"Enter the world of the Avengers’ iconic master spy…
Natasha 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.
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…
Black Widow: Forever Red features all the heart-pounding adventure readers expect from Marvel, written by #1 New York Times best-selling author Margaret Stohl. Uncover a new side of the Marvel Universe that will thrill loyal fans and newcomers alike, as Stohl reveals the untold story of Black Widow for the very first time."
Carolyn's thoughts on the book:
I'm a pretty big fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and so I was thrilled when I stumbled upon an ARC of a Black Widow novel by Margaret Stohl when I was at the ALA annual conference. I wasn't sure what to expect - while I'm very familiar with the MCU, I haven't read any Marvel comics, so I didn't know if I would understand or enjoy the novel. But all my fears were put to rest as soon as I opened the book. While the novel is definitely set within the MCU, the story introduces original characters and plot lines that make the book wholly unique. The story jumps throughout time, making great use of flashbacks, but the structure of the book — each chapter is starts with a present-day S.H.I.E.L.D. file — grounds the plot line and provides a (slightly ominous) frame of reference for the novel, setting the tone for the story from the very beginning. The book delves into the backstory of Black Widow, as well as that of the two new characters (Ava and Alex) — though in true Marvel fashion, readers may be left with more questions than before. Between the time jumps, changes of point-of-view, and multiple plot lines, the novel easily could have devolved into confusion, but Stohl's deft writing expertly maintains the tense tone while drawing the reader in, towards the shocking revelations the book holds. Scarlett Johansson's portrayal of Black Widow is fantastic, and Stohl's writing gives a depth to the character previously unseen (first person narration and finally being the focus of her own story also can be credited in this regard). The story also shines a different angle on S.H.I.E.L.D., with Ava's interactions with the agency categorically different from the widespread corruption by Hydra (as seen on the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Show and in Captain America: Winter Soldier) or the bright-eyed, idealistic-but-scarred operative narrative seen on the show — rather, the sin of bureaucracy and the failure of government to protect the most vulnerable. The book thus not only juggles characters and their plot lines, but their resulting thematic ideas as well (some of which challenge the narratives and ideas previously put forth by the MCU); this makes for a refreshing and different read.
Black Widow: Forever Red is a fantastic read for Marvel fans, and I am eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.
Carolyn is a teen blogger who shares her favorite YA reads and favorite book related finds with readers on Fridays.