Review: Black Widow – Forever Red by Margaret Stohl

blackwidowNatasha Romanoff is one of the world’s most lethal assassins. Trained from a young age in the arts of death and deception, Natasha was given the title of Black Widow by Ivan Somodorov, her brutal teacher at the Red Room, Moscow’s infamous academy for operatives.

Ava Orlova is just trying to fit in as an average Brooklyn teenager, but her life has been anything but average.The daughter of a missing Russian quantum physicist, Ava was once subjected to a series of ruthless military experiments-until she was rescued by Black Widow and placed under S.H.I.E.L.D. protection. Ava has always longed to reconnect with her mysterious savior, but Black Widow isn’t really the big sister type.

Until now

When children all over Eastern Europe begin to go missing, and rumors of smuggled Red Room tech light up the dark net, Natasha suspects her old teacher has returned – and that Ava Orlova might be the only one who can stop him. To defeat the madman who threatens their future, Natasha and Ava must unravel their pasts. Only then will they discover the truth about the dark-eyed boy with an hourglass tattoo who haunts Ava’s dreams. . . .

What I love most about the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU if you’re as heavily invested in the fandom as some), is that while the character you see on the screen have a completely built backstory thanks to the comics, there is always room for interpretation. People harp on TV Shows and Movies that are made based off of DC and Marvel comics, for not being true to the history already established in the comics. A perfect example would be to take DC’s Oliver Queen (The Green Arrow). In the comic books he has a life built with Dinah Lance, the Black Canary. On the TV show Arrow, they are former lovers, turned friends, and Oliver has a completely different love interest.

You’d be amazed at the amount of anger, disgust and complaining involved from those who are comic diehards. Somedays, its actually appalling. Its believed by some, that what is in the comic books, is what should be presented on screen, or in other media.

Clearly, there’s a sect of producers, directors, actors, fans, etc, that do not agree.

But, I’ll stop myself now before I go on a rant. You’re here for my review of Black Window: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl. I finished this book probably about three weeks ago now (aka more like 4 months, but whose counting), and accidentally forgot that’d I’d finished it. I marked it on Goodreads sure, but other then that, it slipped my mind that I wanted to talk about it.

Is that a sign of how good (or bad) the book was? Not at all. I think the word I would use to describe it, would be predictable. There was a slight twist that I honestly did not expect (at least in regards of who it happened to be), but other then that, it had the predictable plot of an ‘action style’ YA Novel.

Ava Orlova is one of three ‘main characters’ in the book. She begins as our protagonist and carries us through her story, with additions from Alex (her love interest) and Natasha Romanoff (aka Black Widow). Born in Russia and raised there until she was 8, her story initially follows the same lines as Natasha’s. Both have experiences in the ‘Red Room’ and are groomed to become assassins.

But Ava’s story differs when it is revealed that during her time in the ‘Red Room’, she was experimented on. It takes a bit of digging to discover that through some form of quantum based mind control, Ava is able to tap into the skills that Natasha has spent year perfecting. She can kickass and take names alongside the Black Widow, and yet she has very limited training.

Ava informs us that upon her ‘rescue’ from the Red Room in Odessa, she is housed in a S.H.I.E.L.D facility somewhere in the United States. Unhappy, and largely ignored, she escapes and we find her living in a Brooklyn YMCA facility, and about to enter into a fencing competition with her only friend. At this fencing competition, she encounters Alex, who she’s seen in her dreams, and knows almost too much about him, but she doesn’t know why. This is where Natasha first makes her presence known as well.

From there the story expands across a few states and then over into Europe, with Natasha taking Ava and Alex with her. Riddled throughout the book, there are ‘S.H.I.E.L.D files’ giving the reader clues as to the damage control the organization had to do after the incident occurs.

I like that this was an easy read, but to be honest I had slightly higher expectations from it. I was looking forward to more of a character study of Natasha Romanoff, and it was almost a typical YA action with a side of romance. There’s a very ‘high profile’ cameo from an Avenger, which made me incredibly happy to see.

Overall I’d probably around this about a 3.5 out of 5 stars. The writing is solid, and there is entertaining lines. The plot is very intriguing, but you do see the twists coming.

Final Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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