Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press
Author: E.K. Johnston
Released: March 5th, 2019
Queen’s Shadow is the latest Star Wars novel by E.K. Johnston. This one specifically focuses on Padme and her adventures. It’s set right before she steps down as queen, and follows her first year as a Senator.
I knew from the moment I saw this novel that I was going to have to read it. There are a few reasons for that instantaneous response. For one thing, I adore Padme and couldn’t wait to learn more about her during a time that has been left relatively unexplored. For another, I adore E.K. Johnston’s work in Ahsoka (another Star Wars character I love) so I knew she could do the novel justice.
The cover for Queen’s Shadow is so striking. I love that we see Padme and Queen Amidala in one image. It may seem odd to make that distinction, but the novel further clears up the reasoning for it. Honestly though, I just can’t get over how much I love this cover. If they sold a print of it I would buy it without a second’s hesitation.
Queen’s Shadow was everything I had hoped it would be, and so much more. The choice to follow Padme’s political transition was a brilliant one, as there were so many opportunities to be had here.
This novel revealed so many little tidbits about Padme, her handmaidens, and the way they worked as a team. Some of these revelations answered questions I’ve always had, while others answered things I would never have thought to ask. I loved every ounce of information that was given to me.
The handmaidens suddenly felt real and like actual people during the course of this novel. Abruptly they were more than just background characters, instead becoming people with hopes, dreams, and goals of their own. It was brilliant to see this happen, and it added a whole new understanding to the people who supported Padme.
The political intrigue in this novel was so finely done. Some of what was happening I was able to guess, simply because of the timeline, but other elements – the more subtle elements – I had to wait out and see what would happen. It was truly a fascinating experience.
It was fun to see some of the other politicians in a new light. That is to say, I loved seeing them through Padme’s eyes and perspective. It helped round out my understanding of these characters in most cases, and in others just added another level of endearment towards them. Well, with one shining exception, of course. But you can probably guess who I’m talking about there.
The timeline for this novel is very specific. As I mentioned above, it starts the week that Padme is due to step down from being Queen of Naboo. It follows her journey for the next year, as she accepts the position of Senator and learns how to handle her new position. This is all before the events that would eventually lead to her death. In fact, there are no hints or appearances from that side of things. It was an odd relief, actually, to not have any hint of that.
The epilogue of this novel just about destroyed me. I know what is going to happen to Padme. Of course I know, but I hadn’t expected this transition. Worse, to see the reactions of the people who truly cared about her…it completely transcended the pain we had previously witnessed and experienced. It changed the whole series of events, making it feel more real in ways I hadn’t expected.
Despite the fact that the epilogue left me a sobbing pile of goo, I really did love every moment of this novel. I couldn’t recommend it enough to fellow Star Wars and Padme fans alike. It was brilliantly written, and completely held up to all of the expectations I laid upon it.