Queen's Shadow
Young Adult Novel

Queen's Shadow

E. K. Johnston
28 BBY

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Our Synopsis

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What does one do after ruling an entire planet? For Padmé Amidala, that answer came easily: move on to even bigger things. However, transitioning from the throne on Naboo to a seat in the Galactic Senate is not without challenges, especially at such a young age. Uneasy alliances, ruthless media, and hidden agendas not only leave her wondering how she can possibly hope to instate positive change in the galaxy, but also how she can survive long enough to do it.

EK Johnston’s story bridges the gap between the Padmé fans see in The Phantom Menace and the one they see in Attack of the Clones. It largely expounds upon Naboo culture, including the fashion, government, and the role of the handmaidens.

Publisher's Summary

Possible Spoilers

Written by the #1 New York Times best-selling author of Ahsoka! When Padmé Naberrie, "Queen Amidala" of Naboo, steps down from her position, she is asked by the newly-elected queen to become Naboo's representative in the Galactic Senate. Padmé is unsure about taking on the new role, but cannot turn down the request to serve her people. Together with her most loyal handmaidens, Padmé must figure out how to navigate the treacherous waters of politics and forge a new identity beyond the queen's shadow.

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Our Review

Queen's Shadow



Very Good


Johnston’s take on the character of Padmé is clearly heartfelt, but ultimately falls flat due to not using the character to her full potential.







Complete Disaster

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Staff Comments

Queen's Shadow was one of my least favorite Star Wars books of all time. That wasn't the case because the idea for the story was bad, but because it wasn't well-executed. The story felt disjointed and seemed to get stuck focusing on minutiae for large periods of time (such as the Queen's wardrobe). Ultimately, even the parts of the story that were moderately interesting never really quite amounted to...well, anything. There are some redeeming qualities of this book, such as how Johnston doesn't shy away from some of the more maligned aspects of the prequel trilogy, but actually highlights and manages to elevate them. However, in hindsight, I would have happily skipped this book and settled on just reading the Wookiepeedia entry.

- Charles Hanckel

Queen's Shadow introduced me to a world that I didn't know I had been wanting for years. I loved the way that Johnston handled Padmé's evolution from Queen to Senator, and more than a lot of other novels, this story really brought us inside her head to experience her growth right alongside her. Whenever I go back to the prequels, there's no way that I won't look at the handmaidens with a renewed sense of respect and purpose, and I desperately hope we get more stories that are hinted at near the end!

- Eric Eilersen

Queen's Shadow does not do any justice to E.K. Johnston's talents. Many parts of this book opened up for some sort of potential, only to be cut short. 90% of the book is about choosing outfits, and nothing significant really happens until the very end and even then those parts aren't very substantial. If you're going to read it, it's better to think of it as "The Phantom Menace: Deleted Scenes" and listen to the audiobook so you can witness Catherine Taber trying her hand at Palpatine's voice.

- Heather Goldman

- Karl Sander

One thing that has always frustrated me about the prequels is that they never allowed enough time to develop the films' main characters enough to heighten the emotional impacts of their falls. Padmé has always been one of my favorite characters, but I've never thought she got the meaningful screen time she deserved. E.K. Johnston's portrayal of her character in Queen's Shadow -- including the shock wave that ran through her friends and loved ones upon her death -- was exactly what I've always wanted. While the book itself struggled to deliver in many areas, as a love letter to Padmé fans, it's a wonderful read.

- Meg Dowell

- Stacey White

Ah, yes. The infamous Queen's Shadow. We've recorded three different roundtables on this book for the podcast and lost the audio 2/3 times. All I can say is that I'm glad I had a reason to revisit this book after not feeling as fondly about it the first go round. This time, I listened to the audiobook and I highly recommend it. As usual, the audiobook production value is fantastic and is voiced by Catherine Taber, the voice of Padme in The Clone Wars which was an awesome surprise. Overall, I found it entertaining, enjoyed the tie-ins to The Phantom Menace, and thoroughly recommend it as a staple feminine Canon YA novel.

- Corey Helton

- Andrew Bell

Padmé has been in dire need of her own book and expectations were high for Queen’s Shadow. Her character is treated with a lot of love and this was clearly a dream project for Johnston. Queen’s Shadow is both deeply personal and political, focusing more on the character moments and little details such as Padmé’s wardrobe than on any kind of a grand space opera plot. While the details can be tedious and the story lacking in action, Queen’s Shadow perfectly weaves together the various versions of Padmé that we get from Episodes I, II, and the Clone Wars. While far from my favorite Star Wars book, I’m so glad we got this book, I absolutely couldn't put it down, and expect great things from the other entries in the series!

- Jared Mayes

- Wes Jenkins

- Nathan Emery

- Trevor Davey

Community Reviews

Technical Specs

Lucasfilm Press
Release Date:
March 5, 2019
Page Count:
Issues Collected:
Catherine Taber


Queen's Shadow
March 5, 2019
Queen's Shadow
March 11, 2020
Queen's Shadow
UK Paperback
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