Set between Episode 1 The Phantom Menace and Episode 2 Attack of the Clones, Queens Shadow written by E.K Johnston is the story of Padme Amidala Naberrie's transition from Queen to Senator. As the title suggests, the actions and skill of the handmaiden-disguised security detail of the queen now senator play a key role throughout the novel. It is, of course, their honor to serve in the queen's shadow as protectors. This novel takes time to unfold and the conflict is not revealed until the later stages of the book. E.K. Johnston does hold our attention along the way by laying out the first steps of what will become the rebellion. Relationships with Bail Organa and others are launched by chance encounters in the beginning and fortified by uniting against a common enemy toward the end of the book.
Meanwhile, Palpatine looms in the background as he continues his machinations toward civil war. The weight of the two perspectives of the senator and handmaidens were balanced. I found that to be refreshing, using the galactic turmoil that Padme was engaged in to push the story along and using her security force to provide the more intimate and personal elements in this novel. This book does provide drama despite the fact that attempting to procure premacrete is the red herring of this story. I am so glad to have a story published that is Padme centric. It was a joy to listen to all the way through.
That brings us to the audiobook review. I can't tell you what a joy it was to hear Catherine Taber, the voice of Padme in the Clone Wars the animated series, perform this entire audiobook. I have heard that the main selling point, as spoken by her agent, to get the part originally was a simple fact that, “She is Padme!” I wholeheartedly agree! Throughout the entire novel, I detected the vulnerability of an unsure single young lady trying to find her place in the Senate and the strength of a dignitary. All of these facets carried out with precision and poignancy depending on what the scene called for. Her portrayal of the different handmaidens was also well done. Maybe shades of Dee Bradley Baker but on a smaller scale. This is now two novels written by E.K. Johnston centered around an important female character in the Star Wars universe. I look forward to her next project.Powered by Sidelines