Star Wars: Queen’s Hope marks the beginning of the end for E.K. Johnston’s Padmé trilogy. And set immediately after the events of Attack of the Clones and the beginning of Padmé’s marriage to Anakin Skywalker, it’s set to be a serious tearjerker.
The first excerpts for the novel, out April 5, featured Padmé contemplating the weight of her secret relationship with the young Jedi amid the stress of trying to plan a hasty wedding on Naboo. She also was conflicted about whether or not to ask for the help of her handmaidens – her closest and most trusted friends.
The newest excerpt, shared by Nerdist, sees the return of Sabé, Padmé’s first handmaiden and the one who became her closest friend, her sister, and her shadow when she was the queen of Naboo. In this passage, Padmé asks Sabé for the ultimate favor: to become her shadow once again, but this time as a senator.
"“This one’s complicated,” Padmé said. “There’s a mission my faction in the Senate is running, and it has to be me who goes. Only, I can’t disappear from the Senate, because people will notice. I need you to come to Coruscant and be Senator Amidala.”All thoughts of relaxation fled. Senator Amidala was so different. There was no makeup to hide behind, no bulky dresses to use as a physical barrier. This wouldn’t be a normal switch. She’d have to mimic Padmé on the floor of the Galactic Senate."
By this time in her life, Padmé’s relationship with her original handmaidens is a bit strained – not because there are hard feelings but simply because they’ve all grown up and moved on to life beyond the lives of Naboo royalty. Queen’s Shadow deftly showcases what Padmé and her handmaidens all do once Amidala is no longer queen.
Sabé, however, has remained the closest to Padmé and the senator’s lofty goals. In Queen’s Hope, we find her and Captain Tonra back on Tatooine still working to stamp out slavery in the Outer Rim.
When Sabé arrives on Naboo, she and Padmé fall back to their old selves for at least one night. She introduces two of her new handmaidens, and they all sit down for a Naboo feast. However, the other love of Padmé’s life is missing, having already had to fly off to the front lines of the brewing Clone Wars.
"She wished Anakin were here. That was the only thing that kept the night from being perfect. She missed him, and not even Sabé could make her feel better. It was strange, to love two people so much, so differently."
The excerpt, while touching on many of the harder, sadder aspects of Padmé’s double life, is full of hope for a happier, more interconnected future. That’s essentially what Queen’s Hope is all about – lots of stress, longing, and fear of what’s to come in the Clone Wars. But despite all of that, Padmé remains hopeful, her most enduring and endearing trait.
Star Wars: Queen’s Hope is out on April 5 and is now available for preorder. Keep up to date with Star Wars book news through Dork Side of the Force.