Book Spotlight: Queen’s Peril and Queen’s Shadow by E.K. Johnston

Welcome to book spotlight where instead of giving you another book review, I’m just going to talk about books I’ve read recently that I enjoyed.

A long time ago (not in a galaxy far, far away), I made a goal to read through the Star Wars legends books. But that didn’t exactly pan out like I wanted since there’s at least 300 books and I read several in a row that were just… not good. Along the way, though, I discovered something better: Star Wars audiobooks. Not only do they have strong narrators, but they include sound effects and music and are just way more enjoyable than reading the actual books.

So I switched my goal to first read through the Disney Star Wars Canon books before I go back to the Legends. I listened to several at random, usually the novelization of the recent movies or whatever sounded good or was new. But recently, I’ve been trying to read them chronologically, filling in the gaps of what I haven’t read yet.

Thus, I read two books by E.K. Johnston about Padme: Queen’s Peril and Queen’s Shadow. Look, the best thing to come out of the prequel trilogy is probably Obi-Wan Kenobi but after that, it’s Padme. She was an inspiration to many girls growing up, including myself. I realize we had Leia already, who helped pave the way for female roles in science-fiction and fantasy films. But there was something about Padme that always struck me. Not only was she queen, she was a young queen. Fourteen years old, yet she was sophisticated and smart and awesome.

And these two books—one taking place at the start of her rule and during the events of The Phantom Menance and the other after she’s done being queen and starting her career as a senator—only further my adoration for Padme and her character. These books prove why she’s sophisticated, smart, and awesome. They give depth to her character and the lives of her handmaidens. And it’s so freaking cool. I wish these books had existed when I was nine years old and watching Revenge of the Sith.

There is so much packed into these two books that give light to everything Padme went through as queen. They explore why her attire is so crazy and bizarre—every piece has a purpose, either for protection or to build up the “Amidala” persona. They show her having fun with her handmaidens and the bond of loyalty that ties them together, including slipping away right under Captain Panaka’s nose! I can never have enough books with strong, positive female friendships. They also reveal tidbits of information from behind the scenes of moments from the films.

They aren’t perfect books. There are some additions to the stories that I felt unnecessary as they tried to tie together with the movies, which I thought took away from Padme’s story. But I really enjoyed listening to the stories. The narrator, Catherine Taber, does a phenomenal job bringing Padme’s voice to life through the audiobook edition. I highly recommend listening to them instead of reading them, if you like audiobooks.

I hope that E.K. Johnston has a chance to write more books about Padme or the handmaidens. I think a book taking place after Revenge of the Sith about what Sabe does following the events of Queen’s Shadow would be interesting. My 26-year-old self really needs that book now.

We are brave, your highness.”

Waffle recommendation: I really wanted to take a picture to showcase this, but I didn’t have the right ingredients. I recommend making regular waffles with whipped cream and fruit such as blueberries to match Queen’s Peril and strawberries to match Queen’s Shadow. I mean, Padme’s last name is Naberrie, after all. 😉

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