Star Wars: Queen's Peril by E.K. Johnston - Book Review

Write on: Sun, 31 May 2020 by  in Natasha's Reviews Read 17527

Padmé Amidala is young and ambitious, ascending to the throne as Queen of Naboo at the age of 14. Though the pacifist planet of Naboo seems entirely peaceful, General Panaka does not take his responsibility of protecting the Queen lightly. At Amidala’s suggestion, he finds her five handmaidens who support and protect the Queen, even serving as body doubles when necessary. These six teenagers must put aside their squabbles, families, and personal desires to rule a planet and administrate its foreign relations. What they prepared for but never expected comes to pass – Naboo is invaded and the Queen must protect her citizens at all costs, even as her handmaidens protect her.

Queen’s Peril, a new Star Wars novel by E.K. Johnston, takes place prior to and during The Phantom Menace, providing us the perspective of Padmé and her handmaidens. For me, this connection to Episode I was both the best and the worst part about this book. Padmé’s relationship with her handmaidens has always been intriguing to me, and I was eager to learn more about them. This provided me with an attachment to the characters before I even got started. I enjoyed getting to know each of the handmaidens and how they, together with Padmé, created the persona of the Queen. This character development is the main focus of the novel, along with some political subplots. This was perfect for what I wanted but might seem a bit slow to those looking for a more plot-focused read.

In the final fourth of the novel, the events of The Phantom Menace take place. This is the first true action we see and, to me, the weakest part of the book. It’s merely a quick replay of events I’d already watched (and read about) with a slightly different perspective. It feels rushed and forced. I imagine it’s hard to rewrite part of a movie without it feeling forced, but personally I’d rather this section was just left out and replaced with an original, somewhat more minor crisis that the girls had to work through together.

We also get single brief glimpses of perspective from other characters in The Phantom Menace such as Palpatine, Obi-Wan, and Jar Jar. These seemed very out of place and unnecessary. They contributed nothing significant, and the book would flow much better without them.

If you like Padmé already, then you’ll probably enjoy this book. I loved learning more about Naboo’s culture, seeing Padmé’s ascent to the throne, and finding out who each of her handmaidens were. Otherwise, however, the story doesn’t contribute much to the Star Wars canon, nor is it a great read on its own merit (if you don’t care about Star Wars). Altogether, I give Queen’s Peril 3 out of 5 stars for being an enjoyable but unremarkable read for Star Wars fans.

Many thanks to Disney Publishing and Netgalley for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Last modified on Sunday, 31 May 2020 03:27

Natasha's passion for reading was kindled by her parents and the local library that allowed her family to checkout 50 books at a time. She first fell in love with fantasy through Arthurian retellings whereas her love for science fiction began with Star Wars novels. Nowadays, she still spends her free time reading but also gaming, running a blog (natrosette), and obsessing over TV shows. Maybe if she spent as much time reading as she does looking for books to read, she'd actually make a dent in her TBR.