Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Review - Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl

First, thanks to Disney Book Group, Marvel Press, and Netgalley for allowing me to read an egalley of this title.  I'm a big fan of the author, Margaret Stohl, and so when I saw she had this book, I was eager to read it.  I'm a fan of the Avengers, especially Captain America.  I don't read the graphic novels/comics, I'm just not a fan of any of those.  So I was interested in reading a story in novel form about one of the heroes, especially one I didn't really know much about, Black Widow.  And I have to say I was pleasantly surprised in how it turned out.

The story  is about the Black Widow, Natasha Romanoff, but even more about a girl named Ava.  The book begins when Natasha saves Ava, who is about 5 years old, from Ivan Somodorov.  Ivan is the man who turned Natasha into the assassin she is now, and he has continued to do the same to other children throughout the years.  Natasha feels she's stopped him, but he is in the middle of some experiment that includes Ava being connected to some kind of machine.  Still the building is burned down, and the assumption is that Ivan is dead. Ava gets sent to be taken care of by S.H.I.E.L.D.  And Natasha, not one for family or friends, keeps her distance, only sending birthday and Christmas gifts, but without cards.  Ava hates life in their custody, and runs away.  She then lives on the street.  Out in the homeless shelters she makes a friend, and together they really get into fencing through the YMCA classes.  When they decide to enter a tournament, things go a little crazy. 

First, there is this boy that Ava has been dreaming about for a long time, so often and so detailed are the dreams that she has drawn portraits of him in her sketchbook.  She knows his name is Alex Manor, and she knows the names of the friends that she sees him with in her dreams.  At the tournament, she sees the boy.  And he sees her.  And there is a connection.  But of course in a book like this, young love isn't going to be easy.  Not when it seems that Ivan isn't really dead, he's back, and he wants Ava, and what he's put in her head.  Natasha shows up to protect her, and ends up getting her and Alex to protect.  But Ava may not need quite as much protecting. Thanks to Ivan she has a special connection to the Black Widow, something that leads to more problems with the other kids that Ivan has also connected to other people. 

The book really reads as if I was watching another Avengers movie.  And I'm saying that as a good thing, because I love the Avengers movies.  Tony Stark is there, and his humor is definitely written into the story.  The humor of the movies is definitely a part of the story, and the characters are all done very well.  The story lived up to what I expect from this author, and I will be recommending it not only to my students, but to a friend of mine who is also a huge Avengers fan.