ARC Review: Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl

ARC Review: Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl
Black Widow: Forever Red
by Margaret Stohl

Genres: Action, Thriller, Young Adult
Publication date: October 13th, 2015
by Marvel Press

Format: ARC


Amazon | Book Depository

Enter the world of the Avengers' iconic master spy

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.

Until now.

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. . . .

Black Widow:Forever Red features all the heart-pounding adventure readers expect from Marvel, written by #1 New York Times best-selling author Margaret Stohl. Uncover a new side of the Marvel Universe that will thrill loyal fans and newcomers alike, as Stohl reveals the untold story of Black Widow for the very first time.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

I actually didn’t start watching marvel movies until earlier this year. I know. I am a disgrace. I just didn’t know what I was missing out on, guys.  One thing I have always been aware of is that there is not nearly enough of Black Widow out there. She is an important character in the Marvel universe yet the movies continue to cast her as a secondary character and don’t show her in all of her glory. This is why when I heard about this book, I was super excited. Sadly though, this book made her share all the awesomeness with a bunch of other characters and because I am partial to Black Widow, I really did NOT want to read the other POVs. It’s not that they were badly written or that the other characters were badly developed, I just wanted more Black Widow.

In fact, there needed to be a WHOLE lot more Black Widow in this book, in my opinion. Black Widow is a ‘main character’ but really this story focuses on two kids called Alex and Ava. It’s more about Black Widow’s relationship with them and the adventure-y things that happen.What I really wanted was a book about a young Black Widow rather than about the teenager Black Widow rescued 8 years ago and a guy who is somehow connected to this mess.

This book does feature some diversity (a couple of the secondary characters are persons of color) but not enough to get me excited.  Other things this book features includes good friendships. Both Alex and Ava have fantastic friends they can rely on but once their adventure starts, these friends get forgotten and left behind. SADDNESS, yet again.

So did this book actually do anything for me, you ask? It did. The action/adventure bits are FANTASTICALLY written. This book will get draw you in and take you on a fantastic, action packed adventure. In fact, if this book were a movie, I would have absolutely LOVED it. We even get to see a certain Mr. Stark in the book and I couldn’t help but picture Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man is my fav so I was super excited about this.) I loved the use of fancy gadgets and I loved how badass all the characters were. I loved watching them fail and them rise up again and form a plan to take down a bunch of assholes.

After finishing the book, I was curious and looked up what Black Widow’s story arc to see how much the book stuck to her story and I found out that the book doesn’t necessarily follow everything that happened in the comics but there are several things and names that are similar. If you’re a fan of the comics and are afraid because you’re worried the book might butcher one of your favorite characters, I’d still say to give the book a chance.

One of my biggest problem with this book was the romance. Ava has been dreaming about Alex for a while and when they meet, she recognizes him. He on the other hand has no idea who she is and based on one interaction (where Ava basically asks if he recognizes her, which he doesn’t) he decides that he is going to risk his life to help her out. He leaves his family and friends behind, gets shot at, leaves the country and does a whole lot of other things for a girl he JUST met. He doesn’t have the excuse of having been dreaming about her. What he has is (or what he says he has) is a ‘connection’ with this girl. I don’t think anything in the world could ever make me not see that as insta-love. And yes, they do fall in love as well. Only a couple days later. If that’s not insta-love, someone better sit me down and tell me what is.

There is also the matter of the ending which I didn’t like. It’s not that it ruined the book for me or anything. It’s just that I can think of so many other ways that things could have turned out. The ending just didn’t feel right to me.

With all the things that didn’t work for me, you might be wonder whether or not I actually liked the book and the answer to that is, I DID. There may not be enough of Black Widow but there is still a lot of her and her character was fantastically written. I may not have cared for the teens, but that’s okay too because the book was addictive. I DIDN’T CARE THAT I DIDN’T CARE. I was too engrossed in all the other things that were going on. This is a fast paced, addicting read that is super hard to put down and will have you flipping the pages like crazy. I had my issues but I still think the book was worth my time and I would recommend it to anyone looking for an action oriented book!

Rating Report
Overall: 3.3
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Rashika is a mysterious creature who likes to hide in the shadows. It's impossible to get to know her but if you must know, she is a huge bookworm. She also happens to have a huge sweet tooth so you can always lure her over the dark side by offering her something sweet (or bribing her with books).


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  1. says

    Girl don’t even feel bad because I’ve never been an overly huge fan of Marvel. (I no like action and fighting and stuff) so don’t feel bad. But even still, Black Wido seems like a very worth while character to read about. :) I’m loving the adventure and stuff in this book. Maybe they’ll make a movie showcasing just Black Widow one day. (Oh, and….ehhh.. am I the only one here that thinks of the song Black Widow by Iggy Azalea when yiu read the title of the book?) Baha
    [email protected] Hearts Books recently posted…Discussion #16: ^^ Why You No Say How You REALLY Feel Though?My Profile

  2. says

    I’ve been so excited for this ever since I heard it was being released!! I completely understand what your saying when there multiple POVs and you just want more of your favourite character (I’m actually currently reading a book where that’s happening to me). It sounds like you kind of had mixed feelings about this book, I hope I like it! Great review :)
    Amy @ Book Enthral recently posted…Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer // Kickass Action & Awesome CharactersMy Profile

  3. says

    I’d LOVE to read about Black Widow. I remember when I first saw this book I almost squealed, haha. She’s just the best! But boo hiss at the fact that this focuses more on side characters. Still, I will give this a try, I’m not a super fan of comics, but again, Black. Widow. Enough said. Great review!
    Vane J. recently posted…I am the age of your typical NA heroine!My Profile

  4. says

    Yeah… I still haven’t watched a Marvel movie ;) You’re fine. I think this book would not work for me. I do not like insta-love (who does, and why is it still a thing?!) and I guess I just don’t know that this is the type of book I’d like. I don’t really need a TON of action in my books, and while I am glad this one does action so well, I don’t think it’d be enough to make up for all the things I wouldn’t enjoy. Glad to hear that you did like it though! And your review was super helpful- I wasn’t sure if this would be for me, but the way you broke it down made me realize that my concerns were quite on point!
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight recently posted…This Week At Midnight (79)My Profile

  5. says

    I want to read this one so bad. I’m a bit meh about the author because Icons wasn’t a fave and dragged a bit so glad to see that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Multiple POV’s are a bummer considering how awesome it is to have a Black Widow book but fingers crossed it’ll be a winner anyway! Lovely review, Rashika!
    Danielle recently posted…The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne | ReviewMy Profile

  6. says

    Why the heck does a book supposed to be about freaking Black Widow, a severely underrated Marvel superheroine have to have other darn character POVs?! That makes me mad and sad. I wanted this to be all about her! The romance would irritate me too I think. I guess I’m just gonna stick with the movies.
    Great review, Rashika!

    P.S Also, YES, you are a disgrace! You only started watching them this year! Why are we even friends? *shakes head*
    Nick @ Nick’s Book Blog recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (131) : Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider & Summer of Supernovas by Darcy WoodsMy Profile

  7. says

    I’m so glad that you were honest about this book because I’ve been seeing soooo many raving reviews for it. I’m not going to lie and say that I don’t want to still pick it up, but I do wish we received more Black Widow, since we were led to believe that’s what the book would be centered around. & I agree, there’s not enough of her own story where she gets to shine, so I was hoping this book was that opportunity. * sigh * YAY to characters of color though!
    Tika recently posted…Dream Things True DNF Review — TBBA Termination LetterMy Profile