The Beast...Scarred. Damaged. Living with a terrible secret. Agent of the Underlight Wesley "Hauk" Haukon has nothing left but the fight for liberty against the oppressive Order of Ananke. He's starting to lose hope…and then he sees her.
The Beauty...Despite her night job as a burlesque dancer, grad student Jolie Benoit has always played the mostly good girl. That all changes following a scorching sexual encounter with a stranger whose face she doesn't see. After she's kidnapped by thugs and rescued by a man with a very familiar voice, Jolie becomes a pawn in a struggle she never knew existed.
Hauk knows he cannot have her, and resolves to protect his heart and his secrets. But as they work together and grow closer, he finds new reason to keep fighting. Dare he risk hope in a new life, one where Jolie can see past his ravaged face and where their friendship can grow into something more?
One of my favorite fairy tales is Beauty and the Beast so it should come as no surprise that I actively seek out romance retellings of this awesome story. That is why my interest was peaked by Jax Garren's debut urban fantasy/steampunk romance. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It takes the classic fairy tale and gives it a supernatural twist while keeping the spirit of the original. The characters are fascinating, the love story is swoon-worthy, and the plot kept me flipping pages all night.
How Beauty Met the Beast takes place in a alternate futuristic United States where corporations control almost every aspect of life. There are also rumors of some of the heads of these businesses making deals with supernatural forces in order to keep their power. This series focuses on an underground world known as the Underlight which is devoted to fighting against the corporations and trying to get the country back on its feet.
Our "Beast" is Wesley "Hauk" Haukon who was badly scarred in a military accident and acts as a bodyguard for various members of the Underlight. I fell absolutely in love with this man. While his appearance may be frightening, his personality is sweet and caring without being a pushover. He takes his scars in stride and even makes jokes about them which I found refreshing. I love tortured heroes, but it is nice to see one that isn't spending all their time brooding about their situation.
Jolie is the "Beauty" and she is a graduate student who is moonlighting as a burlesque dancer. Her family is one of the most prominent in Austin society, but she has begun doubting their beliefs and politics. I really liked Jolie as the heroine. She was beautiful (as the role requires), but is much more beneath the surface. Her intelligence is very refreshing to read about as is her devotion to her family and friends.
The love story between Jolie and Hauk is very sweet and slow-moving...compared to alot of paranormal romances. They have one spicy scene together, but it is early on and mostly acts as an example of the chemistry between them. I will warn potential readers that this is the first in a trilogy (I believe) so the romance is not resolved by the end. Most of romantic storyline deals with these two getting to know each other and developing a friendship that has definite potential for more.
How Beauty Met the Beast is full of action and suspense. Most of this first book involves Hauk and Jolie searching for her kidnapped niece. It provides a great introduction to this world and the dangers that the Order of Ananke are bringing to the United States. There are many twists and turns (despite the limited page length) that really kept me interested. I am very anxious to see what happens next especially with Hauk and Jolie's relationship.
I highly recommend fans of fairy tale retellings and steampunk romance check out How Beauty Met the Beast when it comes out in November. It is a shorter story, but packs alot of punch. Plus the price seems fairly reasonable at $1.99! You won't regret meeting Hauk and Jolie!
**THANKS TO NETGALLEY AND CARINA PRESS FOR PROVIDING ME WITH A FREE E-ARC IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW.**
Tales of the Underlight
1. How Beauty Met the Beast (November 19, 2012)
2. How Beauty Saved the Beast (April 2013)
Downside Ghosts series by Stacia Kane
Lover Awakened by JR Ward
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