Queen's Shadow
Written by the #1 New York Times best-selling author of Ahsoka! When Padmé Naberrie, "Queen Amidala" of Naboo, steps down from her position, she is asked by the newly-elected queen to become Naboo's representative in the Galactic Senate. Padmé is unsure about taking on the new role, but cannot turn down the request to serve her people. Together with her most loyal handmaidens, Padmé must figure out how to navigate the treacherous waters of politics and forge a new identity beyond the queen's shadow.

Queen's Shadow Details

TitleQueen's Shadow
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 5th, 2019
PublisherDisney Lucasfilm Press
Rating
GenreMedia Tie In, Star Wars, Science Fiction, Young Adult, Fiction

Queen's Shadow Review

  • Ana O
    January 1, 1970
    Me: I desperately need an ARC. The publisher: NetGalley will decide your fate.Me: I am NetGalley.SOMEONE GIVE ME QUEEN'S SHADOW BEFORE I GO INTO FULL SITH MODE. Padme deserved so much better than Anakin's punk ass. I can’t believe I’m saying it but it’s very, very true. How you gon force choke your pregnant wife. Give me that sweet, sweet space drama goodness. I need it like a crackhead needs coke. I foresee: Political dramaOutlandish, fluffy dressesA choreographed tour through the beauties of Me: I desperately need an ARC. The publisher: NetGalley will decide your fate.Me: I am NetGalley.SOMEONE GIVE ME QUEEN'S SHADOW BEFORE I GO INTO FULL SITH MODE. Padme deserved so much better than Anakin's punk ass. I can’t believe I’m saying it but it’s very, very true. How you gon force choke your pregnant wife. Give me that sweet, sweet space drama goodness. I need it like a crackhead needs coke. I foresee: Political dramaOutlandish, fluffy dressesA choreographed tour through the beauties of NabooA secret friendship and budding romance between Anakin and PadmeObi-Wan thinking, talking, running, fighting, being awesome, perfect and flawless at the same timeJar Jar proving once and for all he is not only a 1st class politician but also an intellectualPadme doing Padme things fighting for the republic, falling in love with an emotionally unstable jedi, losing the will to live I am expecting good things.
    more
  • Khurram
    January 1, 1970
    Permcreat. This is the perfect metaphor for this book as far as I am concerned. It fills in the gaps in the Star Wars universe but it is not the most exciting thing.The writhing is good but for me the book is way too slow. An example there is not battle or blaster bolts fired till page 320 out of 345.In fairness this book takes place is probably the dullest era of Star Wars. In between the Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. Also as the book is mostly from Padme's perspective (who would not Permcreat. This is the perfect metaphor for this book as far as I am concerned. It fills in the gaps in the Star Wars universe but it is not the most exciting thing.The writhing is good but for me the book is way too slow. An example there is not battle or blaster bolts fired till page 320 out of 345.In fairness this book takes place is probably the dullest era of Star Wars. In between the Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. Also as the book is mostly from Padme's perspective (who would not have know about Palpatine's background movements). There is not really much actionwise that could have been put into the book.This book is about Padme's transition from Queen to galactic senator. I did like the fact that it was not just a straight transition and Padme needed to prove herself in this new arena as well. Starting from the bottom and working her way up. Making allies with future legends. Also the other politicians being weary of her because of her past in the Senate as a Queen. Changing her tactics and those of her staff.From a filling in the gaps point of view the book is great. However the pace of the story is too slow, and the lack of action was the reason I was disappointed in this book.
    more
  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    January 1, 1970
    This is a Padme Amidala book by one of my favorite authors and it's killing me inside a little bit. thanks for my life E.K. Johnston
  • rachael ♡
    January 1, 1970
    Y'ALLLLLLLLL I'M SO EXCITED FOR THIS, I CAN'T BREATHE.FROM QUEEN TO SENATOR? AKA A SOLO PADMÉ STORY WITH THE HANDMAIDENS AND POLITICS AND INTROSPECTION AND BADASSERY? SIGN. ME. UP. I AM READY!!!Also, E.K. Johnston has owned me ever since she wrote Ahsoka and ruined my life.I am ready to be hurt again.
    more
  • Jena
    January 1, 1970
    I really don't think it's too controversial to say that, even amidst a throng of other characters that got the short end of the stick, Padmé got the shortest short end of the stick in the prequels. The Clone Wars cartoon did give Padmé a bit more focus, but this is the first real canon material entirely about Padmé. And it came at the perfect time.Queen's Shadow is not an action-packed book. There are no fight scenes and only a few scenes that could be stretched into resembling mortal peril. It' I really don't think it's too controversial to say that, even amidst a throng of other characters that got the short end of the stick, Padmé got the shortest short end of the stick in the prequels. The Clone Wars cartoon did give Padmé a bit more focus, but this is the first real canon material entirely about Padmé. And it came at the perfect time.Queen's Shadow is not an action-packed book. There are no fight scenes and only a few scenes that could be stretched into resembling mortal peril. It's very slow at parts and most of the tension centers around dialogue. And yet, it's full of intrigue and drama. This story follows Padmé as she transitions from being Queen of Naboo to her role in the Senate, as well as her relationship with her various handmaidens we saw in the movies (with particular focus on Padmé's closest friend/handmaiden, Sabé). We first learn more about the role of her handmaidens and the decoy maneuvers we saw in the films, which was all incredibly fascinating and intricate.As Padmé and the plot moves to Coruscant, she slowly has to figure out who she really is while navigating the dangerous world of galactic politics. Even though this doesn't contain the usual blaster and lightsaber action of a Star Wars book, these scenes are just as tense - every decision Padmé makes affects the lives of all of Naboo, and lives across the galaxy. We see her forge new alliances with familiar Star Wars characters and struggle to prove herself to the senate who views her as an over-emotional upstart following her actions in The Phantom Menace. Fans of The Clone Wars will appreciate a few cameos, but you don't have to be familiar with all of the characters to appreciate their role in the story.The way the politics are handled in this book was absolutely perfect, it felt very real while also deepening the world and showing how the Republic had cracks long before Palpatine exploited them. There are also a number of real-world analogies, like how when Padmé first comes to Coruscant she's the target of news outlets criticizing her. And like a few real-world (young) politicians, most of the criticisms have nothing to do with her policies but are cheap shots at her youth and physical appearance. My one big complaint with the book is that our other main character, Sabé, had a lot of potential but didn't really have enough to do outside of protecting Padmé. One plotline in particular was extremely interesting but dropped almost immediately, and it came off as a "people keep asking about this so you have to mention it" moreso than something natural to the plot. I wish we could have seen more of Sabé because her personality was very different from Padmé's.Overall, this was a very good read and I was excited to get to see Padmé develop into her own person. If you've desperately been waiting for more Padmé content since 1999, now is finally the time.
    more
  • Bria
    January 1, 1970
    This is the book I’ve been waiting twenty years for and I’m so happy with every page.
  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    I'm actually crying. This is EXACTLY the book I wanted, this is EXACTLY the book that every girl who first met Padme when they were 8, 10, 12 years old NEEDS because this book is EXACTLY what every girl who wanted to believe she belonged in Star Wars deserves. I was 6 when I saw aNH for the first time & asked my mom why Leia wasn't the main character. I was 10 when Padme walked on screen, into my heart because she WAS the main character, even when she wasn't. It was always about her. Everyth I'm actually crying. This is EXACTLY the book I wanted, this is EXACTLY the book that every girl who first met Padme when they were 8, 10, 12 years old NEEDS because this book is EXACTLY what every girl who wanted to believe she belonged in Star Wars deserves. I was 6 when I saw aNH for the first time & asked my mom why Leia wasn't the main character. I was 10 when Padme walked on screen, into my heart because she WAS the main character, even when she wasn't. It was always about her. Everything was about her. And this book knows that. QUEEN'S SHADOW is exactly the aftermath and the new beginning that I needed and I cannot express how much I love it. Thank you, Kate, for writing the book of your heart, the book of my heart, the book of Padme's heart. We are brave, Your Highness. We are so, so brave. ❤️💛❤️.(I wrote a longer review for my work blog, pls enjoy) I cried when I read this book (and when I reread it). It is exactly the book I wanted, it is exactly the book that every girl who first met Padmé when they were 8, 10, 12 years old needs because this book is exactly what every girl who wanted to believe she belonged in Star Wars deserves. I was 6 when I saw A New Hope for the first time and asked my mom why Leia wasn’t the main character. I was 10 when Padmé walked on screen, into my heart because she was the main character, even when she wasn’t. It was always about her. Everything was about her. And this book knows that.E.K. Johnston, as usual, takes her characters to the next level. The ones you know and love–Padmé, Sabé, Captain Tanaka, Bail Organa–and the new ones all shine with their own voices, their own goals and wants. It’s a testament to Johnston’s excellent writing that I could hear the dialogue in Natalie Portman’s voice, in Keira Knightley’s, especially in Jimmy Smitt’s, as I was reading. And there are a few sentences that just so perfectly and neatly sum up certain characters that I had to set the book aside to process the moment, the deep understanding that Johnston has of these characters (three words about Palpatine, and one of them was his name, and I’m still not over it).The characters are intrinsically Star Wars–of course–but there’s something fresh and real about them, too. They want things in such a real way that it’s heart-wrenching knowing what happens to them, knowing what they can’t have. This book is all about wanting, about Padmé finding what she wants, finding her place in the galaxy. It’s about change and all the changes she goes through after a major transition. It’s about Padmé and Sabé learning how to be Padmé and Sabé again, instead of being Queen Amidala. And it’s wonderful to have a book that’s so unapologetic about its ladies wanting.This book is quiet. It sort of snuck up on me in a way that I wasn’t expecting. There are a lot of politics and hard edges and disasters to avert, but there are these soft moments of pure friendship, too. Like the fashion of Naboo, the plot itself is perfectly crafted for Padmé: looks intimidating and frivolous and extravagant, but is actually practical and intelligent, a defensive safety net and a weapon all in one. (And the fashion! This book focuses on Padmé’s dresses and makeup with the same gravity other Star Wars books lay on lightsabers, which is perfect, because Padmé’s weapons are her dresses and her disguises!)And it…fits. This book is so beautifully interconnected with other Star Wars canon–the movies, obviously, but the Clone Wars animated show, the other books, especially Claudia Gray’s Princess of Alderaan, the video game Battlefront II–but it absolutely stands on its own, as well. Even if you’ve only ever seen the movies, you could never be lost in this book, and it’s a perfect gateway to more Padmé. But if you are deep in the lore, you’ll notice the easter eggs, the hints and nudges, the moments that are Johnston saying, “Hey, I love this, too. I noticed, too. I wrote this for you.”I saw a question on Twitter, someone asking Johnston if this book was for Star Wars fans or if it was for girls who like Star Wars, and I give you same answer she did: Yes. This book is for people who wanted more for Padmé, who know she deserves more than the movies gave her, who grew up loving her because of and despite everything she was and could have been. This book is for Star Wars fans who want more lore, more insight into these characters and the galaxy they inhabit, and this book is for girls who like Star Wars and cling to Padmé as one of the few ladies they get to see on screen. This book is for every girl who like Star Wars who was told she wasn’t a real Star Wars fan because Padmé is her favorite character. This book is for Star Wars fans who are girls who like Star Wars. This book is for Star Wars fans.And it’s for the Royal Handmaidens, both the fictional ones like Sabé and Rabé and Dormé, and the real life ones, like me, who fell in love with Padmé and grew up with her. Queen’s Shadow is exactly the aftermath and the new beginning that I needed and I cannot express how much I love it.
    more
  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    January 1, 1970
    3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2019/03/21/...I had high hopes for this first Star Wars new canon novel focusing entirely on Padmé/Queen Amidala, but unfortunately I was left a bit disappointed. On some level though, I think I had anticipated the issues, because from the moment I learned that Queen’s Shadow was to take place in the transitional time between the end of her reign as Naboo’s queen and the start of her career as a senator, I’d wondered whether there would 3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2019/03/21/...I had high hopes for this first Star Wars new canon novel focusing entirely on Padmé/Queen Amidala, but unfortunately I was left a bit disappointed. On some level though, I think I had anticipated the issues, because from the moment I learned that Queen’s Shadow was to take place in the transitional time between the end of her reign as Naboo’s queen and the start of her career as a senator, I’d wondered whether there would be sufficient material for a well-rounded, interesting story.The book begins on the cusp of a new election for Naboo’s next queen, and Padmé and her loyal handmaidens are all nervous and excited about what they will do once she steps down as the current ruler. For four years their lives have been tied to the politics of the planet, but soon they will be free to pursue any dream or career they choose. As Padmé watches her handmaidens discuss their future plans, however, she herself is still unsure of what her next move will be. Service to her people is all she’s ever known, and now that her reign is almost over, there is a both a bittersweet sense of accomplishment and loss about a chapter of her life coming to a close.But with the election of Réillata, the new queen, an unexpected opportunity suddenly falls into Padmé’s lap when her successor asks if she would represent Naboo in the Galactic Senate, replacing another retiring senator. It is an offer Padmé can’t refuse, and though a part of her is sad to be leaving her home planet for the bustling ecumenopolis of Coruscant, another part of her is thrilled to be able to serve Naboo once more, as well as to improve the conditions of the Galactic Republic. For one thing, she would like to put an end to slavery in the Outer Rim. Padmé has never forgotten the boy Anakin Skywalker she met on Tatooine, as well as the fate of his mother Shmi who was left behind on the desert planet.In the years since that day, Padmé’s youngest handmaiden Sabé, who was also the one most often chosen to be her decoy, has also become one of her closest friends and most trusted confidantes. As Padmé takes her place in the Galactic Senate, it is Sabé that she sends to Tatooine in her stead to search for Shmi and hopefully buy her freedom.First things first: there’s nothing really wrong with this book—nothing wrong, unless you count the fact that barely anything happens other than a whole bunch of political drama and description into the wardrobe of Naboo royalty. Don’t get me wrong, stories about the politics of the Galactic Republic, and later the Galactic Empire, have always been a prominent part of Star Wars fiction. But to have it as the main focus of a Young Adult book about Queen Amidala? The only result this guarantees is a limited audience, beyond diehard Star Wars fans such as myself. For one thing, this is not exactly the most interesting story you can tell about the character, nor does it have the usual adventure and action of a more typical Star Wars novel, so I doubt it would hook even the mildly interested. Older, hardcore fans of Star Wars will likely also find the conflicts in this story too simplistic and/or juvenile.That said, the writing’s great. E.K. Johnston also wrote Star Wars: Ahsoka, which I really enjoyed, and she’s brought that same smooth and accessible quality in her prose to Queen’s Shadow. The problem with this book, as I said before, has more to do with the lack of material to work with rather than any weakness in its technical aspects. We’re looking at a very brief and narrow timeframe in Padmé Naberrie’s life, after all, so in a way it’s understandable for some parts of the story to feel slow, drawn out, inflated. To her credit, Johnston did try to work in a separate storyline for Sabé in order to give the plot and setting a little more variety, but as a supporting character, her impact can also only go so far.Still, some positive things to note include all the wonderful references to other people, places, stories and events in the Star Wars universe, including an appearance by Senator Clovis, who was first introduced in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series in one of the few Padmé-centric episodes. I also liked how this book expanded and developed Padmé’s personality, so that we got to know more about her as a person with her own private hopes, fears, dreams and ambitions. So where Queen’s Shadow failed to deliver on good pacing and compelling entertainment, at least it worked extremely well as a character study.Regrettably, the same could not be said of Sabé, who fulfilled her supporting role duties valiantly but was otherwise wasted in her potential. While her loyalty was admirable, it just sucked that her entire world and life’s purpose—by even her own admission—revolved around Padmé and serving her wishes and desires. If the ending to this book is indeed a setup for a Sabé story, my hope is that she will gain some of her own agency.In short, Queen’s Shadow is probably a book I can only recommend to readers who really want to know more about Padmé, or if you’re generally into everything about Star Wars. While I count myself among the latter group, even I must confess it is one of the less engaging of the new canon novels I’ve read and not very memorable.Audiobook Comments: Admittedly, I’m way more used to having January LaVoy read as the female narrator for Star Wars books, but for Queen’s Shadow, how could I say no to Catherine Taber, who also provided the voice for Padmé on The Clone Wars cartoon series? Just like the audiobook of Star Wars: Ahsoka, getting the voice actress for the title character to narrate the book was a stroke of genius and brought an extra layer of immersion to the listening experience.
    more
  • Frank
    January 1, 1970
    Disney: alright we let you write a book about Ahsoka now write one that's about someone from the original trilogy like Leia or-EKJ: did you ever hear the tragedy of Padmé Amidala and her handmaidens?Disney: . . .EKJ: it's not a tale Disney would tellDisney: . . .Disney: it's treason then
    more
  • Ben Brown
    January 1, 1970
    It’s hard not to read “Queen’s Shadow” and wonder how awesome it might have been had Claudia Gray written it instead.It’s not that “Queen’s Shadow” is a bad book – it’s fine. The characters are mildly interesting, the story – thin as it is – is moderately compelling and rarely boring, and the tie-ins to the broader “Star Wars” universe are satisfying, even occasionally inspired. But whether it be because of the on-the-nose nature of her prose, the formulaic direction that Johnston seems intent o It’s hard not to read “Queen’s Shadow” and wonder how awesome it might have been had Claudia Gray written it instead.It’s not that “Queen’s Shadow” is a bad book – it’s fine. The characters are mildly interesting, the story – thin as it is – is moderately compelling and rarely boring, and the tie-ins to the broader “Star Wars” universe are satisfying, even occasionally inspired. But whether it be because of the on-the-nose nature of her prose, the formulaic direction that Johnston seems intent on taking the narrative, the novel’s strange inability to really flesh out and explore Padme Amidala as a person, or some combination of all three, the book never quite comes alive in the way that it feels like it could have. Scenes that should feel rich with thematic depth feel slow and ponderous, plot points that should be momentous fall weirdly flat…even the dialogue feels strangely off. It’s a real shame, because the character of Padme Amidala is one who’s never quite gotten her due in the realm of “Star Wars” novels, and I was really excited to see what a stand-alone novel featuring her – particularly during a period as rife with story potential as the post-The Phantom Menace/pre-Attack of the Clones era – would look like. That this, after so many years of waiting, is the book that she has ultimately been given is disappointing.That disappointment is only compounded when one considers what an author like Claudia Gray – who, in novels like “Lost Stars,” “Bloodline,” and “Leia, Princess of Alderaan,” has proven that she has a knack for taking female “Star Wars” characters across all eras of the “Star Wars” timeline and creating rich, thoroughly engaging novels around them – could have done with a character like Padme. There’s no doubt in my mind that had Gray been the one to write it, “Queen’s Shadow” would be every bit the great story that Amidala deserves. Instead, as it currently exists, “Queen’s Shadow” is a pleasant trifle – well meaning and moderately entertaining, but ultimately, sadly, forgettable.
    more
  • Jordan Anderson
    January 1, 1970
    Saying Queen’s Shadow is boring would be the ultimate understatement of the year. Saying Queen’s Shadow is a good book that represents everything Padme fans have wanted for the last 20 years is a blatant lie.Yes, I hated this book. Take all the bad parts of the prequel trilogy (and there a lot of them), throw in a contrived plot in which nothing happens, make every single handmaiden confusing with names like Sabe, Sache, and Verse, give them no distinguishing characteristics, and then have liter Saying Queen’s Shadow is boring would be the ultimate understatement of the year. Saying Queen’s Shadow is a good book that represents everything Padme fans have wanted for the last 20 years is a blatant lie.Yes, I hated this book. Take all the bad parts of the prequel trilogy (and there a lot of them), throw in a contrived plot in which nothing happens, make every single handmaiden confusing with names like Sabe, Sache, and Verse, give them no distinguishing characteristics, and then have literally nothing of any importance happen and at any single time, and you pretty much get the gist of what E.K. Johnston did in Queen’s Shadow.And hey, even I could have maybe upped my record had this book had any kind of excitement or joy. But nope. There’s none of that either. 400 pages of inane, cyclical, recycled plot structures, and typical cliched YA elements. This book is so insanely boring and so plain that I fell asleep reading it and didn’t even realize it. Hell, I’ve stared at grass growing and snails racing and desert tortoises having sex and that was all way more entertaining than this waste of time.I should have known Queen’s Shadow wasn’t going to be much good since I was totally u impressed with Johnston’s last book Ashoka, but I was willing to give her another try, especially since I wasn’t a big Ashoka fan to begin with. Sadly though, that book is like a Nobel Prize winner compared to what she manages to destroy in Queen’s Shadow.Another canon novel and yet another disappointment. At this point the duds and disappointments have far outweighed the successful stuff. Now, 2019 is looking to be a great year for Star Wars so I’ll tentatively cross my fingers that Gray, Dawson, Freed, and even Zahn (though I’m not holding my breath for his stuff) can turn things around after the mess that Queen’s Shadow is.
    more
  • Kaitlan Faith
    January 1, 1970
    A BOOK ABOUT PADMÉ?! PADMÉ FINALLY GETTING THE RECOGNITION SHE DESERVES?! I! CANT! WAIT! YES! FINALLY!
  • Katherine Locke
    January 1, 1970
    SO GOOD. HOLY CRAP. I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS.
  • Sophie
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars rounded up! I really enjoyed getting a deeper look into the handmaidens and Padme, as well as seeing Padme meet and become close to characters like Bail (and Breha!) Organa and Mon Mothma. Padme's interactions with the handmaiden's and the whole way the clothing is used as weaponry and used to manipulate people's expectations so that they can spy was so fascinating. I also thought it was great that Padme's guilt over leaving Shmi was addressed as was her desire to do something about sl 3.5 stars rounded up! I really enjoyed getting a deeper look into the handmaidens and Padme, as well as seeing Padme meet and become close to characters like Bail (and Breha!) Organa and Mon Mothma. Padme's interactions with the handmaiden's and the whole way the clothing is used as weaponry and used to manipulate people's expectations so that they can spy was so fascinating. I also thought it was great that Padme's guilt over leaving Shmi was addressed as was her desire to do something about slavery on Tatooine. And that epilogue!! That being said, this book felt a bit empty, like I just felt really detached from it and never felt like I got attached to the characters. Sometimes I would space out and realize that a plot had been dropped and I would have to go back and re-read sections. The plot was a bit meandering and so much that was brought up was just dropped. Like for example, why bring up the whole slavery subplot if you're just going to drop it. The look into Padme's first year in office and her transition from queen to senator was an interesting idea but there could have been way more done to execute it properly. I'd love if Johnston delved back into this universe, especially with that epilogue.
    more
  • DiscoSpacePanther
    January 1, 1970
    Anyone who has read my reviews of other Star Wars related media probably knows that I really enjoy The Phantom Menace, it is my favourite of the Prequel Trilogy and I rate it higher than Return of the Jedi. With that in mind, I was really stoked when I heard about this novel - I wanted to hear more about some of the characters that we had only seen briefly on screen, and E.K. Johnston did great character work with Ahsoka. Therefore, I really thought I would like this book more than I did.First, Anyone who has read my reviews of other Star Wars related media probably knows that I really enjoy The Phantom Menace, it is my favourite of the Prequel Trilogy and I rate it higher than Return of the Jedi. With that in mind, I was really stoked when I heard about this novel - I wanted to hear more about some of the characters that we had only seen briefly on screen, and E.K. Johnston did great character work with Ahsoka. Therefore, I really thought I would like this book more than I did.First, the positives. As seen with Ahsoka, the author is great at portraying character. The people in the book feel like the people portrayed on screen, and (as many of them are teenagers) they come across as realistically as teenagers who are space- bodyguards-cum-makeup-artists can do.The pose style is solid, and age-appropriate. Subtext is a little lacking, and the narrative probably over-explains if you are an adult reader, but this is not a problem in a YA novel.The political machinations are also well portrayed. One of my highest rated Star Wars novels is James Luceno’s Cloak of Deception, which has machinations in spades - and Queen’s Shadow gets the complexities of a young politician finding her feet in a new environment—where people don’t always say what they mean and where motivations are never transparent—spot on.The very best part of the book are the excerpts from the TriNebulon News Agency reports trying to character-assassinate Senator Amidala—they serve as a very pertinent reminder of how powerful vested interests can seek to delegitimise a woman in public life by labelling her as trivial or flighty. But even these dwindle to no more than praise by the end of the book without any real active change to address them on the part of the protagonists.There is one insurmountable problem, though - nothing actually happens in this book. Sure, there are people doing and saying things (there is even the obligatory YA blink-and-you’ll-miss-it almost- sex scene), but in a genre and franchise where action and adventure are the hallmarks there is never a blaster fired in anger, and far too many descriptions of food and frocks. I get that clothes are important to the handmaidens and Amidala, and is central to their form of trickery, but when the ratio of intricately described costume changes to exploding spaceships in a Star Wars novel is 20:0, that is somewhat missing the point. In The Phantom Menace we had Padmé and Sabé blasting Trade Federation battledroids left, right and centre whilst N-1 starfighters attacked Trade Federation battleships in orbit.There are two scenes that approach having action: 1. Padmé is lured into a place where she could be in mortal danger, but this is resolved with a conversation with someone who had nothing to do with laying the trap. 2. There is a skirmish in space, but our protagonists arrive late, and manage to drive off the attackers without a single casualty on either side. Where is the sense of peril? If you as a reader aren’t feeling the risks and dangers in a story, then there are no stakes whatsoever.And the relationships of the principals don’t change either (until the epilogue—more on that later). No-one has a startling revelation about themselves. No-one finds out that they have made a grave mistake that needs to be mended. No character shows any form of growth—they are all as capable, competent and dull before the epilogue as they were at the very beginning. Villains. Where to start. It’s difficult. There were no villains in the narrative. Sure, we hear Count Dooku speaking to someone. We have some meetings with Chancellor Palpatine, but he has not yet been revealed as the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, and just comes off as mildly self-interested bureaucrat. Some pirates make the briefest of the brief appearances, but really have no impact. There is the constant background rumble of Trade Federation Viceroy Nute Gunray’s trial, and it is implied that he had something to do with the damp squib “assassination” attempt, but he never appears on page, and references to it just sort of peter out.The book starts with a fake-out. It describes a scene in words that could equally well describe Padmé’s funeral, but instead is quickly revealed to be a happy moment shortly before the end of Queen Amidala’s reign. This is done as an intentional bookend, as the novel’s epilogue also uses the same description, this time applied to the funeral, and includes the thoughts of Sabé (the handmaiden played by Keira Knightley) and her intention to investigate Padmé’s death. This is unfortunate, because the epilogue is the set-up to a much more interesting story than the one presented in the novel.Then there is the mission that Padmé entrusts to Sabé and flat nonentity meatbag Tonra—rescuing slaves from Tatooine. This is done in the most inept and obvious fashion that it beggars belief on the part of the reader—are we meant to be anything other than contemptuous of a solution (buying slaves) that totally ignores the perverse incentive that actually encourages the slave trade? I find it hard to believe that a politician as adept, empathetic and observant as Padmé Naberrie would advocate something that could only exacerbate the situation.All through this book I found myself adjusting my rating downwards, as nothing continued to happen. Every time a character went to a new planet, I thought to myself “maybe the adventure will start here!”, but in never happened. Just more discussions about committees and costume changes.So much wasted opportunity. For die-hard fans only. Lucasfilm and Disney: give E.K. Johnston a contract to write an adventure story where Ahsoka teams up with Sabé to solve the mystery of Padmé’s death and Order 66, and make sure you green light plenty of exploding spaceships and lightsabre combat to go in there as well.
    more
  • Janel
    January 1, 1970
    Okay, so bear with me folks. I have a long history, noted by most of you, of keeping myself a 49 and a half foot pole away from people who get on their soap box and tweet angrily about people liking Kylo Ren or Reylo. I try to avoid the Fiction Purity Contests whenever I can.EK Johnston is one such individual, and she’s the author of this book.The underlying exception here? I fucking love Padme Amidala Naberrie. And I, despite my most petty desires, enjoyed this book. Now, there were some issues Okay, so bear with me folks. I have a long history, noted by most of you, of keeping myself a 49 and a half foot pole away from people who get on their soap box and tweet angrily about people liking Kylo Ren or Reylo. I try to avoid the Fiction Purity Contests whenever I can.EK Johnston is one such individual, and she’s the author of this book.The underlying exception here? I fucking love Padme Amidala Naberrie. And I, despite my most petty desires, enjoyed this book. Now, there were some issues because I am picky and I NEED to have issues, but I enjoyed it, and found myself hyped to keep reading every time I paused to itch my nose and moan about betraying my moral code to like it.Padme’s handmaidens are badass as fuck in this, and I would die for all of them. I found myself heartbroken before ten percent of the book had even passed, my mind unable to comprehend them separating from each other. What this meant, however, was NEW HANDMAIDENS FOR ME TO LOVE. There are so many women in this book, I love it.The foreshadowing was fairly subtle – I caught it but it wasn’t in my face screaming “THIS WILL MATTER LATER.” The plot was a little dry for me, or perhaps it’s just not my favorite writing style. I commend the plot though for keeping my interest throughout, which sometimes can’t even happen with stories I like more. Padme’s voice was strong and accurate here. Though, if I’m allowed to nitpick, the suspicions in the book placed on Palpatine feels like waaaay too early in the timeline for her to be feeling. It’s just me, but it felt like inklings that only make sense with what we know, and therefore felt a little off in Padme’s voice. Lastly, it was a little hard to tell who’s POV I was in at the beginning of each chapter, and the similar names probably didn’t help me there (no one’s fault but GL’s for that though :P). Since this review is nonsense and far too nitpicky, I will leave off with more that I liked:The epilogue with Sabe was heart wrenching and made me want to screech “HOW DARE YOU” at the book – I loved it. I also loved R2’s presence; he was written in such a cute way here.I feel like I have to watch Rebels now too, which is always good :P
    more
  • Katerina
    January 1, 1970
    Credo che il franchise di Star Wars stia attraversando un periodo di crisi e che per questo ai piani alti stiano cercando di ingraziarsi i fan di vecchia data: quest'anno uscirà l'ultima stagione di Clone Wars, un libro su Obi-Wan Kenobi e Qui Gon Jin, ed è appunto uscito un libro su Padmé.Padmé, perlopiù ignorata dal canon, spesso considerata un'appendice di Anakin, un personaggio la cui unica funzione era mettere al mondo Luke e Leia, al punto che le scene dove faceva altro sono state tagliate Credo che il franchise di Star Wars stia attraversando un periodo di crisi e che per questo ai piani alti stiano cercando di ingraziarsi i fan di vecchia data: quest'anno uscirà l'ultima stagione di Clone Wars, un libro su Obi-Wan Kenobi e Qui Gon Jin, ed è appunto uscito un libro su Padmé.Padmé, perlopiù ignorata dal canon, spesso considerata un'appendice di Anakin, un personaggio la cui unica funzione era mettere al mondo Luke e Leia, al punto che le scene dove faceva altro sono state tagliate e Lucas non si è neanche preso il disturbo di scriverle una morte decente.Se già Clone Wars cercava di mettere una pezza sul trattamento riservato a Padmé Amidala in Episodio III, Queen's Shadow cerca di metterla su Episodio II: breve recap per chi non si vuole leggere la recensione chilometrica di quel film: lì si scopriva che in dieci anni Padmé era passata da persona che aveva visto la Repubblica fallire nel proteggere il suo pianeta a sostenitrice numero uno del sistema; che non aveva mosso un dito per aiutare Shmi Skywalker e gli schiavi su Tatooine; e in generale non si è mai capito perché i Separatisti avessero voluto dichiarare guerra alla Repubblica.Dopo circa vent'anni, nell'universo espanso vengono finalmente affrontati questi insignificanti dettagli.Partiamo dalle informazioni generali: la Johnston ha scritto Ahsoka (a oggi il mio libro preferito dell'universo espanso) e per me ha dimostrato di essere molto brava nel raccontare i personaggi e nel trovare un equilibrio tra "avventure nuove" e rimandi a quelle già viste in film/cartoni che ti colpiscono dritto al cuore, per cui ero relativamente sicura che avrebbe fornito una rappresentazione interessante della ex-regina di Naboo, e soprattutto che avesse le capacità necessarie a tratteggiare in modo credibile il periodo di transizione che affronta tra i primi due film.Da quel punto di vista sono stata soddisfatta: il libro comincia il giorno dell'elezione della nuova regina di Naboo, evento che lancia Padmé e le sue ancelle nel magico mondo del "e adesso che si fa?", perché qui si parla del fatto che sono giovanissime ora che il lavoro è finito, figuriamoci quando hanno iniziato: Padmé ha passato l'infanzia a prepararsi per essere regina, e l'adolescenza ad esserlo, perfezionando la figura pubblica di Amidala - che non poteva essere Padmé.E le sue ancelle lo stesso: vediamo il rapporto strettissimo che le lega, perché anche loro hanno passato infanzia ed adolescenza ad addestrarsi per essere multitasking: guardie del corpo, spie, prime confidenti e consigliere della regina, un legame voluto e creato ad arte così che nel caso di uno scambio l'ancella non prenda solo il posto fisico regina, ma sappia anche comportarsi come lei, parlare come lei, pensare come lei. Non stupisce, quindi, che la lealtà delle ancelle vada prima a Padmé e dopo a Naboo, soprattutto quella di Sabé (per chi se la fosse dimenticata: è quella che si scambia con la regina in Episodio I) che qui è co-protagonista. Ma se le ancelle hanno - più o meno - dei desideri che vogliono vedere realizzati, ad essere persa è proprio Padmé e io ho trovato credibile che questa diciottenne non sapesse bene che fare ora che il ruolo più importante l'ha svolto. Le piace la politica, ma non sa dove indirizzare il suo talento, e soprattutto - finalmente - la cosa che più desidera è impegnarsi per il problema della schiavitù nei pianeti dell'orlo esterno.Ebbene sì: finalmente ci è concesso vedere che Padmé è stata segnata dalle esperienze su Tatooine, che vuole fare qualcosa, in caso di estrema necessità vuole comprare lei gli schiavi da liberare, manda Sabé in missione a cercare Shmi Skywalker per portarla via, in Senato prova ad introdurre l'argomento.Non avete idea di quanto mi abbia reso felice che sia stata finalmente riconosciuta questa parte della storia: erano anni che mi lamentavo del fatto che a nessuno tranne Anakin importasse qualcosa di Shmi e finalmente l'elefante nella stanza è stato affrontato.Visto che sto parlando solo di aspetti emotivi e accessori alla mitologia generale della trilogia prequel, ne approfitto per ricollegarmi ad un aspetto fondamentale di Queen's Shadow: non ha una trama e non succede niente.Ma attenzione: in questo caso non è una cosa negativa. Vedete, questo è un libro di contesto: non è tanto una divertente avventura dei nostri eroi, ma un vero e proprio tentativo di creare una cornice per la storia che verrà dopo.Non ci sono eventi assurdi, ma Padmé che diventa senatrice e impara a gestire il nuovo ruolo: vediamo che la Federazione dei Mercanti la prende di mira per screditarla, facendo uscire articoli dove viene costantemente sminuita (il che potrebbe spiegare la sua reticenza ad affrontare uno scandalo pubblico come la relazione con un Jedi); si vede che i Senatori non si fidano di lei perché il suo unico atto pubblico è stato far destituire il Cancelliere, sostituito poi da uno del suo pianeta natale; si vede Palpatine che la blocca ad ogni angolo (in particolare per la questione della schiavitù) e usa la burocrazia a suo vantaggio; si vede l'embrione dei Separatisti, persone non crudeli ma che vogliono poter mettere i bisogni dei propri pianeti davanti ai bisogni della Repubblica.Si vede la nascita dell'amicizia tra Padmé, Bail e Mon Mothma, che rende ancora più dolceamara la futura adozione di Leia (e ora voglio qualcosa in cui Bail e Breha affrontano i sentimenti legati al crescere la figlia di Padmé senza poterle mai parlare di lei).Non succede chissà cosa però viene spiegato come funziona il Senato, conosciamo meglio la cultura di Naboo e mi sono divertita un sacco nello scoprire che i vestiti super complicati e allucinanti che si vedono servono non solo a distrarre dalla faccia di Padmé, ma anche come protezione perché qualunque cosa le possano tirare addosso farà meno male se deve attraversare dodici strati di broccato. Mi è piaciuto che ad essere eletta come nuova Regina non fosse la candidata che Padmé appoggiava ma pace, collaborano e si rispettano sinceramente.Poi abbiamo l'angolo della rappresentazione: ormai è praticamente impossibile che un libri mirato ai giovani non abbia almeno un personaggio non eterosessuale e non sia inclusivo al massimo, e sia chiaro che ciò è un bene (non trovo sia un bene il modo in cui reagiscono alcuni sjw online, ma quella è un'altra storia). C'è una coppia di ancelle chiaramente gay che mettono su famiglia, e mi è piaciuto moltissimo che Sabé per Padmé provi dei sentimenti talmente enormi da mettere subito in chiaro che qualunque altro partner verrà sempre dopo, però mi ha dato un po' fastidio la cultura super-inclusive di Naboo - non perché sia sbagliata, ma perché mi è sembrato che fosse troppo... troppo, messa lì non perché credibile ma per far vedere che posto perfetto che è. Quello, e il fatto che qualunque scelta di abbigliamento dovesse avere una funzione pratica segreta: autori, non c'è niente di male se a una donna piacciono i vestiti di alta moda solo perché le piacciono. Non va giustificato perché sennò è meno femminista e meno bad-ass.Un difetto vero e proprio, però, sta nel fatto che ad un certo punto vengono introdotte le basi di alcuni misteri che la trama non risolve: semplicemente i personaggi smettono di indagare e io lo capisco che avevano altre priorità, però a me come lettrice interessava e se quella sottotrama devi farla morire così non metterla.In soldoni il libro mi è piaciuto: va detto che non succede assolutamente niente, ma l'ho trovato importante all'interno della mitologia dato che affronta e rende canon degli eventi che andavano affrontati e cerca di porre delle basi per alcuni snodi narrativi dei capitoli principali: riesce a collegare davvero bene Episodio I ed Episodio II, e a far sembrare naturali i cambiamenti che ci sono tra i due film. Così come The Clone Wars aiuta a comprendere la caduta di Anakin, così Queen's Shadow aiuta a capire la direzione politica presa da Padmé e il malcontento dei Separatisti.Se vi piace Star Wars, vi piace Padmé, e non vi spaventano libri che sono palesemente tasselli di un universo più grande, Queen's Shadow potrebbe fare al caso vostro.
    more
  • Scott Korin
    January 1, 1970
    Handmaidens. Antislavery. Feminist. Same sex relationships. Real thought and detail about the functionality of Padme's wardrobe. Political intrigue. And only a little sprinkle of Jedi.I loved everything about this book.More Sabe, please. A sequel, maybe?
    more
  • kenzie may (semi-hiatus)
    January 1, 1970
    Uh, how about yes freaking please
  • Sam
    January 1, 1970
    I love Padme Amidala with my whole heart
  • Jamie (TheRebelliousReader)
    January 1, 1970
    4 stars. This was fantastic. I have such a soft spot for Padmé and always thought she deserved better than Anakin and everything that happened to her. This was a very interesting read, it is on the slower side but if you're a big Star Wars fan, I think you'll enjoy it and the look into the character. The writing is fantastic and Johnston's interpretation of Padmé is great. It was a fun read with great side characters and an intriguing story with lots of politics. I'm glad that Padmé got her time 4 stars. This was fantastic. I have such a soft spot for Padmé and always thought she deserved better than Anakin and everything that happened to her. This was a very interesting read, it is on the slower side but if you're a big Star Wars fan, I think you'll enjoy it and the look into the character. The writing is fantastic and Johnston's interpretation of Padmé is great. It was a fun read with great side characters and an intriguing story with lots of politics. I'm glad that Padmé got her time to shine finally and without having to spout cheesy lines at Anakin! Highly recommend it.
    more
  • Nicis
    January 1, 1970
    2.5I wanted to really like this book so bad! Because is Padmé! FINALLY! But EKJ did not delivered for me.I read a lot of early reviews of ARC that said that people cried and laughed and never did i felt any of that in the 350ish pages of Queen's Shadow.Now, I'm not saying it's a bad book, it reads really fast and Padme always manage to keep the reader atention just by being herself. But plot wise there's almost nothing. There's never any danger, there's little emotion about the politics, the fir 2.5I wanted to really like this book so bad! Because is Padmé! FINALLY! But EKJ did not delivered for me.I read a lot of early reviews of ARC that said that people cried and laughed and never did i felt any of that in the 350ish pages of Queen's Shadow.Now, I'm not saying it's a bad book, it reads really fast and Padme always manage to keep the reader atention just by being herself. But plot wise there's almost nothing. There's never any danger, there's little emotion about the politics, the first ten chapters cover the premise of the book and not even the handmaidens are interesting enough, because (and this is not the authors fault) the similarity of their names makes them almost a hive-like thing, where the only real important individuality is Sabé, the rest is irrelevant and easily replaced by any "é" finished name girl.Cool points were the cameos of Bail, Mon Mothma, R2, several Clone Wars characters and Alderaan. The book ties in with Leia Princess of Alderaan, giving more deep to that (already amazing) book, but that itself makes more obvious the lower quality of this one in story terms.If you like Padmé is more than probably that you'll still enjoy the book, but I don't get the hype. It's a regular YA Star Wars book with pretty descriptions of dresses and a lack of supporting characters deep.Ps. The Epilogue is also good but super random??? Considering the last chapter happens years before AotC. Maybe EKJ is planing a Sabé spin-off?? I can't say i'm excited about that after this, but I'm committed to this f*cking canon line :/
    more
  • Abby Gleason
    January 1, 1970
    This is the book I have been waiting decades for. The story is so beautiful. My heart is so full.
  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    This idea had so much potential, but I think it tried to do too much and not enough. At first I really liked shifting back and forth between Padme and Sabe, but then it felt like that meant doing neither of their stories justice. And the ending felt very abrupt....all this build-up and then a super fast ending that wasn’t satisfying. Now that I’ve finished, I kind of wish they had each gotten their own books so we could go more in depth with both women rather than not getting quite enough of eit This idea had so much potential, but I think it tried to do too much and not enough. At first I really liked shifting back and forth between Padme and Sabe, but then it felt like that meant doing neither of their stories justice. And the ending felt very abrupt....all this build-up and then a super fast ending that wasn’t satisfying. Now that I’ve finished, I kind of wish they had each gotten their own books so we could go more in depth with both women rather than not getting quite enough of either.
    more
  • Vicki Crosson
    January 1, 1970
    I wept when I finished this book, not because it was particularly sad at the end (we all know what happens to Padme in the long run), but because 9 year old me didn't have it to read. When I was a child, right after The Phantom Menace came out, I probably read the novelization from Queen Amidala's POV a hundred times, because I wanted to know more about my hero, Padme. I wanted to know more about her life and struggles, history and future. This book is everything I ever wanted. Once again, Padme I wept when I finished this book, not because it was particularly sad at the end (we all know what happens to Padme in the long run), but because 9 year old me didn't have it to read. When I was a child, right after The Phantom Menace came out, I probably read the novelization from Queen Amidala's POV a hundred times, because I wanted to know more about my hero, Padme. I wanted to know more about her life and struggles, history and future. This book is everything I ever wanted. Once again, Padme, Sabe, and all the other women of the galaxy are reminding me how to be strong, diplomatic, cunning, and caring, and it hurts that I didn't have this when I desperately wanted it. Needed it. I'm very grateful that I got this ARC, because I know I'm going to reread this book another bunch of times, just as compulsively as 9 year old Vicki would have. And then I'm going to give it to another Star Wars obsessed girl, who is going to love it just as much as I do.
    more
  • Neil R. Coulter
    January 1, 1970
    This is kind of like the prequel trilogy, but without any of the interesting bits. People walk down corridors together having stilted conversations about sort-of politics. And there are a lot of descriptions of fashion and hairstyles. I believe that there is much room in Star Wars for books that don't rely on lightsabers and space battles; the absence of all that in this book wasn't the problem for me. It's that the politics feels rather simplistic and juvenile (a problem in most SW books; I don This is kind of like the prequel trilogy, but without any of the interesting bits. People walk down corridors together having stilted conversations about sort-of politics. And there are a lot of descriptions of fashion and hairstyles. I believe that there is much room in Star Wars for books that don't rely on lightsabers and space battles; the absence of all that in this book wasn't the problem for me. It's that the politics feels rather simplistic and juvenile (a problem in most SW books; I don't know that any author has yet figured out how to write so that it truly seems like the Galactic Senate represents thousands of systems, and maybe that's an impossible task), the characters a bit lifeless and interchangeable, and the writing style bland.E. K. Johnston had a tough assignment for sure, writing a novel about Padmé and her handmaidens, whose defining characteristic is that they all look and act a lot like Padmé—so much so that when they're standing behind Padmé, they blend into the background and become nearly invisible. Johnston does what she can to differentiate all of these characters, but there's only so much that can be done.The bigger problem right from the start is that Padmé herself is not a very dynamic character. In the years between The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones (where this novel takes place), the character doesn't seem to have undergone any interesting development. We meet her in Episode 2 as a laughably naive, immature person (I mean, she falls for Anakin Skywalker after he slaughters an entire indigenous community on Tatooine). So she can't have much significant growth in any story that falls in this in-between era; it wouldn't make sense in the movie continuity.Also, her introduction in Episode 2 indicates that she hasn't thought about Anakin at all since the end of Episode 1. But in this story, Padmé is desperate to find and free Anakin's mother, Shmi, on Tatooine. That feels weird. (It's also odd that the subplot about freeing the slaves on Tatooine gets completely dropped by halfway through the novel; I'd always thought that was an interesting direction that the movies missed out on, so I was curious to see how it plays out in this novel. But no.)I should say that I don't want Padmé to be a dull character. I find the concept of Amidala in Episode 1 and the final battle on Naboo quite spectacular. It's the execution that's flat.I didn't think Johnston's writing style helped the story. Over and over again, Johnston opts for the most obvious choices of word and phrase. For me, it was serviceable and quick, but not at all vibrant or creative. Occasional typos do liven things up, though—such as when Palpatine cautions Padmé to "tamper" her optimism (313)! :) I also enjoyed this sentence: "It was a remarkable relief to wear pants" (181).It's nice to see some more of Bail Organa and Mon Mothma in the senate, but I'm still confused about why Organa was in the lower levels of the building at just the moment that Padmé was in danger. It seemed sinister, intriguing—but then it wasn't.I hope for better stories about Padmé someday, but for me, this novel was not it.
    more
  • Keith Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    Oh boy....Massive spoilers ahead:(view spoiler)[Was this book written to retcon the reason for Amidala's death in 'Revenge of the Sith?' If true, what a waste of E.K. Johnston talents. I would be very curious to know if she was sought out by Disney to write this drivel, or if she brought the idea to Disney. Honestly, I wouldn't care if they did retcon Amidala's "death by broken heart." But get to the point sooner rather than 400 pages of dullness later.Ahsoka is one of my favorite novels from th Oh boy....Massive spoilers ahead:(view spoiler)[Was this book written to retcon the reason for Amidala's death in 'Revenge of the Sith?' If true, what a waste of E.K. Johnston talents. I would be very curious to know if she was sought out by Disney to write this drivel, or if she brought the idea to Disney. Honestly, I wouldn't care if they did retcon Amidala's "death by broken heart." But get to the point sooner rather than 400 pages of dullness later.Ahsoka is one of my favorite novels from the new Star Wars canon. It's tight, well-written, and thrilling. This book is well-written, but missing the other elements. It's boring, political behind the scenes nonsense that I can't imagine anyone cares about. I'm no prequel hater, but this makes 'The Phantom Menace' look like a Bourne film. If this is setting up a trilogy wherein the protagonist (I don't remember her name) tried to find the true killer of Amidala, then so be it. That I would be interested in. (hide spoiler)]
    more
  • Andi
    January 1, 1970
    The handmaidens are something I have often wondered about, and sad to say disappointed that Lucas never really gave them more purpose. At least he seemed to tease the fact that they stood in for Padme (see the first film and the second film of the prequel series).To have this book finally, read it, it leaves me sorry to say that I was a bit disappointed. I'm giving this book three stars for the handmaidens and Padme's relationship. I am knocking this down two stars because of the plot. The fact The handmaidens are something I have often wondered about, and sad to say disappointed that Lucas never really gave them more purpose. At least he seemed to tease the fact that they stood in for Padme (see the first film and the second film of the prequel series).To have this book finally, read it, it leaves me sorry to say that I was a bit disappointed. I'm giving this book three stars for the handmaidens and Padme's relationship. I am knocking this down two stars because of the plot. The fact is, there was hardly one and the one we got wasn't really meaty enough. Did Padme really jump that quickly into politics? Did she really attempt to rescue the slaves on Tatooine - briefly? I wanted more and I wish I could tell you what I wanted, but it wasn't what ended up being on the page.
    more
  • Meaghan
    January 1, 1970
    I accidentally read this in one sitting... I meant to take my time and savour it but I devoured it whole...This is exactly the Padme book I needed.
  • Vanessa
    January 1, 1970
    Padmé Amidala was completely still. The brown halo of her hair spread out around her, softened here and there by white blossoms that had blown through the air to find their rest amongst her curls. Her skin was pale and perfect. Her face was peaceful. Her eyes were closed and her hands were clasped across her stomach as she floated. Naboo carried on without her.Even now, at the end, she was watched.I want to go back in time and give this book to George Lucas and everyone who worked at the prequel Padmé Amidala was completely still. The brown halo of her hair spread out around her, softened here and there by white blossoms that had blown through the air to find their rest amongst her curls. Her skin was pale and perfect. Her face was peaceful. Her eyes were closed and her hands were clasped across her stomach as she floated. Naboo carried on without her.Even now, at the end, she was watched.I want to go back in time and give this book to George Lucas and everyone who worked at the prequels.Cause you see, I don't hate the prequels. There are lots of things that I appreciate about them. I just can't in good conscience call them "well written" movies. Luckily, all that potential didn't get completely wasted, so we got The Clone Wars tv series and the absolutely amazing novelization of Revenge of the Sith. And now this book.I know not everyone will like it, because it's almost solely focused on personal relationships and politics and how both of these elements shape a person. There is not a lot of action and barely any plot beyond Padmé figuring out who she is and who she wants to be - and in a parallel storyline, her best friend and former handmaiden Sabé does the same. They've both lived behind the mask of Queen Amidala (which is basically a made up personality Padmé and her handmaidens worked very hard on), that they've kind of lost themselves a bit. There are almost no Jedi in this story. No lightsaber duels. No Force. However there are Bail Organa and Mon Mothma already working behind the scenes. There is Palpatine being shifty. There is Clovis being a dunce, who might not be entirely useless. There are Panaka, Typho, the handmaidens and other people on Padmé's team we get to learn more about and making me want to rewatch the prequels to see if I can spot them and feel a deeper connection to them now.And then there is Naboo. This book did what Leia - Princess of Alderaan did for Alderaan. It showed me a homeworld beloved by its heroine for good reasons. It also showed me its flaws enough to not make it into some unbelievable utopia. I wanted to live there.And I also wanted to be part of that group of friends. The handmaidens and Padmé had such a beautiful friendship! Yes, they worked for her and Padmé was always very aware of the fact that these women would die for her in a heartbeat, but in essence they were just simply a different kind of family.Of course Sabé is the standout there. This book is almost as much about her re-defining herself as it is about Padmé. Technically the title could even refer to her, cause she's been the Queen's Shadow for so long, she doesn't really know how to be anything else. And in a refreshing turn of events, she actually doesn't want to be anything else. Padmé's relationship with her was so deep and beautiful that the very last chapter from her POV gave me a gut punch I didn't expect. (view spoiler)[Just her talking about finding Padmé's notes about all the projects she had planned. All the changes she wanted to make in the universe. How nothing of that would ever happen and she'd ultimately be forgotten was so heart wrenching... (hide spoiler)]There are only two criticisms I have for this book, but the first one is probably the reason why I didn't give it 5 stars. I said above that not everyone will like this book, because it's mostly a character study and while I personally don't mind, I do have to admit that this book was really really slow in places. I finally stopped waiting for a bigger plot to arrive after I had reached the halfpoint of the novel. I didn't need some big conspiracy or anything... just a goal here and there? I enjoyed the book regardless - especially getting to understand why the Naboo queen dresses the way she does - but other people might be understandably call it a bit boring at times.The second one was Clovis. For those who don't know him: He was a minor character in The Clone Wars tv series and it's been implied that him and Padmé were close/a couple a few years back. I didn't expect any true romance or anything like that, but I thought what we got was kind of weird? (view spoiler)[He was definitely not some great character I'm sad about or anything, but he was just starting to have potential as a character and then the whole thing just... got snuffed out? So Anakin is seriously going to be her first boyfriend? I mean, that explains some things, but... (hide spoiler)](Don't get me wrong. I didn't need a romance. I'm glad there wasn't a focus on that. I think if I hadn't watched The Clone Wars, I wouldn't have been bothered at all. But I did.)
    more
Write a review