Review: How Beauty Met the Beast by Jax Garren

How Beauty Met the Beast by Jax Garren How Beauty Met the Beast is supposed to be a retold version of Beauty and the Beast steampunk, urban fantasy style. While I agree to the urban fantasy, I wouldn’t exactly say this is steampunk. While reading the blurb the word burlesque and the phrase ” scorching sexual encounter with a stranger whose face she doesn’t see” caught my eye. Hey, I’m always up for fancy, beautiful strippers having scorching, anonymous encounters with scarred beastly men. Who isn’t?

Jolie Benoit is a burlesque dancer and grad student trying to escape from her rich family’s expectations. Her father is a very powerful media mogul and apparently one of the leaders in an organization, the Order of Ananke,  who controls large parts of society. Wesley “Hauk” Haukon  is a terribly scarred, damaged ex-Army Ranger who is a member of a different underground organization,the Underlight,  who fights  the Order of Ananke. I’m still not sure of the dynamics between these two organizations or why they are fighting each other, since this was a novella it had limited page time, but from what I can gather one is on the side of big business and the corrupt and the other is on the side of the man, who is fighting to keep their water uncontaminated, their medicines getting to the right people, the government out of their lives.. you get the picture.

Jolie and Hauk “meet” one evening after Hauk has escaped the bad guys and is hiding out in a friend’s burlesque club. While keeping to the back of the building so as not to be noticed by the patrons of the club he witnesses the incredible performance by Jolie. After Jolie leaves the stage and is changing clothes backstage she and Hauk have an accidental meeting, without ever actually seeing each other. Through the sheet that protects her from prying eyes they have a touching, tasting, teasing sexual encounter. I say sexual encounter because, there is no actual sex, and Hauk doesn’t get off, he is just grateful that Jolie let him have his first taste of a woman since he was so badly burned and disfigured. They part ways still without a face to face meeting.  Immediately after Jolie is almost kidnapped, and Hauk turns into some kind of berserker who saves her.  When asked for an introduction, Hauk had given her his first name, Wesley, and since Jolie has never actually seen his face she doesn’t associate the wonderful man with whom she had an encounter with the damaged man who saves her later on that night.

This was a very short read, only about 150 pages. It is supposed to be the first book in a three book series, or I should say a three novella series. I think I would have enjoyed this book more if it had been a bit longer. The premise of the two secret societies battling each other was a good one, but a little confusing because I never really understood the history or dynamics of the two of them. I liked Jolie quite a bit. She is tough, smart, sarcastic and knew exactly who she was. Her reaction to Hauk was believable to me. His scars startle her at first, but once she gets to know him those scars don’t matter to her anymore. She starts to fall for him even before she realizes he and Wesley are the same person. Hauk is the typical Beast persona. A soldier who was badly damaged in the war and has gotten used to people shying away from him for how he looks. He is strong, loyal and honorable. He just needs someone to see past the ugliness of his wounds to the real him. Hauk was a great “beast”.

I did enjoy this book, but I must warn readers who pick it up thinking this is steampunk, it’s not. It’s not really paranormal romance either. The best I can classify it is maybe Urban Fantasy. Maybe. This kind of had the feel of a serial novel. It ends in such a way that there isn’t a HEA or even a happy for now ending. When it ended I had the feeling that I had finished a chapter in the middle of a book and apparently will have to wait until next year to get to the next chapter. And while I enjoyed the characters and the storyline, the ending got on my nerves somewhat. I will be reading the next book, How Beauty Saves the Beast, which comes out in February of next year, simply because I liked the characters and I enjoyed the author’s voice. Final grade: C+

Favorite Quote:

Oblivious to her admiration, Hauk landed on the ground inside the wall and let go of the rope. As Jolie swung herself back onto it his voice rumbled beneath her. “You got a problem with me saying you’ve got a mighty fine ass yourself?”

She landed and arched an eyebrow at him. “I told you. I rock a thong. Now, me and my planless ass are going to proceed blindly toward that building, unless you care to fill me in on any more details?”

He grinned. “Nope.”

“You’re loving this power thing way too much”


Rating: C+
How Beauty Met the Beast by Jax Garren
November 19th 2012 by Carina Press
Amazon || Barnes & Noble 


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  1. Mandi says

    This is almost my review exactly. LOL

    I like the characters (I am such a sucker for a scarred, ugly hero) and the world is intriguing, but I was also confused. I needed much more explanation about the world. I had no idea this wasn’t going to have a HEA at the end. I kind of wish instead of three short books, we had one regular size. Because the world is complex, and I’m afraid by book 2, I’m going to forget the specifics of book 1 (and I’m already confused as it is). That was disappointing.

    But I agree with C+ – cool characters and nice start to romance.

    • Angela says

      I kept waiting for there to be some more movement in the relationship between Hauk and Jolie, maybe another sex scene. So when the ending was so abrupt I was a little put out, but I did like it enough to pick up book two when it comes out.

      I didn’t think this was steampunk at all. I’m starting to get annoyed by how many books are protrayed as steampunk, but when I pick them up they clearly aren’t.


  2. says

    YES!! It’s my reaction, three 😉 It feels like a serial and we get no warning about that which really irked me. I felt like this was Act I, but what I really don’t get is that Act II and III aren’t going to be out for months. That’s expecting a lot from readers especially without the ‘serial’ warning and the abrupt ending.

    • Angela says

      I think I would enjoyed it more if they had released them either as ONE book, or even in back to back months. That way readers know what they are getting in to when they pick up the first book. Waiting until February for book two and then having to wait again till May for the last book seems long.

    • Angela says

      I like steampunk! I’m trying to find another series I like other than Meljean Brooke’s Iron Seas.

  3. says

    It’s the cover the caught my eye on this one. Maybe I have a thing for red-heads? LOL I think I’ll wait and see what the reviews say for the rest before I take the plunge….maybe :)