A girl in a corset plus train tracks and a weird electric light? Sounds like steampunk to me. How Beauty Met the Beast by Jax Garren proves the old adage however, to ‘never judge a book by its cover’. And even though How Beauty Met the Beast isn’t steampunk, I still had fun reading it.
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.
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?
I really liked Jolie and I think it’s because I related to her so much. I think if I ever decided to give up the “good girl” life I would want to be like her. She is just fun. I love that she takes risks but is still shocked at some of the things she does. It’s a funny combination. As for the hero, Hauk is fantastic. He is not your typical hero and he knows it. Hauk is scarred, tattooed and pierced. Most people (including Jolie) think he looks terrifying. His looks are the main reason he doesn’t see himself as a hero. And when you put Jolie and Hauk together… Well saying “sparks fly” puts it mildly.
The plot was surprisingly involved considering how short the book is. It started off fast and stayed that way. A motorcycle chase followed by a scorching meeting between our heroes and an attempted kidnapping evolves into an intricate plot of good vs. evil with some confusion on who is on what side. I was so caught up in the story that I had the whole thing finished in just a couple of hours. I only had one complaint; I wish How Beauty Met the Beast had been longer and the plot more intricate. I would have loved to see the inner workings of the Underlight and more interactions between Jolie and Hauk. The plot was involved but it could have been so much more.
The setting was interesting, especially the world of the Underlight. The Underlight is the home base for the good guys and they have their own version of technology. They don’t use electricity and found other ways to make their lives easier. Example, instead of texting, they have typewriters that send messages through metal tubes that connects the whole Underlight. Again it would have been great if the author had spent more time building the setting up. The Underlight is why I was duped into thinking this was steampunk by the way. The truth is that the Underlight is the only steampunk in this book. Everything else about the world in How Beauty Met the Beast is the same as in our world. No one really believes in magic and there are no crazy inventions that changed how the world developed. So basically How Beauty Met the Beast is urban fantasy with a little bit of steampunk thrown in.
An entertaining and fast paced plot with a scarred hero and a rebellious heroine kept me hooked. The unique setting was fun to read about and the villains were scary enough to give the story the energy it needed. If you want a short, easy read with lots of romantic tension and a hint of fantasy then you need to purchase How Beauty Met the Beast.
How Beauty Met the Beast
How Beauty Saved the Beast (February 11, 2013)