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When fourteen-year-old Padmé Naberrie wins the election for Queen of Naboo, she adopts the name Amidala and leaves her family to the rule from the royal palace. To keep her safe and secure, she’ll need a group of skilled handmaidens who can be her assistants, confidantes, defenders, and decoys. Each girl is selected for her particular talents, but it will be up to Padmé to unite them as a group. When Naboo is invaded by forces of the Trade Federation, Queen Amidala and her handmaidens will face the greatest test—of themselves, and of each other.

276 pages, Hardcover

First published June 2, 2020

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About the author

E.K. Johnston

22 books2,313 followers
E.K. Johnston had several jobs and one vocation before she became a published writer. If she’s learned anything, it’s that things turn out weird sometimes, and there’s not a lot you can do about it. Well, that and how to muscle through awkward fanfic because it’s about a pairing she likes.

You can follow Kate on Twitter (@ek_johnston) to learn more about Alderaanian political theory than you really need to know, or on Tumblr (ekjohnston) if you're just here for pretty pictures.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,045 reviews
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,471 reviews9,378 followers
January 16, 2023
Queen's Peril is a YA novel within the Disney Star Wars Canon. To put it in timeline perspective, the events in this novel take place after Master and Apprentice and just before the film, The Phantom Menace.

In fact, to my surprise, the last quarter of the book runs parallel to The Phantom Menace.

It is not a novelization of the events in that movie, however, more of an expansion of what we see on screen.

With that timeline info out of the way, let's get into this story, shall we?

At just 14-years old, Padme Naberrie is elected Queen of Naboo. Her parents exposed her to civic duty early and the idea that she could one day be Queen never felt out of reach to her. Parenting goals.

After her election, the Head of her Security Forces, Quarsh Panaka devises a plan to select special handmaidens to tend to the Queen.

These handmaidens will be a lot more than meets they eye, however, serving as body doubles and an extra layer of protection for Padme.

Each girl, chosen with care by Panaka himself, brings a different skill to the table. Together, these young women make quite a team.

A large portion of the story is learning about the girls and how they contribute to the function of the Queen's reign.

It was interesting to follow as they go from being virtual strangers, to companions and ultimately, friends.

As Naboo's livelihood becomes threatened by the Trade Federation, maneuverings take place to secure the Queen and gain help for the planet.

Once the events begin to align with those of The Phantom Menace, we get more insights into what was going on behind the scenes during Padme's flight from Naboo.

E.K. Johnston writes with such care and skill within the Star Wars universe.

You can tell that she knows the ins-and-outs of this world, complex as it is, and that she is equally passionate about it as we are as Readers.

I loved the subtle feel of the narrative. It's a character-driven story, although the action does pick up towards the end. I feel like I learned a lot.

Some of the highlights for me were being introduced to the handmaidens, why they were chosen and what their specific skills were.

I also liked the little cameos of beloved characters popping up throughout, including Yoda, Anakin, Qui Gon and Jar Jar Binks.

Senator Palpatine is also explored in greater depth here, which I loved.

The duality of his character is so freaking interesting and the way Johnston wrote from his perspective was perfection!

Overall, this book is a joy to read and for Padme fans, an absolute gift!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney Lucasfilm Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I had already preordered my copy prior to receiving my ARC and was beyond the moon excited to be able to get my hands on it early!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Profile Image for Nicole.
288 reviews44 followers
February 20, 2020
People who don't like The Phantom Menace are wrong and this book proves why.

It is a celebration of that movie and its characters so joyful and so full of heart that it is impossible to put down. Shifting the focus from Anakin and the Jedi to Padme and her handmaidens, the girls truly get what they deserve and we get a fresh point of view for a story that is much beloved and much beleaguered. But for those of us who fell in love with Star Wars again because of the Prequel Trilogy, this book is vital, essential--a realigning of priorities that some of us have been waiting for for 20 years.

With EK Johnston's signature quiet, character-driven plots, gorgeously interwoven foreshadowing, and obvious love of her subjects, this book blooms in the hands of the reader. Beautiful and soft and soul-satisfying. This one, even more that Queen's Shadow--if that's possible--is for the handmaidens: the ones on the page protecting Padme, and those of us who have been fighting for her and the ladies of Star Wars out here, too.

This is Star Wars at its best: full of hope and heart, characters we know and love, new perspectives and ideas on old stoires--by a fan for fans, as it should be.
Profile Image for Khurram.
1,541 reviews6,643 followers
May 26, 2022
A very good book. I enjoyed this book a lot more than I though I would. I have a natural prejudice against prequels and I did not enjoy Queen's Shadow or Eposide One, but my obsession to read all things Star Wars won out. I am very glad it did as this book is great.

One of the problems I had with the Queen's Shadow is it concentrated on Senator Amidala, and the handmaidens already seem to be established characters as they had been working together for years. This is where this book fills in the details and allows the handmaidens to be established as main characters of the story along side Queen Amidala. Most notably Sabe, though each girl has her time to shine.

A very good thing about this book is it E. K. Johnston does not fall into the trap of just re-writing Episode One, but the details and backstory that where going on behind the scenes. Things like it was not just luck that Darth Maul used the battlefield to his advantage against fighting the Jedi, a certain ambitious Senator pulling the strings behind the scenes, the start of the battle plan that comes about in the battle of Naboo, and even things like how the Queen's costume was modified and by who from the passage in the Queen's Shadow.

All in all a very good book. The only reason I would not call it grrat is that it was a bit too slow at the beginning. After finishing the book I did have a greater appreciation why this was the case, but it was a bit of a struggle to read through the first 1/3 of the book. I hope this is not the last I see of these characters, the was a hint of this in The Queen's Shadow Epilogue I really hope that is followed.
Profile Image for Sophie.
458 reviews185 followers
May 12, 2020
I liked the concept of seeing Padme’s development from being Padme to figuring out how to be Queen Amidala and how to still be Padme in some aspects of her life. I enjoyed meeting all of the handmaidens, and seeing how they all get to know and become more comfortable with each other. Sadly, I ended up being disappointed with the book, and often felt like I was reading about a different character.

I question a lot of the choices made which did seem to be more about “look how badass these teenage girls are!” than anything else, including how it would make sense with the history of Naboo or with the characters in general. For example, a lot of the defensive stuff regarding Amidala is created by her and her handmaidens, even the idea of having handmaidens being able to exchange places with her and protect her and learn self defense rather than just being helpers. It was always my understanding that this was the traditional set up and that so much of the Queen’s appearance is based on protection, like even the facepaint being part ceremonial but part defensive measure so that it’s easier to swap it out. I did have to suspend belief that Amidala and her handmaidens were able to essentially create all of these ideas that no other Queens of Naboo or the people serving them had been able to create, and did so within a few months of becoming Queen.

Despite that, I was going to give it 4 stars but then a section near the end felt so out of character, ridiculous, dramatic, and much more suitable for a televised teenage drama from 2010 rather than a space opera. I also felt like Padme didn’t respect Panaka or protection that much. She was constantly undermining him, manipulating him, or sneaking around. Padme is impulsive during emergency situations but I don’t think she’d show the lack of respect that she did. This ties back to the whole teenage drama thing, with Panaka playing the part of the stern dad, and Panaka’s wife constantly being all “oh well they’re teenage girls, what do you expect!” That’d feel more appropriate for another book. It just also felt contradictory to the message, as if saying that all teenage girls are the same so Padme has to act out in that way as well.

And while this wasn’t as much of a rehash of The Phantom Menace as I was worried about (some characters are mentioned but the real plot of The Phantom Menace doesn’t start until like 70% into the book) and some of the insights were interesting, I wondered at some of the choices being made. For example, there was a section about Jar Jar being rescued by Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon, even though there was already a novelization about The Phantom Menace and people have seen The Phantom Menace. So much of the events just got skimmed over at the end. The book itself offers something new by focusing so much on Padme’s adjustment to becoming queen, but the sections from The Phantom Menace provided very little, and made the book feel disjointed.
Profile Image for Eva B..
1,155 reviews313 followers
April 17, 2021
I'm not sure if this will be an unpopular opinion, but I liked this a lot more than Queen's Shadow. I loved the glimpses into the handmaidens, the deep look at Naboo and how Padme handled her queendom, and honestly I loved everything about this.
Profile Image for Ash.
122 reviews136 followers
March 15, 2021
E.K. Johnston’s Queen’s Shadow was a pleasant distraction when I read it last year, so when I felt like I needed another distraction, I knew just where to go. Queen’s Peril is a prequel, taking place during Padmé Amidala’s reign as the Queen of Naboo, whereas Queen’s Shadow covered her transition from Queen to Senator. Padmé is one of my favorite characters in the Star Wars universe and I love reading about her.

I didn’t enjoy Queen’s Peril as much as Queen’s Shadow. The first half, which takes place before the events of The Phantom Menace, was pretty good, but the second half, which takes place during The Phantom Menace, was very rushed. I understand why – there’s already a novelization of The Phantom Menace, so why rewrite it – but it made for a disjointed reading experience.

Queen’s Peril was also lighter on the space politics than Queen’s Shadow, which some people might like, because I know a lot of people find the politics of the Star Wars prequels boring. I, however, love reading about space politics, so that ended up being another reason why I preferred Queen’s Shadow. If this book had cut out The Phantom Menace parts and focused just on the early days of Padmé’s reign as Queen, I probably would have liked it more.

That said, there were parts that I enjoyed, and at the top of that list was Johnston’s continued focus on female characters and female relationships. While Queen’s Shadow was more focused on just Padmé and Sabé, Queen’s Peril explored Padmé’s relationships with all of her handmaidens, and her handmaidens’ relationships with each other. I loved that this book was basically a celebration of the power of teenage girls and the strength of their friendships. There is not enough of that in the world. I also thought Johnston did a better job writing dialogue in this book than in Queen’s Shadow.

Finally, I love the continued exploration of Padmé’s character and identity outside of her relationship with Anakin, because there’s so much more to her that the movies teased but never fully explored. She’s a shrewd politician and diplomat, she’s caring and kindhearted, she’s willful and stubborn and strong. If Johnston writes more books about her, I will definitely read them. Maybe something about her later years as Queen, taking place in between the two books Johnston has already written?

I plan on reading Johnston’s other Star Wars novelization, Ahsoka, but I haven’t actually watched The Clone Wars yet so I need to do that first.
Profile Image for Neil R. Coulter.
1,055 reviews100 followers
October 11, 2020
Would you believe it’s possible for a book to make The Phantom Menace even worse than it already is?

Behold: Queen’s Peril, by E. K. Johnston. (or: The Handmaidens Tale: A Star Wars Story)

The book itself is purple, which goes well with the prose contained therein. Johnston’s writing is at the level of mediocre fanfiction. Though she doesn’t approach the level of Chuck Wendig, she’s definitely in the bottom tier of current Star Wars writers. This is a book that turns Star Wars into pretty dresses, makeup, and the travails and petty jealousies of flirty 12-year-old girls who run a planet. To be fair, page one left none of this hidden:
The more she looked into it, the more she realized that ruling the planet would be more of a challenge than she thought. The galaxy was a big place . . .
Even aside from the number of times “more” appears in that sentence, it was clear that I was in for a book that at best could only hope to be so bad it’s good.

But it’s just bad.

The story is a prequel to a prequel—the events leading up to The Phantom Menace, and then the story of that film itself, played out very quickly from a few different perspectives. A lot of it is retconning, and yet plenty of odd plot points remain that still make no sense: a two-year-term elected position called “queen”; a teenager ruling a planet; the Jedi not able to sense what’s happening three inches away from them; what the taxation of trade routes actually has to do with anything; why the Trade Federation was allowed to create an enormous army of droids and attack ships; what Palpatine’s background is; how the queen can be anonymous; in what way the handmaiden-decoy system makes any sense; and much more.

A lot of the extra details Johnston manufactures actually weaken the story rather than enhancing it. So much time is spent describing dresses and makeup, for example, and it’s just not important at all.
Sabé’s face was starting to itch under the makeup. This was the longest she’d ever worn it. At the palace, they used the blend Yané had mixed up, but the stuff that had been stored on the royal ship was a generic brand, and Sabé didn’t like it as much. It was a ridiculous thing to be concerned about, she knew, but it was also her face, and so she couldn’t help it. Being the Queen was starting to get to her. (213–14)
As Darth Maul prepares for the final duel with the Jedi, he thinks, “There were two Jedi, which meant that they had the advantage of attacking him from multiple directions at the same time” (228). (headdesk) A villain who actually has to consciously think that is most definitely going to lose.

We also learn that the death toll was not catastrophic. That line was just a code to tell Amidala that a couple of her gal-pals were still alive on Naboo. It made no difference whatsoever to anything that happens.

Some lines in the book are obviously just minor rearrangements of lines from the movie:
Shmi Skywalker watched as her son’s podracer caught fire and crashed into a dune. She wanted to scream, to rage that Watto made him do it when it wasn’t safe. No other humans had ever competed in a podrace . . . (101)
If you’re familiar with the film, then you can see exactly where these lines came from—and reading them here in the novel adds nothing to what we already know from the film.

In fact, it’s not until page 250 that the true hero of The Phantom Menace finally makes his first appearance: Ric Olie. And though he’s only allowed to drop in for one paragraph, it’s still long enough for him to do what he does best: make a couple of really obvious statements.

I disliked everything about this book, despite the occasional chuckle it provided. It’s a prime example of what’s wrong with Star Wars currently.

EDIT: When I was telling the rest of the family about this book at dinner this evening, and saying that there's more about dresses than about the queen being in peril, my wife said, "It should have been called Queen's Apparel." I have the greatest wife ever.
Profile Image for fatherofdragons113.
178 reviews45 followers
January 8, 2021
I loved the woman-power in this book. Overall, this book was good and I really enjoyed it. Johnston really captured Padme's essence in my opinion and it really makes me appreciate her character that much more. I'm excited to see her handmaidens appear in future canon that I haven't explored (I'm looking at you, Darth Vader comics 2020).

This book was somewhat flat in that it's really just offering you glimpses between scenes depicted in the Phantom Menace. I appreciate that it was written, but I think this book could've been fleshed out more and I would've liked it had it been longer. Another complaint I have is the depictions of Queen Amidala's dresses. I get it, her face paint and ceremonial dresses are a major factor of the character, but I personally could do without every finite detail down to the sewing. But that's just me.

The similar names got confusing in the beginning, but it gets easier and once again, it pays true homage to the mythos of "Padme's handmaidens". All-in-all this was a pleasant read and Padme Amidala remains firmly in second-favorite-character in the Star Wars Universe. (Ahsoka Tano comes in at number one)
Profile Image for Robert.
1,404 reviews97 followers
June 15, 2020
If you're going to Rule, Rule with a Squad.

Image from Uzuri Art on Instagram

The author has been pretty forthcoming about the fact that this is the book she envisioned writing about Padmé before eventually writing Queen's Shadow and though I thoroughly enjoyed that book I am quite grateful she was granted the leeway to dial even further back into the timeline. This novel brings us the delightful details of how Quarsh Panaka assembled his unlikely team of tweenaged decoys and wardrobe specialists in the run-up to events of The Phantom Menace and then continues to fill in the gaps of how some of the handmaidens dealt with remaining on occupied Naboo, with some delightful cameos along the way.

It seems Padmé is having a bit of a "moment" right now and, although her tragic ends precludes any hope of Natalie Portman ever returning to the role, perhaps

Perhaps a grumpier, pre-pandemic version of myself would complain now about the tongue-in-cheek Anakin interludes toward the end, but ultimately I can't help but enjoy them as the writer's love of the source material and the characters is impossible to miss. Good on her for squeezing in as many of them as she could, it made for a fascinating "Galaxy on the verge of (mostly) unexpected change" tableau.

Definitely recommend this one to Prequels era fans, and I do not think it is at all necessary to have read the previous book (which takes place years later in canon) as any kind of prerequisite.
Profile Image for Heather.
319 reviews287 followers
June 10, 2020
3 stars

I received an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review

When given the opportunity to dive into the life of Queen Amidala from the Star Wars megaverse, I was very intrigued. This story follows Padma's life as she wins the title of Queen and begins her term serving Naboo.

What I liked

This story was a quick and easy read, though I will say it reads for a much younger audience than I was hoping. Somewhere around the age of 8-14 would be ideal. I deeply enjoyed the camaraderie of the women of Padme's court. I think it is extremely important for authors to highlight solid and positive friendships between women as a whole, and this book definitely delivers on this. And while I found the story interesting for the most part, it was not enough of a story to stand on it's own two feet. It reads much more like a novella than a true novel.

What I did not like

The story lacked ... story. Again, it had its moments that filled in some interesting gaps behind the scenes of the main Star Wars storyline, but it wasn't enough. I found myself very detached from the characters for most of the story in general. And when I did care, it wasn't for Padme, she lacked any real development and felt extremely stale. Honestly, I cared the least about Padme as a whole. Although I will say that yet again, it had its moments where I did genuinely care for the other characters.

There was a lack of emotion, a lack of action, a lack of turmoil, a lack of tension. It read like a slow moving river that never really produced any rapids to keep me hooked. I think that if this book had not been such a quick and easy read, it would have been dnf'ed.

Furthermore, the writing was simplistic and juvenile which, of course, is why it felt more middle grade than young adult.

In conclusion

I may or may not continue the series from here. I do not know that it really gave me enough of a look into Padme that it really became necessary. Nice story, but not enough and very simple.
Profile Image for Tait Sougstad.
192 reviews5 followers
June 10, 2020


SEN. PALPATINE: My old friend! I was just checking in on how things are going. Getting along with the queen?

CAPT. PANAKA: She is obstinate and self-sufficient. I planted the idea that she may need a handmaiden, and let her think she was improving the idea by needing several of them. She spends nearly the whole novel in her quarters with them. I don’t know what they are doing in there, but she gives virtually no thought to ruling her people. All she has done is host a diplomatic party and fly around the planet to survey the farming, and these activities exhausted her.


CAPT. PANAKA: My lord.

This review will outline the book, but contain no spoilers. There will be no spoilers, because there is no plot to spoil. Fear not. At no point in Queen's Peril is the queen ever in peril.

Section 1: Padme gets elected. She thinks about it alone in a room for a chapter. Captain Quarsh Panaka has breakfast with his wife. He interviews a few of the handmaiden candidates Nick Fury-style, in detail, at length, alone, for a few chapters. It appears that Quarsh and Padme may eventually butt heads over security policy, BUT PADME IS THE QUEEN BRO GET OUT OF THE WAY BEFORE SHE USES THAT VOICE ON YOU.

Section 2: The handmaidens obsess about their relationships, hair, outfits, and the queen-substitution routine. That last one is critical because it has to be ready for The Phantom Menace, which is coming quicker than you think. At no point is the queen bothered with actually ruling anything, because it's so important to develop her relationships with all these girls in this short book, and they are all so stylized and make virtually no character progress because of how perfect they already are. They sneak out for a concert. Menstrual cycles are an important plot element, twice (I'm serious.) They bicker and reconcile like thirteen-year-old prep-school girls. It is the year 2020, so of course it would not be progressive enough unless all romantic elements are same-sex. Did I mention that they are thirteen? Grain imports become another important element, because they have to be vulnerable to a blockade by the time The Phantom Menace happens.

Section 3: Literally The Phantom Menace. But, not like a new awesome story arc that ties into that movie and adds meaning. More like, disjointed deleted scenes of superfluous background stories. The last two hours of the audiobook (or quarter of the book) jumps between various instances. It felt like an abridgment, but no, they just gave up on continuity for this section. At one point someone gets tortured, and for several minutes of the audiobook you get to listen to a woman screaming desperately and crying out for mercy in the background. Consider this your trigger warning, because they sure don’t give you one in the book. Even for me, this was stomach-churning. The torture has no real meaning or character pay-off. It’s just an instance. It’s just showing, I don’t know, how tough those handmaidens are? Also, two of them are in a relationship in the previous book (set later in the timeline, go figure) Queen’s Shadow , and I guess nothing brings out loving feelings like hearing someone get tortured. Are they still thirteen at this point? The book doesn’t really give any indication of time. You need a nerd-level knowledge of The Phantom Menace and Star Wars timeline to link these scenes together. There is a little Maul, a little Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, a little Anakin, but they don’t do anything in this story, BECAUSE THE STORY HAS ALREADY BEEN TOLD. We end on a little thing about... Leia? I don’t know, I was just over it.

I’m sorry if this comes off as harsh. I love the Padme we see in the Phantom Menace. I understand if you are a huge fan of Padme and are just ready to gobble up any content about it, but search your feelings. Most of this stuff is encyclopedia material. There is no story. There is no complexity. There are no stakes.

Demand better stories about your favorite characters. Demand that you at least get a story, and not a load of drivel. Demand that Queen’s Peril actually puts the queen in real peril, tests her mettle, grows the characters, and has complexity.

As with many of the Disney Canon novels, this is at best an early rough draft or background notes that has details that could be used in a real story. As they say in fiction writing, “Show, don’t tell.” Instead of all of the pages and pages of interviews and planning and antics, would it not have been more interesting to see the queen immediately encounter plots and resistance to her transition to power? Naboo has had peaceful elections for generations, but some mysterious plot threatens her rule, even the lives of her and her handmaidens. Their characters, relationships, and backstories are gradually revealed as they face the challenges of leadership, investigate leads, and find who they can trust and who is a secret enemy. Maybe all leads indicate a mastermind that they come close to discovering but the trail always goes cold? Sounds sort of like the outline of a book!

We watch them talking about swapping places as queen, and worrying about it, and practicing, and then doing it and worrying about it, and nothing goes materially wrong. Instead, if we go into instances and later discover that the queen was a handmaiden, we would always wonder if the queen was Padme or someone else, and the discovery would make you rethink previous scenes and their import to the various characters, and reinterpret the story with various assumptions. What if you discovered that the queen was a handmaiden, but you didn’t know which one for an instance, and you would have to float several interpretations until the true identity was revealed? What if you questioned the loyalty of any or all of the characters around Padme, and had to make judgments based solely on their actions and rumors of their actions through the book? What if the ending of the book wasn’t snippets of The Phantom Menace?

I suppose we will never know, because that isn’t the book that was written.

If you got something out of this book that I'm not seeing, please leave a comment. You can also read a review of one of my favorite Disney Canon books, or one of the many Disney Canon duds.
Profile Image for Charlotte.
156 reviews204 followers
May 22, 2020
ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I LOVE Star Wars, so I thought I would love this book, but alas, I did not. There was nothing remotely “bad” about it, but after finishing it, I feel like it was a very unnecessary read.

You see, Queen’s Peril tells the story of Padmé’s life as Queen of Naboo, BEFORE any of the events in The Phantom Menace take place… it’s a prequel of a prequel! But the problem is this: it doesn’t really add anything to Padmé’s story. I don’t know if it was the vague storytelling, the lack of action, or the bland characters we were introduced to, but something about this book just made it feel so (for lack of better words) empty.

Let’s talk about that first thing I mentioned, because that’s as good a place to start as any: vague storytelling. I was surprised by how indifferent I was about E.K. Johnston’s writing, because I’ve only heard great things about it! Maybe her other books are much stronger than this one, and having only read Queen’s Peril, I can’t immediately rule her out as an author I’m not interested in reading from again. However, there was something about her storytelling that made me feel like it was missing something. I just wanted more. I felt as though everything was written incredibly vaguely. Important events in the book weren’t well explained, and I find that pretty ironic considering it’s supposed to be a further fleshed out version of Padmé’s story.

Padmé herself read off as quite bland, which was such a bummer! I get that it’s hard to compare E.K. Johnston’s interpretation of her character to the talented Natalie Portman’s performance in the movies, but I just couldn’t help it. And it’s not like the author didn’t have the opportunity to really explore Padmé’s character and show a new aspect of her personality in her book. In this book, I was expecting to see a side of Padmé that wasn’t shown very much in the Star Wars films– the side of her that is young and inexperienced, yet eager to do anything for the good of her people. But I saw no such thing. It pains me to say this, but E.K. Johnston’s Padmé was so boring and watered down. I wanted to connect with her like I did in the movies, but I just couldn’t. I never understood her thought process and motives… Why was Padmé’s desire to be Queen of Naboo so strong in the first place? What aspects of her childhood sparked her passion to serve her planet as queen? These are questions I really wanted to see answered in this book, but, alas, they never were. We only get to see Padmé AS queen, not before she was crowned. Frankly, this was quite disappointing, as I would have enjoyed finding out more about Padmé’s motivations to become the Queen of Naboo before she was even elected.

Not only was Padmé incredibly boring to read, but all of the other supporting characters in the story were just as bland. This might just be the most disappointing thing of all, because the supporting characters were the reason I wanted to read this book in the first place! This book was supposed to give a voice to Padmé’s decoys/handmaids that appear briefly in The Phantom Menace. We didn’t get to see much of them in the movie, so I was looking forward to reading from their perspectives in Queen’s Peril. And while we DID get to see the events of the story through the handmaids’ eyes, their character development was simply non-existent. All of the handmaids’ personalities just blurred together, and if E.K. Johnston had switched one girl’s name with another’s, I highly doubt I would have noticed.

I think part of the problem is that Johnston focused all of the limited character development on Sabé, Padmé’s first handmaid and the decoy who gets assassinated in The Phantom Menace. To a certain degree, I understand why Johnston made Sabé her primary focus. She is, after all, the main decoy shown in the Star Wars films. But, with that being said, wasn’t the whole point of this book to tell the stories of the other handmaids as well? With no unique qualities to distinguish the girls from one another, the author’s attempt to do this fell short.

It didn’t help that the pacing of the story was agonizingly slow. This is a short book… It’s under 300 pages. Yet it was a battle to finish it! Fast pacing is one of the things I value most in a novel, so it’s no surprise that this book’s slow moving plot wasn’t for me.

Overall, Queen’s Peril was a huge let down. I knew going into this book that there was no way I would enjoy it as much as the Star Wars movies, but I didn’t expect it to be as disappointing as it was.

This book lacked everything I had hoped it would have, and as a huge Star Wars lover, it really pains me to say that!

I hope other Padmé fans enjoy this book more than I did!
Profile Image for Shannon McCarter.
118 reviews363 followers
May 27, 2020
I didn’t enjoy Queen's Peril as much as Queen’s Shadow. It felt a little too scattered and like it was trying to do too much. Queen's Peril takes place a little before and during the events of The Phantom Menace; in which we see Padme be elected and then try to navigate Naboo’s political sphere. I did really enjoy learning more about the queens of Naboo, and seeing Padme’s relationships with her handmaidens develop. They are all just young, teenage girls underneath the hoods and the make-up and I loved being able to see that. There is even a fun scene where they sneak out to go to a concert and Padme ends up covered in glitter. Did we need that in a Padme book? No, but it was still fun all the same.

Where I think this book suffers is that nothing really happens and yet it’s also trying to do way too much. Where Queen’s shadow was pretty much all quiet moments with all the plot stuffed in at the end, Queen’s Peril tries to do a bit more foreshadowing. Unfortunately, this takes the form as unnecessary extra POVs from Obi Wan, Yoda, and Maul, to name a few. All of which take time away from Padme. Then when we get into The Phantom Menace, it’s basically just a retelling with huge chunks missing. Specifically the PADME chunks.

I think this could have been better if it had just focused on Padme learning to be the queen and building relationships with her handmaidens. Because at the end of the day, that’s what we are here for. Overall, Queen’s Peril is a solid 3 stars; it’s fun, but definitely could have been better. And I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to see what a different author could do with Padme.
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 29 books5,609 followers
August 21, 2020
Aw, YIS. This is the kind of Star Wars content I am on board for! I love Padme and her handmaidens, and here we have their story: How they were chosen, how they got together, and what they were doing in between scenes in Episode I!

Come for the fashions, stay for the girl power!
Profile Image for Kat.
210 reviews198 followers
January 12, 2023
Three stars for nostalgia’s sake.

Queen's Peril is about Padmé’s transition from a 14-year-old girl interested in politics and making the galaxy into a better place to a 14-year-old girl becoming Queen of Naboo. The novel’s plot takes place before the events of The Phantom Menace, though the latter 30% run parallel to the film.

The book mainly focuses on the first few months of Padmé’s, eh, Queen Amidala’s reign and how she and her handmaidens go from strangers to companions to friends. The novel is told from several perspectives, but the most important were Amidala's POV and Quarsh Panaka's POV, her Head of Security and a secondary character that I always loved in the film and who I wish had had more screen time.

I love LOVE the prequels, and I LOVE Episode I, so I was naturally excited to learn more about the events leading up to The Phantom Menace and get to know Padmé a little better. Given that the films completely wasted this character’s potential, I was hoping the canon SW novels would provide depth as well as insight into Padmé’s life and inner thoughts and feelings.

On that front, however, I was left a bit disappointed. We know that Padmé can be a shrewd politician if she wants to. She is clever and determined, and though a fierce protector of the Republic and democracy, she is willing to do what needs to be done for the greater good. E.K. Johnston got all these things right, but instead of showcasing Padmé’s compassionate side as well, she made that 14-year-old girl into a cold manipulator who continually disregards Panaka’s orders and always seemed detached from her fellow handmaidens, no matter how hard the author tried to get across their special bond of friendship and love. There was simply no warmth to Padmé’s character at all, and I missed what Natalie Portman had brought to the role on screen.

However, the book was not only about Padmé but also about her squad of handmaidens.
I must admit: I always wondered why her handmaidens all had similar-sounding names! Eirtaé, Rabé, Tsabé… I couldn’t wrap my head around why this was the case! Surely, it wasn’t a coincidence? This book finally answered my question, though, and now I know that the girls all picked new names to confuse people so that they would never remember how many handmaidens there are, “let alone who is who.” We love girls with brains!!

Some other tidbits of information throughout the book provided more background on some of the stuff we already know from The Phantom Menace. Padmé’s secret blaster, for example, that was built into a secret compartment in her throne, was requested by Panaka, and the case itself was made by one of the handmaidens! The novel also discusses the Queen’s stoic, low voice that the character displays in the film, which was another trick devised by Padmé and her handmaidens to confuse the public and present the Queen as a very level-headed person, a separate entity from the 14-year-old girl behind the mask and make-up. Though I do enjoy these ingenuities and the ideas the girls came up with, I agree with Sophie in saying that it was a little hard to believe that the previous Queens and their handmaidens had never thought of similar security concepts or things like switching out some of the traditional wardrobes for exact but more functioning and less heavy copies. Thus, my criticism is that even though I loved getting to know the handmaidens better, I don’t think the author did a good job getting across their actual age. They are supposed to be 14-year-olds, but they act like much older teenagers.

I do, however, strongly object to the reviews that make fun of the book for “turn[ing] Star Wars into pretty dresses, make-up, and the travails and petty jealousies of flirty 12-year-old girls”. Correction: only one of the girls is 12; the others are all 14-years-old. Moreover, the book didn’t only focus on “pretty dresses” and “make-up”. I think that people who complain about THAT have yet to pull their head out of their ass and realise that a) in terms of the story, dresses are a vital part of who Queen Amidala and the Naboo are b) yes, girls wear make-up, and again, it’s important for who the Queen is and how she is perceived and most importantly, c) if you still think of Star Wars as a space in which there is no place for femininity, for stories about young girls and female friendships, in which you think that a book targeted at young female Star Wars fans should not have been published and "is a prime example of what’s wrong with Star Wars currently" (duh?? this is what you think is wrong with Star Wars? This is it? Of all the things that are wrong with Star Wars this is what you chose to focus on?), you are not only an arrogant disillusioned asshole, but the reason why the Star Wars fandom is the way it is, and I don’t mean that in a good way.

Wheeww, rant over. So, yes, I didn’t mind the detailed descriptions of the Queen’s dresses because it’s an integral part of how she presents herself, and this is also how we got to know her in the films. Amidala is never caught wearing the same thing twice, and her statement pieces are part of the job description.

What I did mind were the veeeery random snippets of character cameos that somehow made it into this book. There is a small chapter written from Obi-Wan’s POV, one from Mace Windu’s, one from Yoda’s, and – don’t get me wrong, every time I read Obi-Wan’s name in a book, my heart literally goes asdfghjkl 💖💓💖💗💝💓💗💝– but they were entirely unnecessary as they contributed nothing to the story itself. They were more like tiny scenes of foreshadowing, which didn’t even say much and based on how random they were, the author should have scrapped them to give Padmé and her handmaidens more space.

Queen's Peril is a short and easy-to-read novel that is majorly for those interested in Padmé’s character and the events of and shortly before The Phantom Menace. Because the book's last third runs parallel to the film, I wouldn’t recommend this novel to those who haven’t seen Episode I or who can barely remember its events, as the author doesn’t rehash the film’s plot. You need to know the film not to get confused by the randomness of how the novel’s last part jumps from scene to scene, leaving out major plot points that are vital to understand how the Battle of Naboo is going down (again, if you have seen the film, you’re fine as you know what happens).

The very last page left me a bit emotional, and I think it was a fine nod to where it all began…
Profile Image for Nana Spark.
205 reviews2 followers
January 2, 2022


Queen's Shadow - ★★★★.5☆

My Thoughts 💭
As a prequel to Queen's Shadow, this book takes place just after Padme is elected Queen of Naboo. It went into detail about how General Panaka found each handmaiden and their lives before they were sworn into Queen Amidala's service.

This book also explored more of the personal relationships between the handmaidens that Queen's Shadow tried to go into but just didn’t have the time. I really like the camaraderie of all the girls and the funny scheming they were able to get away with as a squad. However, when events eventually transitioned to the chaotic events of The Phantom Menace, the girls stopped fucking around, really put their training and friendships to the test.

One thing I found weird in this book was the random POV shifts to popular Star Wars figures like Obi-Wan and the Chancellor. I didn't mind them, but the shifts were quite abrupt sometimes and didn’t really add anything to the story.

Just like I said in my review of Queen's Shadow, DO NOT read this if you don't give a fuck about Star Wars lore and politics. You will be bored out of your mind if you do. It is also a YA book aimed at young girls so there's long sentences about what pretty princess dress Padmé is wearing today and how her hair is braided and for what purpose.

Audiobook Notes 🎧
Catherine Taber is back at it again with her beautiful narrating talent. The production quality of the audiobook is as expected of a collaboration with Disney Press and Penguin.

Recommendation 👍
Definitely recommend for anyone who likes Star Wars lore and politics.

👉 Checkout this review and more at my Instagram and website

Where to get a copy: 📚

Amazon* - Book Depository* (Free Shipping) - Barnes & Noble

ℹ Disclosure:
*This review contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something I may earn a commission. All proceeds will be donated to a non-profit animal shelter at the end of the year. Thanks. :)
Profile Image for Jim C.
1,491 reviews28 followers
October 3, 2020
This is a prequel to a book that was based on a character from the prequel movies in this universe. To clarify the previous statement this book is about Padme being elected queen and her first days of office.

For the life of me I don't understand why this book has so many positive reviews. I thought this book might be one of the worst books I read in this universe and that is including a bunch I read from the Legends timeline. There were so many issues with this novel. The first one was the concept of having a conflict in a novel. There wasn't none until the back end. For the majority this book was about Padme and her handmaidens discussing what they plan on doing during Padme's term. The biggest conflict was sneaking out to a concert. Yawn. Finally, when we do get conflict it is the events in The Phantom Menace. If I wanted to relive those events I would rewatch the movie. Secondly, this book was disjointed. We would get a small scene that had nothing to do with the context of the happenings of the book. Did you know that Darth Maul on an unnamed planet is angry? Thank you for that valuable insight. Thirdly, and the straw that broke the camel's back, is we get a scene for several pages that goes into detail about a girl getting her menstrual cycle for the first time. I actually groaned out loud. Before people come at me and say that it is natural. I know that. I do not have a problem with the act or even reading about it. I don't think it belongs in this universe.

I am not connecting with this particular author and her books in this universe. Her books just don't feel like Star Wars to me. Where is the fantastic battle scenes or the fight between evil and good? That is what I want from a book from this universe and I am just not getting that from this author.
Profile Image for vicky..
377 reviews152 followers
June 17, 2020
“I guarantee you that most people will hear that many ehs in a row and literally never be able to remember how many of us there are, let alone who is who.”

i love women!!!!!!1

i enjoyed this one a lot more than queen's shadow. I'm always a fan of origin stories and i adored seeing padmé and her handmaidens and how they met, began to work together and became such a tight-knit group.

the book does contain some brief pov's from other characters because in a way it's a semi-novelization of the phantom menace. i didn't mind them. much.

what i like so much about this book and queen's shadow it's that it made me really like padmé. and at the same time not understand why she ended up with anakin.

she deserved so much better (like being written by a woman, for example)

June 29, 2022
Is it possible to make Queen's Shadow look like a masterpiece?

Actually, the best thing I can say about Queen's Peril is that it was at least able to make me appreciate its predecessor more. Which has been a recurring theme in the franchise... How is SW media worsening?

Yes I know this book is YA, but I'm right in the target audience. I'm in the age range and I also sped through the entire series of Princess Diaries books as a guilty pleasure. (Yes, I admit they were terrible. Terrible but fun). So this should've been right up my alley.


The quality has deteriorated significantly. You'd think with this being Johnston's third book set in this universe, her writing would improve, right? Nope. It's dull and shallow, focusing too much on characters' appearances (did you know that Panaka is dark-skinned? You will soon, it's described all the time) and not enough on anything else about them, such as, *cough* their personalities

This book is marketed as YA but reads like Middle Grade. It doesn't seem to know what its target audience is, since there's a load of Disney Channel drama mixed in with typical Star Warsy stuff. And no, I don't think the two are mutually exclusive; this is a space opera after all, but the poor quality of the writing makes it jarring.

A character uses the word sh** . Do people in a galaxy far far away use the same swear words as us? Apparently!


Non-existent. It felt like a third of a potentially interesting story slapped inside a retelling of Episode 1. And I do like Episode 1, but if I wanted to relive the plot I could just rewatch the movie or reread the novelisation.

Scenes like Padme's senate speech، her talk with the Gungans, her first meeting with Anakin e.g aren't included, however the scenes afterwards reference them. If you haven't seen The Phantom Menace in a while then you'll be very confused trying to figure out what's going on.


Apart from Panaka, none of them are interesting, they feel like tools, merely there to move the plot along and nothing else. Even their voices are indistinguishable from one another.

Padmé is given absolutely no personality at all. Sabé is obsessed with Padmé and has a throwaway fling for forced conflict. People, these are the protagonists of our story. Great start already, right?


Ironically, she was the blandest of all.

The closest we get to any kind of depth is a hologram call with her family at the start of the novel, but that's quickly forgotten about later on.

There's also a very brief scene with Shmi Skywalker that could've been excellent - maybe Padmé learning of Shmi's story, creating the roots of her desire to abolish slavery; also, a heartwarming conversation between a woman and her future daughter-in-law. But it's over as quickly as it appears and never mentioned again.

We know Padmé is:

- A young teenage girl
- Close to her family (told not shown)
- Suddenly thrown into the world of politics
- Alone without her father by her side
- Responsible for everything, and her decisions could impact her entire planet

So why is none of this explored?

Such wasted opportunities for character growth.

Padmé feels like a side character in her own book. Heck, Sabé was more interesting than her, and she's essentially an author self-insert.

Captain Panaka

He interviews the handmaiden candidates Nick Fury-style. He's loyal to Palpatine, worries a lot and has some unresolved marital issues. I like him.

Unfortunately Padmé's treatment of Panaka is a joke. She's the literal ruler of the planet now, and that comes with certain ramifications. But of course Panaka is portrayed as the villain for caring about the protection of a group of immature, giggling children!

His wife encourages their irresponsibility and makes excuses for them 'because they're teenage girls'. Yeah, they're also the front of a global government. I'm starting to think this whole young-people-leading-a-planet thing is a terrible idea. That was sarcasm of course it's a terrible idea what is going on in these adult Nubian heads

Saché, Yané, Eirtaé and Rabé

As others have said, the handmaidens were incredibly one-dimensional, with personalities limited to one talent or character trait e.g tailor, splicer, guard...

Rabé was the handmaiden I was most interested in since she had a language and accent barrier. Of course, being the only non-white, 'foreign'-seeming out of all of them she had to have... a criminal past and look like a conwoman. The fact that this kind of stereotyping is still occurring in the year 2020 is beyond disturbing.

There were hints at a romance between two others, one of whom is twelve. Their behaviour towards each other was childish and exasperating. You are handmaidens to the queen of your planet. How are you allowed to behave so selfishly and pettily without consequences?


She should've been the highlight of the novel like she was in Queen's Shadow. Yes, compared to the other handmaidens, she's given a lot more to do but in an almost trivial manner.

I get that she's fourteen, but these kids are supposed to be precocious for their age, not Disney stars.Towards the end of the book there were some very Riverdale-ish scenes that were so unintentionally funny I couldn't take Sabé or anyone else seriously afterwards.

Now, onto Sabé's relationship with Padmé; it is creepy. She constantly tells Amidala that she would die for her, do whatever she says (they met literally a month ago) because she was born to be second-best at everything, and to serve Padmé for the rest of her life... Sorry, what? One, she's fourteen, FOURTEEN, and she's saying stuff like this; two, this is not healthy at all, but it's portrayed as touching?

You could literally replace Sabé's name with y/n like in one of those fanfictions. She's painfully bland with no personality outside of being obsessed with Padmé, having a large role in her life and being defined only by their relationship.

Oh, and there's a throwaway line about her having brothers who are talented musicians. There's a potential plotline here; how must it have felt for her, having to adapt to a completely new and different environment with neither boys nor instruments? Nope, we don't need to know about that. The author lacks the ability to round out these characters.

Ridiculous stuff

Are you telling me that all of this Nubian security stuff was invented by a bunch of teenage girls just weeks after becoming queen??? No other queen in Naboo's history thought to do any of this?

Can we please stop using menstruation as a plot device? Periods are natural and need to be normalised in fiction, but the way it's used here is such a cliché.

And then there were two paragraphs, each located randomly in the handmaidens' POVS and consisting of:
"Anakin Skywalker liked flying."
"Anakin Skywalker really liked flying."

I'll admit it; I found this funny at first because I have a trash sense of humour and I saw the movie fairly recently. But then I realised; what was the point of it? It has nothing to do with Padme's story, and it's referenced afterwards anyway.

Other useless things that took up way too much (or too little) of the page count:

🔴 The queen and her handmaidens sneak out to a concert better suited to Turning Red than a SW book. There's nothing remotely abstract or cool about it, it's just like a normal Earthly pop concert. Please, add some creativity.

🟠 Several passages solely devoted to Darth Maul being angry. Even worse, they were inserted into the book at random times and took a toll on the pacing.

🟡The entire second half of the book. If you're reading this, it's likely you've seen Episode 1 (cause how else would you know about Padme and the handmaidens in the first place) so why is it retold here?

🟢Politics. I like SW politics, which were one of the saving graces of Queen's Shadow for me. But there's barely any here outside of a farming dispute. Yawn.

🔵The rhyming beginning and ending chapters. What? I get that they wanted to make parallels between Leia and her mother but it achieved the opposite effect - that Padmé as a character isn't enough and will always be defined by her children. I wanted to see her outside of others' perceptions of her.

🟣 Why is Padmé being sidelined constantly? In the movies, she was sidelined for Anakin (though at least he was the MC); in the Clone Wars series, for practically everyone else (she has a mere cameo in Season 7) and isn't mentioned once in the sequel trilogy, despite being from the same home planet as Palpatine, and therefore, Rey.

As much as I criticized Claudia Gray's Leia: Princess of Alderaan, that at least nailed Leia's characterization and fleshed out her story. Queen's Peril does neither for Padmé.

I gave an extra star for this:

"At least that means we'll be less likely to get involved in local labor disputes," Obi-Wan said

"Or kick-start unlikely romances with the local nobility."

Oof Qui-Gon -

2 stars.
Profile Image for Inkslinger.
228 reviews39 followers
June 3, 2020
Star Wars Queen's Peril by E.K. Johnston

ARC provided by Disney Publishing Worldwide and E.K. Johnston via NetGalley. All opinions are mine and freely given.

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"Whatever happened next, however it was recorded and remembered, she was entirely on her own."

06-03: 'Star Wars Queen's Peril' by E.K. Johnston is a story from the other side of Trade Federation's blockade of the planet Naboo during The Phantom Menace era.

We've already seen the ins and outs of the liberation of the Naboo people and the role Amidala plays in standing against that incursion.. to a degree. So, we don't see a lot of that here. Incidents like the ousting of Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum, the introduction of Jar Jar Binks, the Skywalker pod racing, the Maul hangar duel, and the death of Qui-Gon are mentioned.. but mostly they act as historical landmarks on the timeline.. allowing us to draw the parallels between the two stories.. and know where we are.

What's wonderful about this book is that it's more of an intimate portrait of Padme and her inner circle. It begins before she even rises to power. I enjoyed learning about the steps it took her to get there and seeing a bit of what she was like, separated from the Queen persona.

I also learned a lot about things I'd always questioned and that was deeply satisfying.. like the reason she dressed as she did in the first place. I'd always found those costumes of hers to be so.. well.. gaudy. But to learn the extent of their purpose.. which was as heavily layered as the costumes themselves.. that was fascinating. Seeing the group of girls develop the Queen's image together was amazing, how and why they adopted the things they did.

"He found the weak points, the cracks where the light got out, and shoved the darkness in."

Watching her go in as an idealistic citizen.. a smart, powerful female protagonist.. and surround herself with others like her, that too was intriguing. It gave me a whole new appreciation for a character I'd honestly never been that fond of. She was more than 'able,' she was calculating and driven. She knew how to show humility without seeming weak.

If I'd read this book before The Phantom Menace, I feel like I would have see in through an entirely different set of eyes. Actually, now I think I need to go back and experience The Phantom Menace again armed with the knew knowledge. Some of the early glimpses of Darth Sidious and Maul are especially interesting.

"Most would have flared out in glorious rage, taking untold numbers with them into the blackness of the void, but not Maul. Maul was made for better things, and his anger was his fuel."

I loved getting to know the handmaidens. Each of them had distinctively different skills they brought to the table and their personalities and backgrounds were just as diverse. This story gave those supporting characters real depth.. and though I started out unsure of one of them, she absolutely had my respect before long.

Watching her build those relationships, along with the relationships between herself and her Queen's Guard was so much fun. She was at times.. frustrating.. for her protectors because she didn't just let them walk all over her, but she chose her battles carefully.. giving in on some issues and standing strong on others.

In hindsight, I picked up this title thinking I was going to read a story about the Queen.. and I did.. but I had no idea how well I'd get to know all those close to her. How much I'd come to like the handmaidens and Captain Panaka and his intelligence officer wife. This story isn't just hers, it's theirs.. and I loved every minute of it.



06-01: Ready straight through.. ow my eyes. lol Review to come!

05-31: I started this one today, as it's releasing this Tuesday and I'm already enjoying it so much!
Profile Image for Lata.
3,509 reviews187 followers
November 9, 2020
Again, E.K Johnston makes me wish that the screenwriters hadn’t used Padmé to further Mannequin’s story, then summarily dumped her development like she was a piece of garbage. Here, Johnston shows how Padmé became Amidala, and how Captain Panaka found each girl (and double) for the new queen of Naboo, based on their skill set, attitude and intelligence, willingness to leave their old lives behind and how well they may work together as a team to protect Padmé. The last trait actually comes to bite him in the butt, much to his annoyance and his security officer wife’s humour.
The author shows us how the girls become a strong team, and how difficult a line Padmé has to walk between being their leader and being their friend. And it reminds me what an utter bore and weak-willed Mannequin/Vader was, and what a loss Padmé’s death was to the Star Wars universe.
Profile Image for ribbs.
116 reviews149 followers
April 7, 2022
“My hands are yours and they always have been” UGHHHAHSUIWUI. I half listened to this on audio and half as a physical book and let me just say I love listening to star war books on audio because of all the music and sound effects, it’s like you are watching another movie. But let me just say the chapter with Sache and the droids was brutal. Anyways Queen's Peril follows Captain Panaka scouting Padme Amidala’s handmaidens and then Padme during her first year as queen of Naboo. This book also confirms that Padme is Bisexuel!!!
Profile Image for Moony (Captain Mischief) MeowPoff.
1,441 reviews124 followers
June 30, 2022
This was seriously as fantastic and amazing as Queen`s shadow. I really wished there were more, i did not want it to end. I loved that we got to read more about the handmaidens, that there were individual "information" how they were recruited and what reaction they had. But also how they support and affect Padme in their own individual way. Padme is still a favorite of mine, hands down. <3
Profile Image for Denise Morse.
682 reviews4 followers
May 14, 2020
Let me preface this by saying that I am a huge fan of E.K. Johnston and Queen's Shadow, however this one missed the mark a little. It had some very strong moments but there was definitely some weak points.

Queen's Peril takes place at the beginning of the reign of Padme Amidala and in flashbacks, the selection and early life of her handmaidens. These were the strongest chapters- how she crafted her persona, the talents of each of the handmaidens, and the political brilliance of Padme. However it falls a part when it runs into the events of the Phantom Menace. The issue was less the story and more the pacing, it went very quickly from event to event with not a lot of transition and main characters were briefly mentioned. There is a lot of opportunity here - the story told from Padme and her handmaidens perspective is a great idea and when it was given time to develop, it really worked. I think a longer book or one broken up into two books - one before Phantom Menace and one a retelling of Phantom Menace from different perspectives would have been a better choice.

Received copy from NetGalley, Thank you!
Profile Image for Patricia.
167 reviews23 followers
August 5, 2020
Let me just start by saying it brings me no joy writing this review. I truly hoped this book could have been more, but it simply wasn't.
I have multiple issues with this story. Mostly because it isn't a story at all but a weird scatterplot of scenes we either already know or could easily have imagined ourselves.
The POV switches way too much, sometimes even 3 times within 2 pages. Those POVs are intriguing at first but they don't really add anything new to the story. People's thoughts are interesting, but only if, well, you don't know what they were thinking!

Moreover, I have severe issues with the logic of the Naboo kingdom. The entire system relies on 12-14 year olds, adults rarely step in, aren't respected and don't have a clue when the 12 year old girl can make up an entire plan, be tortured and still come out pretty much unfazed? As a friend said, people on Naboo seem to be ageing backwards and I have trouble believing this is how a government can be run. Given how much these girls accomplish, it's a shame that after 2 books about them, I still can't tell who's who and I have no idea what their characters are like because I simply can't tell them apart.

I have other somewhat small concerns that pulled me out of the story, Yoda, for example. He was written in such a weird way, and the 3 sentences he said sounded very off. Or the whole period dilemma - but I won't go into detail as not to spoil anything.

Another main issue I had is that this book is way besides its title. There was neither much of the queen nor any real peril, at least not the way things were written. The invasion that happened after 200 pages of "how do we modify clothes and makeup" was underwhelming and didn't raise the stakes even a little.

What I liked about this book were the references to stories outside Episode I. Claudia Gray's works are referenced a few times and I thoroughly enjoyed that. Queen's Peril was also a very fast read (to be fair, it doesn't have a lot of pages) and kept me entertained. It also made me want to rewatch The Phantom Menace, which is nice. The cover is stunning as well.

However, these few joys sadly cannot outweigh my criticisms. This book had an incredible amount of potential it didn't use. It's a shame because I think Padmé deserved more than this. If you LOVED Queen's Shadow, you are probably going to enjoy this story as well. If you didn't, you won't like this story either. And if you fall somewhere in between, maybe my review could help you decide whether you want to get into this book yourself or not.
Profile Image for Jess.
78 reviews1 follower
May 10, 2020
Unless you are a big Star Wars fan, Star Wars: Queen's Peril probably won't excite you.

I, unfortunately, was wholly disappointed. After reading Queen's Shadow last week, I had high hopes that the prequel would be even better.

It wasn't.

Most of the book is slow and uneventful. Captain Panaka's recruitment of Amidala's handmaidens peaks some interest, but it is largely addressed in a handful of pages. I was excited to explore rich backstories of, and interactions between, Eirtaé, Saché, Yané, Rabé, Sabé and Padmé, but their introductions are dealt with swiftly and loosely. Instead, the book drones on with mundane political exchanges and a random outing to a night club that adds little to the story's progression.

The pace does not pick up until well after the halfway point. It then speeds through some of the events of The Phantom Menace with hodge-podge detail and befuddled storytelling. It requires the reader to have clear recall of the invasion of Naboo orchestrated by the Trade Federation and the role and positioning of key characters during that time.

For example, one subsection of a later chapter comprises only of one sentence without any written context: "Anakin Skywalker liked flying." Another reads: "Anakin Skywalker really liked flying." Unless you remember specifically what the heck is happening at this point in the film, you won't be sure where this information came from or what to do with it.

Ultimately, Queen's Peril does not do enough to develop the front end of the story and tries to pepper in too much towards the back end. Sure, we don't want a retelling of The Phantom Menace, but we do want new perspective.

The story idea behind Queen's Peril had great potential but this book is unfortunately a half-baked and humdrum read.
Profile Image for Mila.
770 reviews66 followers
June 19, 2020
4,5 stars

I didn't expect much from this book but it, surprisingly enough, turned out to be one of my favorite Star Wars Disney canon novels. I liked how we learned so much more about Naboo, politics, and Padmé's life in general before the events of "The Phantom Menace". I enjoyed the complicated relationships between the queen and her handmaidens and their banter was a real joy to read. My only complaint were the little snippets from other characters' POVs that sometimes interrupted the flow of the story and not even for a good reason. But other than that, I definitely enjoyed this novel a lot more than I'd expected to.
Profile Image for Camila Valenzuela.
20 reviews2 followers
June 17, 2020
Really enjoyed this book. It has a very intimate look on some of the main characters in TPM around the time where the galactic conflict started in the prequel era. Absolutely loved how EK Johnston developed both the team and Padmé and each individual handmaiden while never loosing sight of the bigger conflict around them. It really adds to the movie in ways I was not expecting and to Queen’s shadow! I just wish it would have been a little longer.

Also, the parallels between the prelude and the epilogue will break your heart.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Opalsbookjems.
140 reviews75 followers
June 19, 2020
4.5⭐️This was so great. Especially since I have a newfound appreciation for The Phantom Menice! All the cameos—I literally lost count and the ending!! I really hope Johnston continues with the Star Wars love!
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