GateCrashers Review of Star Wars: Queen’s Hope
I should not be reviewing this book. Not because I disliked it by any means. Star Wars: Queen’s Hope is a love letter to Padmé Amidala. One I adored maybe even more so than the previous two entries in E.K. Johnston’s series of Young Adult novels following the life of Padmé Amidala and those closest to her. No, there is a simple reason I should not be reviewing Star Wars: Queen’s Hope. There is no need for another cis white guy to drop his thoughts on a story like the one in this book, even if I did love it. Unfortunately, our reviewer whose thoughts I was seriously looking forward to reading had other commitments, and that’s why I’m here.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s dive into what this is and why you should read Star Wars: Queen’s Hope. This book picks up during the closing moments of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, showing the day of Padmé and Anakin Skywalker’s wedding. Right from the off, it’s clear Johnston knows exactly how to depict this doomed couple’s relationship. I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect to be brought around to understanding why these two people would fall in love. But throughout Star Wars: Queen’s Hope, we see their internal reasoning for just that, and thanks to the obvious centering of Padmé in this story, I ended up in a place I never thought I’d be; invested in the love between the Jedi from Tatooine and Queen from Naboo.
But Padmé isn’t the only focus of Star Wars: Queen’s Hope. While she heads out on a vital mission for the Senate, we return to the other focus characters of Johnston’s previous books in her Padmé Trilogy; the Handmaidens of Naboo. Primarily we follow Sabé, Padmé’s body double doing her best to help those in the most need, and Saché, now an esteemed member of the Naboo government, giving her all to find a way forward for her home planet in dark times.
Across the three books in this trilogy, Johnston has done what should have been impossible; taken these character-less characters and transformed them into some of the most well-rounded, engaging people in the Galaxy Far, Far Away. Sabé especially has become one of my favorite characters in the franchise. How Star Wars: Queen’s Hope depicts her changing relationship with Padmé, as they inevitably grow apart due to their different wants in life, was enough to bring me to tears.
Throughout Star Wars: Queen’s Hope, there is the inevitable, encroaching shadow of war. To quote Yoda, “Begun, the Clone Wars has.” We only see the war front in a few brief scenes, one of which features a landmark moment of representation in Star Wars. It is one I never saw coming, but that brought a smile to my face, and one of just many moments that see Star Wars breaking ground in inclusivity. Padmé’s mission turns out to be something that could prove vital to the war effort, one that will bring help to people, not cause more destruction. There is nothing more fitting for who Padmé is than that, bringing hope, even in the darkest moments the Galaxy has seen to date.
Thanks to all this, and cutaways to various iconic women connected to Padmé in one way or another peppered throughout, Star Wars: Queen’s Hope is a shining example of how to tell an engaging, character-focused story. One that stands as a beautiful love letter to Padmé Amidala and the women of Star Wars.
Star War: Queen’s Hope is available in all good bookstores and digital storefronts from today. To find out more, click here.
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