As I have mentioned before, I generally don’t read my reviews and have very little idea how people react to my work unless they email me directly. However, the content of a particular review was forwarded to me, and I do feel the need to comment on it. I guess there is someone out there who found “The Sjöfn Academy” so objectionable, they referred to it as “child porn.”
Now that is a pretty serious accusation, so one I have to address directly. I was deliberately vague on the “Age of Consent” in this book for a number of reasons. First off, neither of the two races (the Ha’kan and Tavinter) in this book are human. They are longer lived and have different rates of maturity and development. In my mind, these characters are physically in the 18-22 year-old range, and the Academy is similar to a college. If you want to get very literal about it, based on the timeline of the first book, Skye is about 20 years old when she enters the Academy. But again, I was vague so people are free to have their own interpretations.
Some of the inspiration for this book was personal, when I thought back to a time in my life (again, college and early 20’s) when women who were even a year or two older than me seemed so much more mature and experienced, and that gap of even a year or two seemed a lifetime. So some of the language used is expressive of that perceived gap, and not necessarily a reflection of an actual age gap.
To put it all together, one of the fascinating things about books, far more so than any other medium, is that what a person takes out of them depends a great deal on what they took in with them. In other words, a reader will interpret my work based on their own thoughts, memories, beliefs, culture, and experiences.
So really, if you somehow thought “The Sjöfn Academy” was about children? Um, that’s on you…