Queen’s Peril by E. K. Johnston is the follow-up to the acclaimed Queen’s Shadow, although a prequel. Queen’s Peril starts when Padme (Naberrie) Amidala is elected Queen of Naboo and finishes with the end of Episode I: The Phantom Menace. While QP was a quick, entertaining read (Padme, the handmaidens, and Naboo are my happy place,) I felt that it lacked the ingenuity and originality of QS. We already know from QS how Padme and the handmaidens utilize and leverage make up and fashion design for deception, functionality, and self-defense, however in QP we learn which handmaidens develop these methods and how (even though we kind of already knew.) We see Panaka observe and recruit the handmaidens in brief asides between chapters, but I would have liked to delve deeper into each of their backgrounds and family histories because perhaps with the exception of Sabe, the other handmaidens are not that fleshed out.
While it was fun to pick out Episode I easter eggs, about 65-70% through the book, the plot begins to overlap with The Phantom Menace, albeit from the perspectives of the handmaidens. However, not much new information is divuleged through this plot choice. In terms of originality, I would have also like to see how Padme ran her campaign and the challenges she faced among the media and career politicians as a young woman running to become Queen. I would have even preferred a new Clone Wars tale focusing on a Padme and handmaidens-only mission.
Overall, QP is fast and fun, but falls short of the originality of QS and is essentially a rehash.