Review: How Beauty Met The Beast by Jax Garren ★★★★

How Beauty Met The Beast by Jax Garren
Genre: 
Series: Tales of the Underlight #1
Publication Date: November 19, 2012
ISBN: (ASIN) B0092MPT80
Page Count: 104
Rating: ★★★★
Review Copy: ARC  
Reviewed by: Janice
Synopsis: 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?

REVIEW


A Delightful Retelling of Beauty and the Beast

I am a sucker for fairy tale retellings, so when I saw Jax Garren's "How Beauty Met The Beast", with its gorgeous, eye-catching cover, I immediately added it to my To Be Read list.

The "beast" in Garren's tale is Wesley Haukon, aka Hauk. A former soldier who suffered severe injuries and scarring while serving in Afghanistan, he now works for a secret resistance group known as the Underlight, whose mission is to "fight the Enrons of the world through dubiously legal means". Because of Hauk's past, I half-expected the author to play up the tortured hero bit, but no. Hauk is a warm, well-rounded character with a self-deprecating sense of humor and a passionate, loyal heart. He knows what he's lost and what people think when they see him, but instead of moaning about it, or becoming an angry recluse, Hauk does his best to accept the hand fate has dealt him. I thought he was charming, a lovely blend of tough and sweet.

Hauk's leading lady, Jolie, is quite an interesting character as well. When you first meet her at the burlesque club and get to "walk" around inside her head, you may think to yourself, "Pffft, beautiful, rebellious rich girl, no real substance....NEXT!" But Jolie is more than a mere stereotype, and in no way does she prove this more than how she interacts with Hauk. When she gets her first eyeful of Hauk (little does she know she's already met him, but more on that later!) she has the expected "you're so scary!" reaction - because, as you know,  that's an essential part of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale - but rather than run for the nearest hills, she makes a conscious effort to see beyond the scars and into the heart of the man who has rescued her. She befriends him, laughs with him, helps him fight the good fight...well, suffice to say, she earns every bit of Hauk's devotion.

The romance aspect of the story surprised me. With as scorching-hot as Hauk and Jolie's anonymous first meeting was (oh boy, was it ever! I will never look at a sheet the same way again!) I anticipated a lot of steamy sex scenes. Nope! Didn't happen. Garren turned the heat way down and put the physical side of Hauk and Jolie's on the back burner...for now. I hated it and loved it, all at once.

There were only a few minor blips in my reading experience. First and foremost, the Underlight's way of life. I understood rationally why the Underlight eschewed any and all things modern, but I confess, I thought it was a bit of an overkill, and borderline ridiculous. Or maybe I'm just too attached to my gadgets and toys and can't imagine willingly giving them up. That's certainly possible. I also felt the Order of Ananke members were a bit cartoon villain-ish. And lastly, the book was too short! I wanted more and was disappointed to discover I have to wait until 2013 for the next installment!

If you love fairy tale retellings as much as I do, then this book should be right up your alley.

4 Stars ★★★★
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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