E.K. Johnston’s Queen’s Peril is set just a little while before Episode 1, The Phantom Menace. This was good and bad for me as a reader of Star Wars novels. Good because the first part of the novel focuses Amidala’s ascent to the throne on Naboo and the hiring of her handmaidens. This is a fascinating process that helped me really understand the famous scene in Attack of the Clones where Corte dies for her queen. And I’ll tell you that it wasn’t until reading this book that I really feel like I know Padme Amidala. The early chapters catch her in an internal struggle between being a politician, a daughter, and having that measured temperment. Johnston has a great way of showing the Queen’s plans mapped out in front of her and the process she takes to determine that path.
But at the same time the setting for me was troubling because I really thought it backed up too close to the action we have already seen in Episode 1. While told from a different perspective, I’d always rather read a new story or experience a unique arc from the SW universe. This has happened before in my reading and at times it is cringeworthy; other times, it can help us gain access to another character’s perspective and set up future actions. Ultimately, I felt this instance was caught up too much in canon for the plot to be compelling.
In short, I loved the character development and the great descriptions of the culture and politics of Naboo, but the plot didn’t develop enough because of it’s connect to canon for me to feel any kind of tension.
3 out of 5 stars
Thank you to NetGalley, Disney Publishing, and the author for an advanced copy for review.