Written by the #1 New York Times best-selling author of Ahsoka!
When Padmé Naberrie, “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.
I bought a hardcover copy at Celebration Chicago last year and I downloaded the audiobook, because Catherine Taber (the voice of Padmé on The Clone Wars) narrates. I read along as I listened.
I loved this book. This might not be a book for every Star Wars fan because it is way more political than the novels we’re used to. There aren’t any big battle scenes and no lightsaber fights, but if you love Padmé, then this is a book to read/listen to.
So I loved this book for many reasons. The friendships between Padmé and the handmaids were great. It was wonderful to see what their strengths were and what their interests were outside of their duties.
The transition from being queen to becoming a senator and navigating the different political arenas was so well done. I especially like seeing Padmé learn how she had to change her demeanor, make allies, and learn how to shed the negative image people had about her. She had to get out of the shadow of what she did to Chancellor Vellorum as queen.
I loved the inclusion of the press articles because image is everything in the public eye.
Besides character image I loved the descriptions of her clothing. Practical armor hidden in style.
Minor spoilers below, but not really if you know a lot about Star Wars.
There were two parts that totally ripped out my heart. When Padmé met Queen Breha and they had their private conversation. I was like, “E.K., what are you doing to me!?”
The second was the epilogue and Sabé’s grief. I really want a sequel from her POV because:
A) I want her to find answers and I want to see her become a rebel. And
B) I felt she needed to find her own path. Of all of the handmaidens she was the only one who didn’t find a life outside of her service to Padmé. I mean I loved her loyalty and she does have a kick-ass attitude, but what were her personal goals outside of her duties?
Although, Sabé does get a make-out scene, which was saucy.
I also loved her side story trying to find Shmi Skywalker on Padmé’s behalf and freeing slaves on Tatooine. I understand why that story had to be dropped, because how would that have fit with canon? Surely if Padmé had continued to help free slaves, and continued to search for Shmi, it would have been brought up in Attack of the Clones. It was just sweet to see that she tried and it was good to see that there is an underground railroad-like movement on Tatooine. I loved that detail with the white sun.
So, I think there is a bit of a retcon…I thought the Queen of Naboo served 4 years each term, not two. I thought Queen Jamillia served after Padmé’s two, 4 year terms? It’s not a big deal. I was just curious.
Also, and I realized that this was never canon so it really can’t be considered a retcon, but Sola’s husband Darred does not exist. Sola is asexual and became a single mother, which is not uncommon on Naboo. Which is a fine change, but got me thinking about a line in RotS that Padmé says to Anakin about their baby changing their lives. She says that when the queen finds out she doubts she’ll be allowed to continue to serve in the Senate.
Now, from that line I used to think that being a single mother would be considered shameful. Assuming that she would still keep her marriage to a Jedi a secret to avoid an even bigger scandal. But now I think it’s not being a single mom that’s an issue, because it’s a common thing, but that she would want to raise her child(ren) on Naboo and a Senator would live primarily on Coruscant, and that is why she would be forced to step down.
Ok, realized I have rambled and gotten away from my review of the book. Being such a huge fan of prequel era makes me get off topic. I guess I just really want to discuss this with other fans.
Ok, to sum up! I loved the book and if you love Padmé and prequel era stories then you will too. If you want more space battles or lightsaber action and Jedi, look elsewhere.
Catherine Taber did a great job narrating. I love when they get the voice actors we are familiar with to narrate.
A prequel, Queen’s Peril, comes out soon. It’s takes place right before Padmé becomes queen and I am going to listen to that.
I know Disney/Del Rey would never go for this but I want to read Attack of the Clones entirely from Padmé’s POV and written by E.K. Johnston. Really I just want to see how Anakin reacts when Padmé tells him she looked for Shmi.
Anyway, I am done.
5 out of 5 Senate Pods.