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…
Review:I was very excited when I found out that author Margaret Stohl was tapped to write Black Widow Forever Red. I am a big fan of the series she writes with Kami Garcia, Beautiful Creatures. I was also just happy that Natasha Romanoff was finally getting her own story! I can only hope a Black Widow movie is as exciting as this book! It was a fun ride.
If you are a fan of The Avengers movies, you will know a little bit of the backstory of the Black Widow. Trained as a child by the KGB to be the ultimate killing machine, Natasha Romanoff is deadly, efficient, and alone. She has been raised to be completely self-reliant, with no family to tie her down. But all that changes when she rescues young Ava Orlova. Ava has been brutalized by the same KGB mastermind, Ivan The Strange, as Natasha. They have had so many of the same experiences that Ava feels Natasha could be like a big sister. Natasha saves Ava, but then disappears from her life.
What I loved:I think it was fascinating to learn more about Natasha and how she operates in the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization. I enjoyed the technology and all the cool abilities that Natasha has. I also enjoyed the layers of intrigue that are revealed in the story. I am being deliberately vague about some of this so as to not give anything away. But I will say there are some impressive ways people go undercover in this book!
Another fun aspect of the story is when Tony Stark shows up! Every scene he is in is a delight. He is such a fun character that I couldn't wait to see what Tony does next.
What I didn't love:Some of the premises of the book are based on the overall Big Bad project that Ivan the Strange makes being plausible, and it just isn't. Okay, yes, this is a superhero book, but I wish some of the technology would have been more realistic. Just because a character can access someone's memories does not mean they would have the muscle memory to perform stunts that would take someone years to perfect. While it makes for a fun fantasy (look, I can now do super-spy acrobatics!), it takes us out of the action by how ridiculous it is.
But, if truth be told, I did find this story to be a fun spy thriller. I enjoyed the format: each chapter begins with a transcript of a death investigation. You know by that, alone, someone is not going to make it out alive. This increases the tension throughout the book as the plot is revealed. If you enjoy action, and mystery, you will love Black Widow Forever Red. But, check your sense of reality at the door.
Release Date: October 13, 2015
Source: Bought for myself
Recommendation: For fans of The Avengers and of spy thrillers, this is a winner.
Would I read more from this author? Yes.