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… (Synopsis taken from Goodreads)
I’m a Marvel fangirl at heart. Which is why, when I found this book just sitting in a Barnes & Noble, I nearly squealed. BECAUSE I DIDN’T KNOW THIS BOOK WAS COMING OUT. I was so exited about it…so, naturally, I didn’t get to read it for another few weeks because I had no money and my library is stupid.
Let me just say I love Black Widow: the whole tormented past thing, sure, but I also love that she’s pretty much human (notice how I said “pretty much” and not “completely”. Hawkeye is completely human), and she can stand her own with people like Iron Man and Captain America and Hulk. Both comic and cinematic universe versions of her.
So, yeah. I was excited to be able to read this book.
This book is what you would expect it to be: a fast paced plot, lots of spies and fights and injuries. This was based on cinematic universe Natasha, which I think more YA readers are familiar with, but there were also nods to comic universe Natasha: Liho the cat, hints at her past with The Winter Soldier, stuff like that, which I enjoyed.
HOWEVER, despite this book being titled “Black Widow”…Black Widow wasn’t actually the main character. The main character was Ava, a teenager that Natasha rescued when Ava was a little girl. Natasha still gets a big part in this book, yes, but not the main part that I was expecting.
Another problem? The instalove. Ava has been dreaming about this boy, Alex, for months. They lock eyes at a fencing tournament, they feel a spark of connection, and it’s love at first sight. Somewhat frustrating.
Despite this, Ava is quite interesting. A Russian girl who was orphaned, kidnapped and then saved by Black Widow at a young age. She’s actually pretty bitter about this, because while Natasha told her that she would be able to help Ava…no help came. Instead it was Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D.’s job to make sure she was safe. Now she looks and sounds like a pretty normal American, who dreams about a boy she’s never met and can do crazy things like back flip off of bridges despite having no training whatsoever.
Between each chapter there was a little transcript of an interview between Natasha and a S.H.I.E.L.D. debriefer, which were EXTREMELY entertaining (for reasons that you might guess). There were several appearances of other Avengers, as well as a certain supposed-to-be-dead director of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Coulson, and being very Coulson-ish, too).
So this book is good despite its faults, and overall enjoyable. I’d recommend it to any Marvel fan.
I heard that there’s another YA Marvel book coming out about Carol Danvers, AKA Captain Marvel, which is epic because she is amazing. And, also, if there is not some sort of mention of Kamala Khan, AKA Ms. Marvel, I will be soundly disappointed. It’s also being written by Shannon Hale, which is also awesome, because I loved her books of Bayern series, so this should be pretty good.
So! Have you read Forever Red yet? Do you want to? What about the not-yet-titled Captain Marvel novel? Are you a Marvel fan or DC fan?