Black Widow: Forever Red, Margaret Stohl

“See that moon?” Ivan had said when she was younger. “See that pale peirogi, hanging so low and heavy in the sky it wants to fall back into the boiling pot of salted water on your baba’s stove?” Natasha had nodded, though as an orphan of the war she remembered little about her baba—or for that matter, even her parents. “With a moon like that, your targets can see you as easily as you see them. Not a good night for hunting, or a clean kill. Not a good night for disappearing.”

Sorry I’ve been so absent, book lovers. I’ll save you the dirty details of my apartment troubles and my lack of Christmas preparedness. Just know that I’m back and I missed you.

I actually read Black Widow: Forever Red a few weeks ago, but I’m behind on my reviews. When I first picked it up, I was planning on reading a couple of chapters before going to bed. Instead, I stayed up all night and read the whole thing.

Black Widow Forever RedForever Red is, of course, about Natasha Romanoff, the lethal assassin spy Black Widow. But, like any good YA story, it also features a teenage protagonist: Ava Orlova, who was rescued from her childhood as a Russian military experiment subject by Natasha as a young child and raised in S.H.I.E.L.D. protection. When Ava and Natasha’s paths cross a second time, children all over Eastern Europe are going missing, and there are rumours afoot about the resurfacing of tech from the Red Room, the vicious Soviet training program that made Natasha into the Black Widow. Both Natasha and Ava must dig through parts of their past that they’d rather leave buried.

It’s nice to see Marvel making this move toward featuring some of their amazing female heroes (a Captain Marvel book is also in the works). My favourite thing about Forever Red  is what an intimate exploration it is of Natasha Romanoff, such a complicated and reserved character. It’s also a great look into Ava and Alex Manor, the other main character. I’m a big fan of both YA lit and superhero comics, so it’s perhaps not surprising that I really liked it. Nonetheless, I’d recommend it to almost anyone, especially any young girls you know interested in superheroes. I know I plan to force it into my twelve-year-old cousin’s hands.

XO

Books: 3

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