How Beauty Loved the Beast (Tales of the Underlight #3)
Published: May 13, 2013 (Carina Press)
Purchase at: Amazon
Book provided by publisher for honest review
Reviewed by: Jo
Rating (out of 5): 4.5 stars
With a page count that comes in at double the first installment of this series, How Beauty Loved the Beast has more of everything that has made this such a fun series to read.
Up until this point Hauk, Jolie and the rest of the Underlight movement have been bringing the fight to the Order of Ananke, a powerful secret society controlling the corporate world. After a mysterious substance has been used to inject key Underlight members though, it now appears the threat could be coming from within.
One of the things that had me coming back for more in this series was the crazy sexual tension between burlesque dancer Jolie and ex-army man Hauk. It’s built and built throughout and here we finally get to see if these two can make it to their HEA. That tension definitely gets resolved, as there is plenty of (very) steamy time in How Beauty Loved the Beast, but it soon becomes apparent it’s much more than just sex for these two.
What unfolds is a heart-fluttering, sigh-inducing romance that sees them really have to work through both their separate issues. They have different insecurities; Hauk with his appearance due to his burn scars and Jolie with her fear of being emotionally vulnerable. I loved how, through the progression of their relationship, we see how they’re the perfect people to challenge each other to overcome these. What comes from this is a deep connection and a true sense of the being a loving partnership. Also, watch out for a scene that makes welding hot for a whole new reason!
Hauk and Jolie aren’t just a red hot couple in the bedroom though, with the action-filled plot giving them the chance to shine as a badass fighting team. The tension ramps up with each new attack and distrust weaves throughout the Underlight. It builds to a climax that had me gawping at the pages, shaking my head and racing through to find out what happened in the end.
The longer page count also means we see more worldbuilding and mythology. I loved the direction Jax Garren has taken with the Norse influences, as legends and gods enter the arena. With so much of the action centering around the Underlight we see much more of it’s inner workings and members. It’s a world rich in detail, especially the inventive ways they get around the lack of modern technology. The secondary characters begin to step into the lime light more, setting the scene for later books.
Going from strength to strength with each installment, How Beauty Loved the Beast concludes a fresh, modern and incredibly fun retelling of the Beauty & the Beast fairytale. It mixes compelling characters with a variety of genres, but shining at its center is the touching romance. This maybe the end of Hauk & Jolie as main characters but fingers crossed we’ll see a lot more Tales of the Underlight books in the future!
Sexual content: Graphic sex