Monday, May 13, 2013

REVIEW: "How Beauty Loved the Beast" by Jax Garren

How Beauty Loved the Beast (Tales of the Underlight, #3)
How Beauty Loved the Beast by Jax Garren
(Tales of the Underlight #3)

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For Ages 18+
Urban Fantasy/Steampunk
Carina Press -- May 13, 2013
Ebook, 292 pages
E-ARC received from Netgalley

It’s all been leading to this.

Jolie Benoit has become a skilled agent of the Underlight, relying on her savvy to complete assignments while Sergeant Wesley Haukon was out of commission. But an unexpected clue to the Order of Ananke’s diabolical scheme rattles Jolie, and she turns to Hauk for comfort.

It’s been years since Hauk took comfort from the touch of another person, though his love for Jolie is deep and powerful. Uncomfortable in his skin, scarred by a terrible fire, he is unable to give in to the pleasures that Jolie so desperately wants to grant him.

Meanwhile, the Order is lurking in the shadows—and when they strike, the blow is swift and terrible. Hauk and Jolie scramble to fight for their community, but with the future of the Underlight threatened, no one is safe. And Hauk will never be the same…

Grant Barrett wrinkled his nose as he shoved the pretty little redhead down the hallway toward his office.


**I received a free e-copy of this book from Carina Press and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

**Warning!  This review will contain spoilers for earlier books in the Tales of the Underlight trilogy.

Well, this one sealed it!  Jax Garren is definitely an author I will be keeping my eye on for years to come and her Tales of the Underlight series is one I will return to when I need a sexy, intriguing fairy tale.  While this one was far from perfect, I found it to be highly entertaining and addicting.

The last time we saw burlesque dancer Jolie and anarchist Hauk, they were still dancing around the chemistry between them and establishing a solid friendship.  Jolie also started learning more about the Underlight's mission and how they were trying to take down the corrupt Order of Ananke.  Most importantly, readers discovered more about the night Hauk was scarred and how it related back to the Order.  At the very end, Hauk was injured by the Order and put out of commission.  Now, he and Jolie must figure out how to finish off the Order for good and decide where to go next in their relationship.

My favorite aspect of this series is the evolution of Jolie and Hauk, both as individual characters and as a couple.  When we first met them in How Beauty Met the Beast, they were still trying to figure out their place in the world despite the fact that they came from such different backgrounds.  Now, by the third installment, both of them have matured and know exactly what they want out of life which includes each other.  Their relationship truly takes off in this book and it was as wonderful as I was hoping it would be.

One of the weakest parts of the trilogy has been the world building and identity.  Its almost like the story couldn't decide if it wanted to be steampunk, science fiction, urban fantasy, or paranormal fiction.  But, I think Jax Garren did a much better job this time explaining how certain aspects of the supernatural worked and how they connected to one another.

With this being the conclusion to the trilogy, it makes sense that readers would see a type of resolution when it comes to the Order and their determination to take over the world.  This is the only aspect of the series that I had trouble with.   I think the idea of the Order of Ananke is fascinating, but I don't think it was ever explained enough for me to really feel like they were a threat.  I like my villains to be very well-developed and I think much more could have been done.

I can't really say much more about this book without spoiling it for future readers, but I can't finish the review without commenting on the ending.  It was wonderfully written, emotionally draining, and very unexpected.  Jax Garren set out to write a dark fairy tale and I think she accomplished her goal.

***4.5 STARS***

But in the end, it didn't matter how or why, just that she was here and she was happy.  So he did what he'd been dying to do for two weeks.  He kissed her.  Jolie squeezed him tighter as she kissed him back fiercely.  He didn't know what he'd been thinking earlier. Today was a kick-ass day. (pg. 335 of 3825)

1. How Beauty Met the Beast
2. How Beauty Saved the Beast
3. How Beauty Loved the Beast


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