Having thoroughly enjoyed Queen’s Shadow by E.K. Johnston, I eagerly pre-ordered Queen’s Peril, even though I’d been granted an ARC ebook by the publisher.
I own all the new canon Star Wars books in hardcover, so there was no doubt I’d be purchasing this book anyway.
However, upon opening the book, I was thoroughly confused.
This is Book 2 isn’t it? Queen’s Shadow was Book 1. Surely Queen’s Peril would pick up where Queen’s Shadow left off.
If that was your assumption, then you, like me, would be dead wrong.
Queen’s Peril Review
Queen’s Peril takes place some odd years before Queen’s Shadow, back to the very day when Padme becomes queen.
I was disappointed to say the least.
I did not want a book that goes back. Especially not a book that covers already existing space in the canon. I wanted something new. I wanted more off-screen stories.
Instead, we get a book that largely overlaps Episode 1–a movie I’ve watched so many times I used to be able to quote it word for word beginning to end.
The only redeeming spot is that everywhere that is in direct correlation gets glossed over with “and this happened.”
I’m assuming that was a decision made from the higher-ups like Pablo Hidalgo. Nobody unfamiliar with the Star Wars universe would be likely to read this book, so thus they decided to gloss over the details.
But enough semi-ranting, let’s talk about this book’s content.
What it’s got going for it
Queen’s Peril focuses more on the handmaidens than it does Padme, which was a mediocre decision at best. I didn’t like half of the handmaidens, and I bought the book to read about Padme.
Of course, Padme is mostly what the book is about, but it’s really about how the handmaidens were particularly created to keep her safe, and how they accomplished that. It highlights their learning to act like each other and their many failed practices until they got it right.
And what it doesn’t
It’s a fun little bit seeing how this all developed, but unfortunately the stakes in the story are all widely known. You know how the story ends. You know how the villain loses.
It’s all rather stale because there is nothing on the line.
A story in the offscreen time between Episode’s 2 and 3 would have still left us knowing the end, but because it’s an unknown, it could still offer mystery and excitement as we see how the heroes escape their predicaments and survive to the next movie.
Instead we get a rehashed story with a half-interesting angle.
I can’t even waste another paragraph talking about Queen’s Peril, though I’m usually more verbose in my reviews. It was a decent book, don’t get be wrong. I finished it and enjoyed it. But it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be, and it wasn’t what I wanted it to be, and that sort of soured my experience.
Looking for more reviews?
Check out my review of Dark Skies by Danielle L Jensen.