In preparation for the soon to be released Queen's Hope, this past week I re-read Queen's Shadow, the first of that trilogy! It's such a great book, though I hadn't read it in a while. This was a great reminder of why I love the book so much, why I love Padmé so much, and why I'm so excited for Queen's Hope. It's such a good look into the interiority of Padmé. It does such a good job of fleshing out some things about Naboo, as well as the characters and stories that surround her. I'd highly recommend this book to anyone who likes Padmé or the political dramas of Star Wars.
Spoilers ahead for Queen's Shadow by E. K. Johnston!
Obviously, the highlight of this book for me is Padmé. I love getting to not only follow her around as she learns how to be a senator in the early days of her position, how she adjusts to Coruscant and steps out of the role as Queen Amidala. I love seeing her make her first connections with characters we know she forges strong bonds with, like Bail Organa. By far, my favorite part is getting to read through her thought processes as she makes the switch from the stoic persona of Queen Amidala to the more outwardly emotional Senator Amidala. It's so interesting to see her interact with other senators and the media of Coruscant, looking at what works for her and what wasn't. It's a really fascinating transformation to see occur, and it gives us a great look into galactic politics throughout the plot of this book as Padmé fights to do what's right when the process of the Senate is a hindrance to helping people.
While Padmé is very obviously my favorite part of the book, her handmaidens come to a very close second (though I still struggle to keep all of their names straight). We learn a little bit about the original team of handmaidens from The Phantom Menace in the beginning of the book, but most of our time is spent with her team as a senator. I love how close they all are and how much they bond and are dedicated. I also think it's so cool about how they all have so many skills and are just incredible. They each have their niche in the team that makes them so effective, and I just completely love learning about their role and what they actually do, because an unobservant watch of the movies might mislead you into thinking they don't do much- which is exactly what they'd want you to think.
While most of our time in this book is spent on Coruscant (though we definitely don't spend an insignificant time on Naboo), I think this book does a lot of really cool stuff to flesh out Naboo culture. We learn a lot about their commitment to the arts and to public service, how the election of queens works, and just in general I think the book helps you to get a good feel for Naboo. It's really cool, and something that I really appreciate about the book.