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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

REVIEW: Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl

Disclaimer: I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a review

Expected publication: October 13, 2015

Black Widow: Forever Red is a Marvel YA novel featuring readers' favorite former Russian spy turned Avenger, Natasha Romanov.  On one of her first S.H.I.E.L.D. assignments, Natasha is sent to eliminate the man who ruined her life.  However, a turn of events leads to more than she bargained for with a little girl named Ava, with whom she feels a kinship.  Having both been manipulated and separated from their families, Natasha promises to heed Ava's call if she ever needs her.

Eight years later...

Ava, now seventeen, hasn't had the ideal life.  Despite S.H.I.E.L.D.'s promises, her time with them was little more than as a constantly observed prisoner.  Now a runaway, barely scraping by in New York, she harbors a distinct bitterness toward Natasha because she never answered Ava's calls for help.  Combating this rage are Ava's powerfully vivid dreams featuring a handsome young man named Alex.  The lives of Natasha, Ava, and Alex in an unexpected series of events that will have readers on the edge of their seats.

What I liked...

  • Margaret Stohl is a seasoned, bestselling YA author.  Having co-written the Beautiful Creatures series with Kami Garcia and authored her own dystopian series, Icons and Idols, Stohl's writing is energetic and captivating. She does justice to this beloved character, perhaps more so than Natasha has been given in recent film adaptations.
  • The general story. There are plenty of great twists and turns that will keep readers interested. 
  • Agent. Coulson.

What I didn't like...

  • The pacing.  Sometimes it felt like the story lagged. I attribute this in part to the formatting. I didn't much care for the POV shifts. These made it harder for me to really get into the story.  I had to really push through the middle section of the novel. However, the last third was pretty dynamic.
I recommend this for multiple audiences.  Readers of any age who are fans of Marvel characters will appreciate this novel. There is great depth of character and a pretty bittersweet ending. Those who are not necessarily Marvel fans will like this too because of the adventure and plot.  There is a tinge of romance, great action, and some truly kick-butt protagonists. Stohl's reverence and enthusiasm at being tapped to helm this creation are evident and add to the reader's overall enjoyment.

If you are buying for a library collection, definitely add this!

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

#review #netgalley #YAlit #Marvel #blackwidow #margaretstohl