Book Review, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Queen’s Peril by E.K. Johnston

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. 

I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. I was never a huge fan of the Prequels, but Phantom Menace was my favorite (very unpopular opinion I know!). It was not until the Clone Wars did, I appreciate the full trilogy. This book is the third prequel era book I have read, and this includes legends and canons. Queen’s Peril takes place prior and concurrently to the events of The Phantom Menace. You do not have to watch Phantom Menace to understand what is going on in this book, but it will make the reading experience richer. 

What we learn in this book was how Amidala transitioned from civilian to Queen. It was interesting to learn how different the author compared Padme’s views to the previous Queen and her current Captain of the Guard. To brush up on Naboo politics, Naboo Monarchs are elected rulers for the Royal House of Naboo, the monarchy that governs the human denizens of the planet. The Naboo often elects young women, believing they possessed a form of pure, childlike wisdom that the adults lacked. They hold campaigns and the people vote on who they want the successor to be. The term lengths are 2 years but could be reelected for another term given the max of term years 4. 

Even though the book is called Queen’s Peril, I felt like this book is more about the handmaidens. They seemed to be the star of this book. It was nice to read and learn on how the handmaidens came to be and who they were before they became part of the royal court. I knew from legends they taught the handmaidens to be a personal set of bodyguards to the current monarch, and what I loved about this book was how the author took it a step further. Originally, the idea was to have one handmaiden: Tsabin, and she was to be the decoy, but because Padmé and Tsabin got along easily, they decide there should be more handmaidens so that Padmé going undercover will stand out less. 

Panaka found Padme four other girls to serve as her handmaidens: Rabene Tonsort, Eirtama Ballory, Suyan Higin and Sashah Adova. He chose these four not because of their similarities to Amidala, but because of their talents. Instead of staying at the bunkers where most of the royal employees stayed, Amidala had her handmaidens live with her so they can become close and talk about their plans. When the handmaidens and Amidala learned about each other, they designated themselves to a specific job by what they were good at and why Panaka sought them out. With the four new girls and Tsabin agreeing on their roles in Padmé’s service, at Rabene’s suggestion they all take on new names to match Amidala’s given one, for privacy, loyalty and so a disguised Padmé will stand out less: Rabé, Eirtaé, Yané, Saché and Sabé. 

One reason I enjoyed this book was because this book explained what was going on during the Naboo occupation. The author did not give us The Phantom Menace, but what was going on during that time. When Padme leaves the ship to go with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, the author gives the readers what was going on the ship with Sabe, Rabe and Eirtae. During the scenes on Coruscant and other scenes, the author gave us what was going on in the camps and what Yane and Sache were planning. Even though this gives nothing to the Star Wars lore, it adds background stories and lore to Naboo and the citizens. The author gave us new characters such as Panaka’s wife Mariek Panaka and names to characters we see in the movie. 

I recommend this book to those who liked the character Padme, the handmaidens and who likes books that give movies a different light. This was a fun read, and I am going to read the next book in this possible trilogy Queen’s Shadow. 

I give this book a 4/5

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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