee bit irritated at this incredible idealization of my own age group.  Suspect For women that is. Like women cannot be considered beautiful and attractive once they've aged past a certain number.  No We see this in our media -- films, TV shows, magazines, etc. And there is even a bias in real life too...

I know there is Adria Morgan, but that is the only heroine in her 30s that I can recall.

Thanks everyone. Smile I am just hoping to find a positive fictional portrayal of a lady in her 30s.
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Re: Ashaya's Age in HtP (Book # 5)

Post by syaffolee on Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:47 pm

If we go by the most simple explanation, I think it really does mean that Ashaya is 26. However, I think you could argue that she is older depending on your interpretation of one fact. HtP takes place during 2080. Amara sends Ashaya a note when she is in the hospital in 2068 (Chapter 10). If this happened right after they got buried in the earthquake when they were fourteen, then Ashaya is 26. If the note was sent after Amara deliberately buried Ashaya when they were seventeen, then Ashaya is 29.

I wasn't really bothered about the fact that Ashaya was already running her own lab at such a young age. I viewed her as the Psy equivalent of Doogie Howser, especially after it was mentioned that at the age of 17, the Council had already offered her a plum position at a lab. We also have to keep in mind that Psy intellectual development is different than ours. For the Psy, it's all about the mind. So it's not surprising that young Psy children already know a lot.

I agree it's pretty weird that the heroines tend to be in their twenties. But unfortunately, it's a product of our cultural expectations as well as genre convention. A lot of readers, too, seem to prefer younger characters. (I seem to recall seeing somewhere that Harlequin once tried out a line with older heroines, but it went bust because no one wanted to read about them.) Personally, I don't care about a character's age. I just want an awesome character, period.

As a side note, I think Lara (the SnowDancer healer) is in her 30s--or at least older than the others.

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Re: Ashaya's Age in HtP (Book # 5)

Post by Artemisia on Wed Jun 04, 2014 5:03 pm

Another thing I've considered is that it could also mean "26 years since the start of her Silence Protocol training". I assume that is only when she started her training, she was forced to manipulate the truth in order to survive. Given how supportive her mother is, she did not have to do the same with her family. I haven't read every single book in detail, but this probably beings at the age of 3-5ish. Perhaps in Shield of Winter, they go into more depth about this. {Which I have not read yet, btw!}

I agree -- the depth of character matters more to me. However, I do focus more on age, when the male counterpart is much older. I guess I have a strong preference towards equal age/maturity pairings. That said, I do not mind Faith being 24 at all (and Vaughn being much older), because it completed suited how Faith chooses to interact with the world. In my age group (mid-twenties), we would still consider her very child-like and "innocent", but it is awkward if the same characteristics was placed on someone in their early 30s. However... I have a somewhat different opinion of Hawke and Sienna. Shocked I feel that is too drastic.

On a similar note, I find all the fictional ruckus about the age gap (about 3 years?) between Indigo and Drew to be rather silly. Rolling Eyes Rank difference, I understand, but age-wise, she is not significantly older than Drew. If the genders were switched, no one would bat an eye.

Yes, there is definitely a lot of cultural influences involved. I remember seeing a film where the "pretty heroine" was played by an actress in her mid-30s. Surprisingly, I found myself gasping at how much older she looked compared to the average actress who plays such a role. But then I realized it due to all of the subliminal messaging in both the media and our everyday lives. We are trained to see young women as the only women worth being admired. Suspect And we also have assumptions about how older ladies carry themselves and react. The stereotypes are all there. I find it pretty degrading for women.

Many thanks for the feedback, Syaffolee!

If this is open to interpretation, I would like to think Ashaya is at least 29.  Smile Not for the sake of her being older, it is to match the seasoned and well-rounded outlook that she clearly has. She is so disciplined in upholding a scientist's mindset -- not just in her professional life, but also in her personal life as well. I am heading towards health & science field myself, and I still find many of my peers to be immature outside the laboratory. A few years does not mean much once you hit a certain time in your life, but for most 20 somethings and younger, each year could indicate a major transformation. There is still so much to learn, and there is even more when you are young.  Wink

PS: I think Lara is also around 30 years old. Smile
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Re: Ashaya's Age in HtP (Book # 5)

Post by syaffolee on Wed Jun 04, 2014 6:47 pm

Yeah, my impression, too, is that the Psy get trained in the Silence Protocol very early. It's only how they're trained that's different (it depends on their designation).

I'm a scientist myself, but I guess I have a slightly different view of things than you do. People in their twenties and in the sciences have different levels of maturity just as anyone else in other fields and realms of life. I've known both very immature and very mature and driven twenty-somethings. Then again, the same things go for middle-aged scientists--some are professional and some throw tantrums like nobody's business. I think maturity level correlates more with life experience than experience in the lab. For Ashaya, I had no problem with her maturity level due to the things she had to deal with in her life, especially with the burden with taking care of her twin at such a young age.

I think we also have to take into consideration the world of the Psy/Changeling. It's not the same as our world. In Psy society, children are already expected to behave a certain way. Children aren't allowed to be children. It's only relatively recently in our society that it has become permissive for people to have an extended adolescence into their twenties. Especially before the 1950s, even the concept of being a teenager was foreign.

I'm with you about the Hawke/Sienna pairing. Definitely not my favorite one of the series. For me, it didn't really make much sense, but I try to rationalize it by believing that the author is paying homage to the old school romances of the 70s and 80s where the age gap between the heroine and hero was huge. Smile As for Drew and Indigo, I think a lot of the angst was exacerbated with Indigo's worry about dominance. Whether or not this is out of proportion to what would be "realistic" is probably dependent on the reader. It's all subjective. Even in the real world, one person may get over XYZ in a heartbeat while another may never get over it.

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