At the beginning of last year, I fell into the Marvel fandom. I watched all of the movies, read a lot of comics and basically, I was hooked. I even tried out some of their ‘written’ novels, though that wasn’t a big success. That is until I found out that there was going to be a YA novel surrounding Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow. Forever Red was released last year, in hardcover, and I spent a long time waiting for its paperback release, which I believe was a couple of months ago.
Black Widow: Forever Red tells the story of Ava Orlova. Ava has been living in America for the past eight years, after being rescued from a warehouse in Odessa by the infamous Black Widow. Ava is now trying to be a ‘normal’ teenager, who lives in the basement of the local YWCA and practices fencing in her spare time. During a tournament, she comes across Alex Manor, who she has been dreaming about for months now. Then, Black Widow appears again to rescue her from the same danger that she was in eight years prior.
I prefer reading Young Adult books because most of them are just so easy to get into. So when I heard this book would be a YA novel, I was intrigued. The fact that it would feature Black Widow was even better! I picked up the book as soon as I got my hands on a copy, and I can tell you that I finished it within two days!
While the book is titled Black Widow, I did feel like Natasha wasn’t the main character of the story. The main character, imo, was Ava. Natasha did have her own POV and the interviews in between the chapters were with her, but other than that she didn’t have the main part of this story. Still, I enjoyed reading this book, reading about how Natasha kicked ass while dragging the two teens along. The multiple POV didn’t bother me as much as it normally would have, partly because it was written from a third person narrative.
Ava and Alex were nice characters too, but I just didn’t really feel much for them. Maybe it’s because they’re not Marvel official characters (I kind of see this as fanfiction to be honest, though it’s a lot better than the previous ‘fanfiction’ book that I read ;)), but I just didn’t like them as much as I probably should have done. Ava honestly felt like a younger copy of Natasha, and to me, it felt like Alex was just there for the romance [spoiler]until the second part of the book where we found out he was actually Natasha’s brother. Hadn’t seen that coming.[/spoiler] I did not feel the romance at all, it kind of felt like a repeat of the one from Beautiful Creatures (the other book I know Margaret Stohl of) [spoiler]I mean the whole ‘I have been dreaming about you and I drew you in my notebook a thousand times part’? Totally Ethan Wade-ish.[/spoiler]
[spoiler]Alex’s death was probably necessary or something, but honestly, I didn’t like it. I had seen it coming the moment he told Ava he’d cover her, and I wasn’t shocked or sad at all. Then again, no one really stays dead in the Marvel universe. Except for Uncle Ben. And Pietro Maximoff. Which brings me to another thing that bothered me. I guess this novel happens somewhere after the events of The Avengers, otherwise, they wouldn’t have been mentioned at all – so how the hell is Coulson even involved? Coulson is supposed to be ‘dead’, the Avengers are supposed to think Coulson is dead. That is one of the reasons I kind of think as this book as fanfiction, to be honest, not actual Marvel canon.[/spoiler]
My favourite parts by far were the ones that involved Tony Stark because I just love Tony and I love Robert Downey Jr. and gosh I really wish someone would write a YA novel about Tony Stark *looks up hopefully to the Marvel gods*. I really loved Tony’s friendship with Natasha and the fact that Pepper was mentioned as well (and Pepper buying souvenirs for Natasha from her trips, ahhhhh). I do wish we’d had a mention of Natasha’s actual best friend, Clint Barton aka Hawkeye – because there was literally nothing. Rogers was mentioned, Thor was mentioned, Bruce Banner was mentioned – but nothing about Natasha Romanoff’s best friend. The guy who was supposed to kill her but decided to let her live. Yeah, bummer.
But yes, I did really enjoy Black Widow: Forever Red. And one day I might perhaps even manage to write ‘widow’ correct in one go (the amount of times I had to retype the word in this review alone is ridiculous). I do hope that there’ll be more YA novels after this one, and I think I will pick up the sequel to this book, Red Vengeance. If you love Marvel and you love YA books, I recommend you pick up this book.
My opinion in one gif: