Episode I Journal - Queen Amidala
by Jude Watson
Published by Scholastic
Scott's Rating: 3.5 out of 4
The premise of this book is that Queen Amidala keeps a journal of her adventures in Episode I. This book is that journal. She describes her background, fears, and innermost thoughts about things that happen on and off the screen.
The book includes pictures of what the Queen looks like during each entry. Each page has a color background photo of scenes from the movie as well as fancy borders.
If you want more insight into the Queen, this is the book for you. You get to find out what she's thinking as she trades places with Sabe. You share her fears about being so young and responsible for so many people. She tells us about her grandmother, Winama, who is a weaver in Theed and who she lives with while acting as Princess of Theed. We also find out that her disagreement with Qui-Gon about Anakin racing for their hyperdrive part is not so much about Anakin losing as fear that he might get hurt. Amidala's sympathies definitely lie with Shmi. Overall,this is a good way to get to know the character better.
The book also does a good job in keeping you straight about when she's dressed as the Queen and when she's dressed as Padme. That is a point of confusion for many people, and this helps. The pages are beautifully designed and fun to look at.
These are minor gripes, but here goes. Some of the scenes and lines in the book are different than in the film, but you can chalk this up to Padme's memory being off. The book also tells us that Panaka knew full well that Padme and Amidala were the same. This makes me wonder why he'd let her go into Mos Espa when he knows it's dangerous. Part of the ruse, I suppose, but another handmaiden could have gone. This book is also missing Amidala's one shot adventure on Tatooine that is featured in the Dark Horse comic. Finally, the premise that the Queen was taking notes during these adventures might be a little hard to swallow. Would she or wouldn't she? That is the question.
As extremely well put together as this book is, I question why it was made. If Scholastic is only going to publish X number of books a year, why spend Jude Watson's talent on a simple retelling of a movie I've seen a zillion times now? Having read Watson's Jedi Apprentice novel, I'd much, much rather see a fully original story from the writer. The additional info is the only thing that makes this worthwhile. But it is so very well put together, I still rate it highly at 3.5 out of 4. But is $6 worth the quality? You'll have to ask yourself that.
I can't name anything definitely ugly, so I'll pass here.