By Priscilla Rose
E.K. Johnston’s Queen’s Shadow is one of my favorite novels of all time, so it is no surprise that I was riveted when she announced Queen’s Peril was going to come out this June.
I enjoyed this prequel very much! It did not flow quite as smoothly as Queen’s Shadow, but it was still a very enjoyable read. I liked the backstories of how the handmaidens got to be selected, as well as finally hearing the stories discussed in Queen’s Shadow.
This book is a great prequel to The Phantom Menace, although I wish we could have heard more from Anakin. The novel goes into mini snippets of other Phantom Menace characters’ stories, tiny flashes of their perspectives. Although not inherently necessary to the story, they were a fun twist in a predictable tale.
Queen’s Peril is fun because if you have seen the movies or read Queen’s Shadow, you already know what is going to happen, but it brings much more meaning into the characters themselves. I always liked Padmé, but Johnston’s novels have gifted me an understanding of her I would have never gotten elsewhere in the Star Wars universe.
(Minor Spoilers Ahead!)
Johnston goes as far as to discuss the handmaidens’ menstrual cycles, and how crafty and clever teenage girls can be, especially when together. These fun scenes brought more dimension to the handmaidens and even Padmé herself. A lot of authors write women, especially young women, as very one-dimensional, only discussing love and friendship. Johnston did a wonderful job showing these teenage girls as jealous, political, intelligent, and silly while still maintaining their
statuses as politicians and an unstoppable royal security unit.
I’d be interested to hear about what happened to Sabé and Senator Organa after Padmé’s early demise, or even another tale of Ahsoka. E. K. Johnston does an impeccable job with writing in the Star Wars universe, and I hope to see more tales told by her soon.