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Star Wars: Queen’s Shadow Book Review

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“Star Wars: Queen’s Shadow” is a rewarding character centric novel.

Having previously penned the “Ahsoka” novel, author E.K. Johnston returns to the “Star Wars” universe with a story revolving around Padmé. Set 4 years after “The Phantom Menace” (and before “Attack of the Clones”), the story starts off with the ending of Padmé’s tenure as Queen Amidala and focuses on her transition into becoming a Senator. Of course, she isn’t the only one going through changes here as all of her Handmaidens (Sabé, Eirtaé, Rabé, Yané and Saché) and her security team (including Captain Panaka) are all deciding on the next phases of their own lives. While these characters all have roles of varying degrees, Sabé certainly has the biggest role in the story as she is the closest to Padmé. I won’t get into her arc though as I don’t wish to spoil anything.

The bulk of the story finds Padmé adjusting to her Senatorial duties, navigating the world of Galactic politics, forming allies (many of whom will be familiar to SW devotees), and having a new staff including Dormé, Cordé, Versé and Typho.

As someone who loves the world building in “Star Wars” (especially in the prequels), I was thrilled that “Queen’s Shadow” shed more light on things that have been established such as Naboo’s political structure, the importance of the elaborate costumes Amidala wore, the bond and dynamic between Padmé and the Handmaidens, Nute Gunray’s trial, Padmé’s inner circle, and the inner workings of the Galactic Senate. All of these elements have been fleshed out more and will no doubt make you see things in a different light when rewatching the prequels.

Now, some readers may knock E.K. Johnston for the plot’s lack of action and conflict and an overemphasis on politics, but to me, it was refreshing to see a story that simply lets things breathe. While there are conflicts (primarily senatorial conflicts), they are rather minor and never take precedence over characterization. This novel is all about filling in gaps about Padmé’s life in between Episodes 1 and 2 and her transitional phase from Queen to Senator. There’s also a lot foreshadowing to the rise of the Separatists and the future attempts on Padmé’s life. We learn so much more about who Padmé is and who is important to her prior to meeting the love of her life (Anakin). It all greatly benefits her character as a whole.

As an added bonus, there are many “deep cuts” as I like to call them. Expect one particular surprising connection to “The Phantom Menace,” numerous familiar faces, and even some much welcomed “Clone Wars” ties. Basically, it’s “Star Wars” heaven.

“Star Wars: Queen’s Shadow” will be released March 5, 2019

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January 17, 2019 - Posted by | Book review | , , , , , , ,

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