How Beauty Met the Beast (Tales of the Underlight #1)
Published: Nov. 19, 2012 (Carina Press)
Reviewed by: Jo
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
Ever thought, you know what Beauty and the Beast would be even better if it had some steampunk, burlesque and a secret societies hell bent on magical power? No? Well, to be fair, that’s a pretty specific wishlist, but if you read that and thought, now that you mention it, hell yeah, then How Beauty Met the Beast needs to go on your to-buy list.
Meet Hauk, ex-army turned radical activist for the Underlight movement. Horrendously scarred by an explosion that wiped out his whole unit, he’s learned to live in the shadows after his dishonorable discharge. When a close call forces him to take sanctuary in Pussy Will-Oh!’s burlesque club, all he’s looking for is a place to lay low for a while. That is until he sees the utterly gorgeous Jolie up on stage.
When Jolie gets off stage from her first performance, she couldn’t be happier. Having turned her back on the trust fund waiting for her and her classical ballet training, she’s finally doing something she loves. It only gets better when a stranger with a delicious voice starts talking to her through the changing room curtain. Her stage high comes to an abrupt end though when she is nearly kidnapped from the Club. Rescued by a beast of a man, covered in burn scars, everything she thought she knew about her old life comes crashing down.
When she finds out that her niece has been kidnapped, Jolie turns to her rescuer for help. As they race against time, Hauk begins to wonder, is there any way that a beauty like Jolie could ever see past his appearance?
At just over 150 pages, How Beauty Met the Beast is short novel but it does a fantastic job of introducing the characters and world. The Underlight movement, campaigning against the abuse of the earth resources, is not only up against the world’s most powerful corporations but also ancient Order of Ananke, the driving force behind them. Determined to live off the radar, they have set up underground camps in cities across the world, and refuse to use technology or electricity. Although this story is quite light on the paranormal side of things, a lot of information is set up for later books, particularly when it comes to Hauk.
If you like you heroes damaged and not ladies’ men then you’re going to love Hauk. Not only is he incredibly conscious of his scars and plagued with self-doubt, he has also been suffering from violent blackouts ever since the fire. I’m calling Berserker (not a spoiler, this is just my guess that this point!), particularly as he worships ancient Norse gods. The banter between him and Jolie is hilarious at times, getting more sexually charged as the action ramps up, but still plenty of issues to work through before there’s a Happily Ever After.
Prepare for UST (Unresolved Sexual Tension) overload in this series opener. The chemistry between Hauk and Jolie is magma hot and when you combine that with the brilliant world building and the story arc set up, this looks like a series to watch out for. Oh and its set just before Christmas, perfect to get you in the holiday mood!
Sexual Content: Steamy scenes of a sexual nature