I can’t describe to you my triumph of nabbing the ARC of Black Widow: Forever Red off the Little Shop of Stories’ ARC shelf before anyone else in my bookclub could get to it! Bwahaha! Black Widow is beloved by my bookclub and pretty much all superhero-loving, women-kind.
Nastasha Romanov stands out as the lone female in the testosterone heavy group of the Avengers. But being the only woman is tough because we hold her to a higher standard, she’s the only one we have to look up to. We want her to be all the things – she can’t be perfect but she can’t be too flawed, she has to be relatable but still awe-inspiring, and so on and so forth. It’s a tall order for sure.
It’s no surprise after the Avengers movies that women (and men too) were clamoring for more Black Widow (hello Marvel where is our stand alone Black Widow movie??). Coming out this October is a new Black Widow YA novel from Margaret Stohl (co-author of the Beautiful Creatures series and author of the Icons series) – here’s the Forever Red synopsis from Goodreads:
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. . . .
For starters, look at this badass cover – it’s amazing!
Forever Red reads like a movie script, it’s fast-paced and action-packed and with some familiar faces (namely Phil Coulson and Tony Stark) it’s impossible not to read the dialogue using the actors’ voices (not that that is a bad thing!). This book is written like a movie in your mind. The story is told from 3 different POVs – Natasha’s, Ava’s and Alex Manor’s (a seemingly normal American teenage except that Ava has been dreaming about him for months even though she has never met him). There is at least one chapter that was titled as an Ava chapter and halfway thru it turned into a Nastasha chapter, I’m hoping that gets cleared up #eek.
Overall, I liked the story/adventure/mission/whatever you want to call it, the novel is also full of witty dialogue and entertaining cultural references though I would have liked some more feels. There is backstory (primarily referring to Natasha) but I want more – there can never be enough origin story. I think maybe because it read like an action movie, it lacked some depth, the story was bam bam bam scene scene scene. The downside – the climax was over in an instant (insert sex joke), it happened so fast that I didn’t really have time to process that the final showdown was happening. Had it been a bit more drawn out, I would have had more feels because I was definitely supposed to. The story wrapped, no cliffhangers but there are unanswered questions so I wouldn’t be surprised if this became a series. All said and done, I really enjoyed Forever Red and can’t wait to let my bookclub fight over and then we can all dissect it!
Moral of the story is WHERE IS THE GODDAMN BLACK WIDOW MOVIE???