“What is the setting of the novel?” might just be the most important question anyone can ask about any book. When my teachers would ask this question, I’d always hold in my groan. Why does it matter where all this fictional stuff is happening? Who cares when it was! Turns out, it’s very important and a novel can very easily become gibberish without an understanding of its setting. As I continue to read Empire of Storms, Aelin’s plans seem to be getting more and more complicated and harder and harder to keep up with. I find myself flipping back pages and rereading her strategizing as my brows scrunch in confusion. She’s talking about all these lands and who lives where and what kingdoms will be on their side and I’m still trying to figure out the pronunciation of that weird name from a few pages ago. Then a few days ago, by complete chance, my book opened to the third page — to the back side of the dedication — and I see the answer to all my questions. A MAP! Bless Sarah J. Maas for understanding the confusion of her readers and including a map of her world in the front of this novel. I’ve been switching between reading the book on my phone and in print so I must have missed it before but wow it makes everything so much easier. I now flip to it whenever the name of a land is mentioned so I can easily understand the context of where they are. I finally understand all my past english teachers and their constant questioning on the setting of a novel.