Queen’s Shadow by E.K. Johnston follows Queen Amidala as she is about to transition from royalty to a simple life on Naboo; when the newly elected queen asks Amidala to become Naboo’s new Senator she cannot say no.
Amidala travels to Coruscant with her guards and handmaidens for her first term in the Galactic Senate while also trying to figure out the best way to help the most people she is put up against problems she must solve with little knowledge on how to solve them or Galactic Politics.
Queen’s Shadow Review
In the beginning The Queen’s Shadow showed a lot of promise! This starts out as a coming of age story. Padme is forced to decide where she goes now that she has served her two terms as Queen of Naboo, luckily the new Queen has already decided for her!
To be fair, there was no way Padme could turn down this opportunity because all she has wanted to do was to help people! Once Padme gets to Coruscant it was pretty much down hill from there… I hate only saying bad things about books so I’ll tell you the few things I did enjoy first.
The relationship between Padme and Emperor Palpatine is enlightening! As the reader you are able to see how the dynamic develops and how Palpatine has manipulated Padme from the beginning.
The background we get about the Handmaidens! The handmaidens were a huge part of this story and I really enjoyed learning about them as main characters and not just women who stand behind the queen in The Phantom Menace.
There were a few moments when Padme reflects on her time with Qui-Gon Jinn. She looks back on his as a friend and hero of Naboo . She speaks of how the people of Naboo honor him every year and are thankful in his role in the Battle of Naboo. She even mentions Anakin and remember him fondly. As a Star Wars Fan these allusions were great, E.K. Johnston weaves these moments into the story pretty flawlessly
Ok… now the bad!
The plot was scattered and had no direction! It is hard to give examples because I do not want to give any spoilers away but Initially there was a conflict and I thought the plot would be a mystery to solve this one issue but it was barely mentioned for the rest of Queen’s Shadow. This same thing happened at least three other times with different conflicts Padme and one of her handmaidens experienced.
You know how I said before that the Padme/Palpatine relationship is enlightening… well it is BUT already in her first year as a senator Padme can see that Palpatine is hiding something, she can see that Palpatine may not have the best interests of Naboo or the Galaxy at heart and she gets increasingly frustrated with him throughout the book. Seeing how Padme has at least another 4 years as a senator before things really go down hill with Palpatine in the movies. . . I am not sure how this plot point fits into the Star Wars Cannon.
As we saw in Episode 1 on the Star Wars Saga Padme uses her handmaidens as decoys during times where she may need to go undercover for safety or to find out important information. This happened a few times in Queen’s Shadow and each time the author made it VERY confusing as to who was the decoy and who wasn’t. It doesn’t help that Padme is also called Amidala and it was simply not written as well as it could have been
One of the Handmaidens I BELIEVE is supposed to be LGBT… the fact that there is an LGBT character is great that isn’t the bad part. It was very unclear IF she was LGBT at all… and then it’s never mentioned again. I would have really like to see more of this side of the character especially since we learn so much about her expect for this one passing mention of attraction.
The political intrigue I believe way overshadows the rest of the story! There were so many ways this story could have gone. . . but instead we talk about peremecret (in Padme’s own word’s the most boring subject to discuss) insert eye roll emoji!
R2D2!! This was probably the most frustrating part of the whole story for me! It was almost like for the first half of the story the author almost forgets like he even exists in this universe and all of a sudden he is mentioned every chapter… there is no introduction he just wasn’t there one moment and the next moment he is.
No world building! If you are really familiar with the Star Wars Universe that’s great for this book! I love Star Wars and have seen all the films… I feel like I have a pretty decent knowledge of events and how this universe works but I still needed to ask my Star Wars Geek Husband questions because I was confused at a few key moments of the book.
Final thoughts for Queen’s Shadow
This story could have been executed so well and overall I was pretty disappointed.
Looking for more reviews?
Check out our review of Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee.