Review: Black Widow Forever Red by Margaret Stohl

Featured imageYou would think that this novel about the Black Widow would be about you know, the Black Widow. But it’s really not.  Natasha Romanoff has to share the lime light with two other characters.  I mean, the girl can’t ever catch a break.  First she gets shut out of all the promotional toys and now she can’t even be the main character in her own YA novel.  What does a super agent girl got to do to get some respect?  Ok, maybe I’m going a little overboard since she is still a major part of the story but she has to share the narrative with two new characters.  Ava, another prodigy of the Red Room that Natasha saves in one of her missions and Alex, who at first doesn’t seem at all connected to either lady but of course he is deeply connected to both of them.  We also get a little more insight into Natasha in between chapters, as we read transcripts from a hearing about how the mission we are reading about went bad.  Right away you know that one of them is not going to make it. 

I guess we do get some insights into Natasha.  A little bit into her background but really not that much.  We see that despite the rough exterior she is lonely.  She has learned that the easiest way to avoid pain is not to make many connections.  For one, this accounts for her steely work ethic.  She has no distractions but she’s not a machine.  When a mission puts her up against her former Red Room “father” things get complicated.  She rescues a young girl, a little mini-me and thinks she kills the man who tortured her as a child.  Of course not.  That would be too simple.  Ava, an orphan like Natasha, is given over to S.H.I.E.L.D. and they may be the good guys but they are not perfect.  Ava escapes their custody and finds herself living in shelters in Brooklyn.  She keeps having these dreams about this boy.  We know that they are not just dreams but she is actually seeing Alex. How is this possible?  It all starts to come together when they all meet at a fencing tournament in Philadelphia and it sends them on a mission that sets Natasha and Ava against their old foe and Alex on how he fits in all of this.  Oh and there are national security issues, too.

I’m not sure how this all fits in with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, if it does at all.  If it does, it has to be after the first Avengers movie since the world is well aware of them but then again there are some characters who make appearances here that are no longer in the MCU, at least not that the Avengers know of.  (Hello, Coulson!) I’ve actually haven’t read any of the Black Widow comics so I’m not sure where this fits in there either.  I guess it really doesn’t matter either.  It was a good read.  A very fast read, as I read in four days and only on the train to and from work.  I just wished there was more Black Widow in this Black Widow novel.

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