Book Review: QUEEN’S SHADOW by E. K. Johnston

Genre: Sci-Fi
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes


Book cover for QUEEN'S SHADOW: title in white between woman's face

When Padmé Naberrie, the former “Queen Amidala” of Naboo, steps down from her position, she is asked by the newly-elected queen to become Naboo’s representative in the Galactic Senate. Padmé is unsure about taking on the new role, but cannot turn down the request to serve her people.

Together with her most loyal handmaidens, Padmé must figure out how to navigate the treacherous waters of politics and forge a new identity beyond the queen’s shadow.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


For some reason, I though this was a Star Wars: Attack of the Clones retelling, like QUEEN’S PERIL tells the story leading up to and including Phantom Menace. However, QUEEN’S SHADOW doesn’t touch the second film, simply looking at Padmé adjusting to being a Senator and the politics (!!!) of the Senate. I let out a little cheer when I realised I didn’t have to read Padmé/Anakin falling in love. Yes, I do think E. K. Johnston could write a decent Attack of the Clones book, but honestly? I’m happy to pretend “I don’t like sand” never existed.

Instead, we have a twisty book of politics – which I loved. It’s much easier to follow what’s happening with the politics than in PERIL as they’re explained more, though enough is left hanging for another book (pretty please?).

However, the heart of the book are the characters.

Padmé has to transition from the Naboo-centric role of Queen into the more galactic-centric role of Senator. She’s viewed with unease by her collagues for not only her role in ousting the last Chancellor but also her devotion to her home. What made her an effective Queen will not help her here! I loved that we got to see her adapt and change persona again, see how flexible she is when approaching problems, but still firm to her principles.

Sabé returns (yes, I know this was written first, but I read chronologically), but Padmé has new staff to adjust to. I feel like the handling of the handmaids and staff read cleaner in PERIL, as if E. K. Johnston had got used to the dynamic, as these characters felt more scattered and less tightly woven into the plot.

Yes, there are a few things that rely on you to know the overall saga (like, who is a certain Senator meeting with), and there are probably a LOT of easter eggs I missed as I haven’t watched any TV shows. It didn’t impact me much, though I did check a few characters to see if I’d forgotten them from the films.

(There’s also a very brief battle where the phrase “attack run” is slipped in. Is it a Star Wars without that phrase?)

The epilogue felt really out of place, more there for fans than for the purpose of story. It doesn’t round anything out thematically, nor does it deal with any story threads. Instead it feels like it’s there to launch another book. I’d love there to be more, but finishing the book on the chapter before the epilogue would have been better.

Read my reviews of other books by E. K. Johnston:

Star Wars/Padmé:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s