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Black Widow Forever Red (A Marvel YA Novel) Hardcover – October 13, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Beautiful Creatures (Little, Brown, 2010) coauthor Stohl and Marvel team up for a brand new Black Widow story with two original main characters. Once a lethal assassin for Russia, Natasha Romanov (aka Black Widow) strives to atone for her past mistakes. Working with S.H.I.E.L.D, Natasha is ready to kill her former teacher, Ivan Somodorov, but does not count on rescuing a little girl from a planned explosion at his lab. Without realizing it, Natasha and Ava are caught in Ivan's latest experiment, which gives Ava access to Natasha's abilities. Years later, their lives converge when Ava meets Alex, a boy she has been having dreams about, and is reunited with Natasha, who turns their normal lives upside down. Natasha reluctantly involves Ava and Alex in her mission to kill Ivan and save the world, but the cost may be too high. Black Widow: Forever Red can be enjoyed without prior knowledge, and for those who are familiar with Black Widow, Natasha's history is expanded in new ways. VERDICT Great fight sequences, plenty of action, twists in the plot, and characters motivated by strong emotions will keep readers engaged and entertained. A great addition for most young adult collections.—Marissa Lieberman, East Orange Public Library, NJ
* "Every aspect of this book is terrific, from the concrete details and rich language to the interactions among Alex, Ava, and Natasha . . . . Here's hoping for a sequel!"―Booklist, starred review
"Action-packed . . . [Stohl creates] a complex tapestry from which emerges the story of the origins of the Black Widow."―VOYA
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In this book, she is a secondary character behind two older teens named Alex and Ava. The book goes back and forth between each of the three as each chapter is told from one of their perspectives. The story is about Natasha trying to kill somebody from her past, and of course the main characters get intertwined as well.
While it was off the Black Widow book was not mainly about Black Widow, it honestly wasn't a big deal early on. It still felt like a good spy story with shield and Avengers tie ins. It started to fall apart about half way through, when the "young adult" part of the book kicked in. We get romance, which I usually enjoy, and we get some really off backstory on Natasha that tries to humanize that character. Now I know this book giant considered cannon, or part of,the actual marvel universe, but it still seemed very out of place with this character. Without going into spoilers, I can't really explain why I didn't like it. But it just felt cheesy and seemed almost like they only did it to tie the 3 characters together.
The book wasn't bad, and I really enjoyed the first half of it. I loved every interaction Coulson had, and the cameo by a certain Avenger early on. But finishing the book was difficult. It was on sale for a dollar, I easily got that out of it But I have no interest in reading the next book.
If you are a fan of The Avengers movies, you will know a little bit of the backstory of the Black Widow. Trained as a child by the KGB to be the ultimate killing machine, Natasha Romanoff is deadly, efficient, and alone. She has been raised to be completely self-reliant, with no family to tie her down. But all that changes when she rescues young Ava Orlova. Ava has been brutalized by the same KGB mastermind, Ivan The Strange, as Natasha. They have had so many of the same experiences that Ava feels Natasha could be like a big sister. Natasha saves Ava, but then disappears from her life.
What I loved:
I think it was fascinating to learn more about Natasha and how she operates in the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization. I enjoyed the technology and all the cool abilities that Natasha has. I also enjoyed the layers of intrigue that are revealed in the story. I am being deliberately vague about some of this so as to not give anything away. But I will say there are some impressive ways people go undercover in this book!
Another fun aspect of the story is when Tony Stark shows up! Every scene he is in is a delight. He is such a fun character that I couldn't wait to see what Tony does next.
What I didn't love:
Some of the premises of the book are based on the overall Big Bad project that Ivan the Strange makes being plausible, and it just isn't. Okay, yes, this is a superhero book, but I wish some of the technology would have been more realistic. Just because a character can access someone's memories does not mean they would have the muscle memory to perform stunts that would take someone years to perfect. While it makes for a fun fantasy (look, I can now do super-spy acrobatics!), it takes us out of the action by how ridiculous it is.
But, if truth be told, I did find this story to be a fun spy thriller. I enjoyed the format: each chapter begins with a transcript of a death investigation. You know by that, alone, someone is not going to make it out alive. This increases the tension throughout the book as the plot is revealed. If you enjoy action, and mystery, you will love Black Widow Forever Red. But, check your sense of reality at the door.
Most recent customer reviews
I'm a huge sucker for everything Marvel. Comics, movies, merch. Everything. But when it comes to the famous Black Widow, I'm going to slay.Read more