by Margaret Stohl
Age Range: 12 - 18 years
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Series: A Marvel YA Novel
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Marvel Press (October 13, 2015)
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Enter the world of the Avengers' iconic master spyI was intrigued and very interested at the thought of a YA Black Widow book as I have been a fan of the Avengers movies for years. However, as someone who has not ever read the “Beautiful Creatures” books, I was skeptical and unsure in the chosen author, Margaret Stohl. I have no history of this author’s writings so I cannot compare those books to this book. This review is purely on the writing of “Forever Red”.
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. . . .
Any one that has watched the Avengers movies has always wanted a Black Widow spin off, something to give us more of a background on Natasha Romanoff. Sadly, if this book was turned into a movie, I would have been bored by it. I was bored with the storyline and the characters. I did not feel a connection to any of them, Natasha, Alex, or Ava. Alex and Ava both have shaky ties to Natasha but that still doesn’t make them an interesting read. I understand Stohl was doing her best to keep the readers interested but it wasn’t enough for me.
I don’t want to say much about the plot without giving away spoilers, but I can say that it revolved around a Russian bad guy named Ivan Somodorov. Ivan has a very seedy past with an even worse reputation. Sadly I never got a good understanding of Ivan, which considering he is the main villain it would have been nice. Also, there was so much technical speak that I felt lost and confused. I wanted to understand what was going on, but it felt over my head. At no point did I find myself really dying to get back to this book and finish it.
I know there are a lot of YA readers are super excited about this book but Stohl hopefully realized that not everyone would love it. I will continue to watch the Avengers movies but I do hope this book is not turned into the Black Widow movie because it will not be well received. This story was a solid 3 stars, I liked it but did not love it.