Review: A Forest of Vanity and Valor by A.P. Beswick

Published by


Book cover: A Forest of Vanity and Valour

What it’s about

This is a Robin Hood retelling, and I loved how the main character who represents Robin Hood grows into the role. He doesn’t start as a good man, instead he starts as a persistent tax collector. Then both our Robin Hood, who is named Vireo, and the man who will become his enemy are broken by the same woman. The woman was the man’s wife, having an affair with Vireo. Due to events unfolding, Vireo is exiled and he and his two friends run to a forest said to be too dangerous for anyone to survive. As events unfold, Vireo and his ideas are challenged, and he realizes how his actions affected the people of the city. 

Characters, Setting, & Plot

I enjoyed seeing the characters grow; well the good characters anyway like Vireo and his friends. The bad guy didn’t really grow. I’d argue the opposite. I think he regressed. He went from a seemingly caring individual, to an obnoxious person who doesn’t care even a little about anyone else.

The setting was in the city and this unsurvivable forest. Vireo goes into the city at one point later in the story and is sneaking around through secret doors, and trying to avoid the soldiers. This gave an element of suspense to the story as we wondered if he was going to be successful sneaking around. The forest wasn’t as scary, other than the possibility of a good fight with whatever creatures lurk around making it unsurvivable. Since our main character who is to become Robin Hood was in this forest though, we knew things would likely never get that bad while in the forest because the good guys must survive.

My understanding of this series is the next book brings in another legendary character and is a different retelling. From the hints on the author’s Instagram, I don’t believe the legendary characters get together until many books later. I find myself wanting more to see how the cliffhanger plays out, but worried about how long I may have to wait for things to come together somehow. Without knowing whatever plans the author has for the rest of the series, I feel this story falls short, and I want more. The ending was a bit sudden, but does have an interesting twist of events.


Overall, I give this 3.75 stars out of 5. I felt we got a nice build-up, but then the ending with the twist came so suddenly I didn’t realize it was over until it was over. With this being a series, but with the next 4 or 5 books out and knowing each covers a different character, I’m not sure I’ll continue. While I want more with these characters, I don’t know how much more, or how many other characters I will need to make it through before we continue this story I’ve now been hooked with. I find myself feeling a little let down, being hooked on a Robin Hood retelling, but now to continue the series I need to switch to a different retelling in order to continue the story.