Jolie Benoit left her old life behind to become an agent of the Underlight. Training under Sergeant Wesley Haukon, she’s honing her combat skills, all the while coping with the intense sexual attraction she feels for Hauk. She keeps their friendship casual, but when his high school sweetheart transfers into their division, Jolie finds herself grappling with jealousy.
The Underlight gave Hauk a purpose, but he can’t escape his past completely. The physical and emotional scars from the fire that killed seven fellow Army Rangers will mark him forever. Jolie sends his protective instincts into overdrive, but he’s convinced he’ll never be worthy of her love.
Hauk is determined to keep Jolie from harm. But when the Order of Ananke ambushes them with a new weapon that neutralizes Hauk, making him vulnerable, it’s Jolie who must tap into her hidden strengths to rescue him—or risk losing him forever.
I first met and fell in love with the story of burlesque dancer Jolie and scarred warrior Hauk in Garren's How Beauty Met the Beast. Beauty and the Beast retellings are one of my favorites and the steampunk/urban fantasy setting is just icing on the cake. But, by the end of the first installment, it became obvious that Hauk and Jolie's romance was going to take more than just one book so I was really excited to read the sequel, How Beauty Saved the Beast.
The main reason that I am obsessed with this series is Hauk. I love tortured heroes and he is a great example of that. What I find especially intriguing about him is that he tries not to let his scars and past define him. He does have moments of self-loathing, but they are not as frequent as with many other tortured heroes I've read over the years. Jolie continues to a fascinating heroine and I love how hard she has fallen for Hauk despite his outward appearance. This book really shows how she has been acclimating to the world of the Underlight and proves that she has some real value to the group.
The romance between Hauk and Jolie takes some major steps in this book. At the end of the first book, readers see both of them acknowledge their feelings (to themselves) so it was expected that alot of this story would involve them circling around each other. I liked how Garren portrayed both characters with being unsure about whether their feelings were reciprocated rather than just one of them. A big plot of this book involves a woman from Hauk's past reappearing and throwing a wrench into the growing relationship. While I am not always a fan of this literary device, I was able to appreciate how the author used it to force Hauk and Jolie to get closer.
The worldbuilding of this series is really fascinating to me. I'm two books in and I'm not sure what is really going on. There are hints of steampunk and supernatural, but everything still seems to be shrouded in mystery. I'm not sure if this is intentional or not, but I'm willing to wait for the conclusion before passing judgment.
I continue to enjoy this series and its unique take on one of my favorite fairy tales. Hauk and Jolie are both intriguing characters and I can't wait to see how things work out for them in the final book.
Thanks to Netgalley and Carina Press for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Tales of the Underlight
1. How Beauty Met the Beast
2. How Beauty Saved the Beast
3. How Beauty Loved the Beast
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