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

Title in white on purple next to image of Padme in green velvet hood
Genre: Sci-fi
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 2.5 stars
Series: yes - third book

*SPOILER ALERT: may contains SPOILERS for QUEEN’S PERIL and QUEEN’S SHADOW*

Blurb:

Book cover for QUEEN'S HOPE: title in white below image of padme in green hood

Padmé Amidala is a former queen, a current senator—and a new wife. But her marriage to Anakin Skywalker must remain a secret, since Jedi are not allowed to marry. And unfortunately for the newlyweds, they are rarely together, with Anakin on the front lines of the Clone War and Padmé fighting her own battle for peace in the Galactic Senate.

Former handmaiden Sabé has returned to Tatooine to once again try to free the people enslaved there, but Padmé summons her to Coruscant with an urgent request. Padmé has to leave on a mission of utmost importance, and no one can know she’s gone. Sabé is the only one who can convincingly take her place in the Senate for a long period of time.

Sabé agrees, and her decision sets both women on a course that will force her to examine who they are, who they are not, and who they cannot be—and will forever change their futures.

Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Review:

QUEEN’S HOPE is the third (and finale?) Padmé book, following her after the end of Attack of the Clones as she navigates the early stage of the war – and her marriage. As with the previous books, it’s a sprawling story that includes many of Padmé’s handmaids as well as major characters from the movies (and probably The Clone Wars too.)

There is actually very little Anakin in the book – and very little of their relationship. I was honestly expecting more. I did like that it wasn’t centre stage, reducing her down to a woman in love (which is what the movies do) but I would have liked a bit more, some conflict or frankly some chemistry between them. Instead, it felt like they just *existed* vaguely in each others’ awareness. There was no tension between them, no conflict arising from keeping it secret and having to be apart – possibly because they basically spend no time together in the book. But for something about the early days of a secret wedding, it felt like it used that element less than it could have.

It was a sprawling cast, and I did find it really hard to keep track of who was who. There are so many former handmaids, and most only pop up for a little bit – which meant there were endless characters you were trying to learn when you probably didn’t have to. It felt like a book that was relying on you knowing both the previous books and the films intimately in order to know who everyone was. It did make for a slightly confusing ride.

Plot wise, I also wasn’t really satisfied by the ending/reveal. It didn’t feel like any real choices with real consequences had to be made. Like they found out what was happening, what connected the various disparate parts of the story (finally uniting the three major “mystery” threads) and then nothing. The only choice was “trust this or not”, and the consequences of yes or no were never really explored (even mentally tossing up the decision) and then there weren’t any physical events after that, so you didn’t know if it was the right choice or not. It left it feeling rather a let down as there was no danger, no sense of anything at stake.


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

Star Wars/Padmé (this series):

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