Black Widow: Forever Red

Black Widow: Forever Red (Black Widow, #1)Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publisher: Marvel Press
Series: Black Widow, Marvel Prose
Genre: Sci-fi, YA
Purchase: Book Depository

This review contains no spoilers.

One of my friends  was really, really unhappy that I bought this, apparently he’s heard nothing but bad things about this. However, two of my other friends were ecstatic and begged me to lend it to them as soon as I finished.

I’ll start by addressing the thing that my friend (the one that didn’t want me to read it) was so disgusted by: insta-love. Yes there’s a love story, and maybe you could qualify it as ‘insta-love’ but, at the same time, there’s mind control and weird stuff like that going on. Like how there’s technically incest in the Silmarillion, but there’s magic, amnesia, and a dragon involved. Unlike in the Silmarillion it was a rather sweet love story and I kind of ship it.

The style of the book is pretty unique. The chapters are interspersed with excerpts of Natasha being interviewed by SHIELD, which can help keep the story going and sometimes clear up stuff that wasn’t explained in the book (because its not always her POV, this is our best look into why she did some of what she did). Of course, because its her, she doesn’t always tell all, which is what makes her POV so much fun.

There are a lot of laughs and jokes, in classic Marvel fashion. Even when it seems like the world is about to end someone (usually Tony or Natasha) has something funny to say.

There’s a bit of sci-fi mumbo-jumbo, but nothing that I wasn’t able to figure out. It’s all explained when it needs to be (and some of it doesn’t need explaining, because it’s Tony Stark and you’re not supposed to get it).


Black Widow: Of course it has to involve Black Widow, she’s the titular character. She showed up at the very beginning, then was absent for a while, then she came back about a quarter of the way through and was there to stay. Because this deals a lot with her history – including explaining the Red Room where she was trained – there’s a lot of interesting looks into who she is and why she is how she is. Fair warning: you’ll cry.

Iron Man: Tony was in it for a while, and he was amazing while he was there. Pure Tony Stark, you’ll love his scenes.

Ava: Other than Black Widow, she is about the main character. She was once held captive by and experimented on by the same man who made Black Widow what she is.

Alex: A poor, random teen that gets drug into the insanity of SHIELD. He also happens to be a major fan of the Avengers, making me think of Po in Kung Fu Panda and how obsessed he was with the Furious Five.

Red Widow: You read that right. This book introduces a new superhero who has also has just been debuted in the comics, who is known as The Red Widow. I won’t tell you any more about her for fear of spoiling the series. I really love her, and I hope you do too.

The Avengers: The rest of the Avengers are referenced pretty often, and are the brunt of a few jokes, but not much other than that.

Reading Progress & Updates

  • 04/16
    • marked as: currently-reading
    • page 95 23.0%
      • Where is Black Widow? I wanted a book about Black Widow, not two random teens having dreams about each other. Okay, they’re not that random, but still!!!
    • page 96 23.0%
      • I take the time to complain about Black Widow not being there and she shows up on the next page of course. Fate.
    • page 102 25.0%
      • Natasha you totally deserved that 100%. You go Ava.
    • page 103 25.0%
      • Anyone know why Natasha’s file says “see Steve Rodgers and James Barnes” when her birthday is mentioned? Is this a reference to Age of Ultron or Winter Soldier, because I still haven’t seen those.
      • Since I made that comment I have seen both of those movies and I still don’t get it.
    • page 105 26.0%
      • Sometimes I forget how much I love Natasha’s sense of humor. Then she calls someone a ‘junior Avenger puppy’
    • page 115 28.0%
      • “How many guns can one person keep in their pants?”
      • If your name is Natasha Romanov: a lot.
    • page 134 33.0%
      • So in-universe she gets invited to movie premieres, Valentino sends her clothes, she’s the top of Time’s 100 Women Who Rule (and thinks there should be more than 100) and goes bowling at the White House and Marvel still won’t given her a movie in our universe? Ugh.
  • 04/18
    • page 170 42.0%
      • “Star Quantum Detangler…. Stark Quantum Hypnotic Rectangular… Stark Quantum Hypnotic Regulator…. Stark Quantum Rapid Eye Movement Stimulator….. Stark Quantum Ultrasound Scanner.. Basically, if Tony could put the words ‘Stark’ or ‘Quantum’ in front of it, he was game.”
      • I feel like this quote really sums up the insane genius that is Tony Stark.
  • 04/21
    • page 206 51.0%
  • 04/28
    • page 223 55.0%
      • According to Pepper, Tony is still a teenager.
      • I think Pepper is right.
    • marked as: read


I’d recommend this to any Marvel fan, be they a fan of the comics or the movies. I feel like it’s geared for comic fans and follows some of that lore (the author herself says so in her notes at the back of the book), however there was nothing that I, as someone who has never read the comics, didn’t understand. This book is a whirl-wind of emotions, both good and bad, and there are times you’ll go from laughing to crying in a matter of seconds.

If you’re going to read the book, you have to read the author’s notes, they’re actually really funny. This is, in case you don’t know, by Margaret Stohl, the author of the very popular Beautiful Creatures series. I loved her writing style so much I’ve placed that on hold at the library.


9 thoughts on “Black Widow: Forever Red

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