A KIRKUS REVIEW
Fourteen-year-old Padmé Naberrie becomes Naboo’s latest elected monarch, and Capt. Quarsh Panaka of the Royal Security Forces prepares for a peaceful transition of power.
Much work awaits the young leader, who hopes to guide her homeworld beyond the isolationist policy of her predecessor. But first, Padmé and Panaka must assemble the queen’s handmaidens, a group of five girls who will act as advisers, guards and decoys for the queen.
Against Panaka’s wishes, Padmé tightens the bonds between herself and her handmaidens, particularly with her dearest Saché, to craft a cunning, bold group loyal to Queen Amidala, Padmé’s regal alter ego.
As Queen Amidala navigates Naboo’s political sphere, she organizes a summit with neighboring planets to foster and restore alliances. Meanwhile, the villainous Darth Sidious hastens his plans to acquire more power, inciting a brutal invasion of Naboo by the Trade Federation.
A prequel to the 1999 film Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace as well as Johnston’s Queen’s Shadow (2019), this look into Padmé’s ascent both honors its source material and colors in its scope.Johnston builds Padmé into an icon worthy of her reputation while underscoring her strong camaraderie with the handmaidens.
Remarkably, readers receive a glimpse of Naboo’s politics as the narrative inevitably unfolds into the events chronicled in the film, though here there are glimpses of the more urgent struggles lurking beneath the latter’s grand heroics.
There is diversity in race and sexual orientation. Solid and intriguing.
Verdict: GET IT!
Pub Date: June 2, 2020
Page Count: 288
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm
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