E.K. Johnston sure knows how to write about strong women, galaxy-threatening challenges and exquisite clothing.
Between now and this Friday, May 8, Disney is gifting readers Star Wars: Queen’s Shadow via free eBook download. I took advantage of this exciting offer over the weekend and enjoyed all the thrills Naboo, Coruscant, Tatooine and more had to offer in Johnston’s tale.
When Padmé Naberrie steps down from her role as the unforgettable Queen Amidala, she wonders what comes next: for herself and for those close to her. Padmé trades royalty for the Senate, accepting the role as Naboo’s representative proposed to her by the newly elected queen. Despite some transitional teething problems and an unforgiving media, Padmé – with the help of her friends and allies, old and new – must forge strategic alliances, navigate politics and create an unshakeable new identity.
Skill, art and practicality are the very fabric of Naboo, and of Johnston’s book.
Johnston masterfully crafts Padmé’s triumphs and challenges, political and beyond, with readers taking a front seat alongside Senator Amidala during her transition to the Galactic Senate. The role of costume and emphasis on dress – whether elaborate or simple (well, as simple as Amidala’s dress code goes) – artfully incorporates symbolism, tributes to Naboo and persuasive political prowess. It was my favorite feature of this book.
But beauty in this book goes beyond Amidala’s wardrobe.
Johnston contrasts the beauty of Theed with the stern, hard and cold surrounds of Coruscant. Readers are warmly introduced to Padmé’s handmaidens – Eirtaé, Saché, Yané, Rabé, Verdé, Dormé, Cordé and Sabé – along with her guards, each of them given clear and separate roles, but also clear and separate personalities. Sabé as Amidala’s chief double and closest friend wields a significant amount of page time, illustrating just how important it is to stay close to those you trust while paving your own path.
Hard work, embarrassment, uncertainty. Oh, and attempted murder. Padmé faces it all with a grace all readers will wish they had and will hopefully strive for. Consistent themes including learning and adapting – amidst a backdrop of a galaxy largely out of one’s control – explore the possibility of effecting real change alongside the challenges associated with saving face, losing face, and creating face.
Stepping out of one’s shadow is harder than you think.