Book review: Margaret Stohl's 'Black Widow: Red Vengeance' continues the story of the Russian spy turned Avenger

Posted October 11

"BLACK WIDOW: Red Vengeance," by Margaret Stohl, Marvel, $17.99, 416 pages (f) (ages 12 and up)

Natasha Romanoff, one of the world-famous Avengers, is known for her cold, calculating nature. But ever since she and her protégé, Ava Orlova, became inseparably connected, she’s had difficulty keeping her emotions from compromising her missions. She now cares and loves more than she ever has before, and keeping Ava safe is paramount for her in “Black Widow: Red Vengeance.”

Although she’s attempted to protect Ava, albeit while enrolling her in an elite training facility, Natasha can’t help but invite her along on dangerous missions across the globe. True, Ava is still only a teenager, but she’s also the only one who understands the need to rid the world of the megalomaniac who has taken Ivan Somodorov’s place. Also, Ava’s new powers have enabled to her to fight many of her own battles, granting her the nickname the Red Widow. But these two widows must face an even greater challenge as they seek to keep not only the entire world safe but also the lives and sanity of their friends as well.

This second volume in Margaret Stohl’s Black Widow series is as action-packed as the first book and continues the plot introduced there. However, this volume puts a new slant on the woman who, before, was portrayed as merely a cold-hearted, pre-programmed mercenary. Beginning with a lot of skirmishes, it isn’t until the middle of the book, when the human interactions and relationships take center stage, that Stohl really hits her stride. In “Black Widow: Red Vengeance,” Stohl does a better job merging action with feeling, making this novel one that can connect to readers’ emotions, as well as their adrenalin.

“Black Widow: Red Vengeance,” has a lot of action-hero type violence but nothing overtly grisly. There is no romance, and although the book is free of English profanities, it does contain instances of Russian profanities.

Elizabeth Reid has bachelor's degrees in economics and history. She has worked in retail, medical billing, catering, education and business fields. Her favorite occupation is that of wife and mother. She blogs at


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