Reviewed for Evie at www.Evie-Knight.com
Review copy courtesy of the publisher via RT Con 2013
Although my enjoyment of this book would maybe give it a 3 or 3.5 star rating, the sheer romance of it all bumped it up to 4 stars! I've read that this is some kind of re-telling of the Beauty and the Beast tale. To be honest, I'm not very familiar with that story other than the general idea of it. So I'm not able to comment on whether it is or is not a re-telling and if it is, I have no idea if it's a good one or a bad one. Let's just leave that part of it alone. If you want a discussion and/or comparison of the two tales, I'm positive there are other reviews that will have that for you. But since you're still here with me, let's get on with it, shall we??
Hmm, where to start, where to start? Well, I think you're going to need a primer before you tackle this one so let's start there. I'ma gonna give you a recap/overview of the world you're stepping into: okay so there's this cabal (YES! I finally got to use that in a sentence!) of powerful entities. Don't get your paranormal panties in a bunch... when I say entities, I mean a combination of people, corporations, governments, etc. This cabal is called the Order of Ananke. And let's just do a little shorthand here and call them the bad guys, kay? So then there's the GOOD guys and they Underlight. In Austin, the Underlights (Undrlighters?) live underground and they eschew pretty much all technology, including electricity and internet, etc. except for Etsy (I shit you not but just go with this). They live 100% off the grid. And they fight the Order of Ananke to keep the bad guys from crushing us unknowing sheep under their boot-heels.
One of the soldiers in this "war" is Wesley "Hauk" Haukon. He is a badly disfigured former Special Forces soldier. He was set up to take the fall for a fire that killed his group and left him with severe burns over 80% of his body and without the use of one of his legs (like, its gone). While he was recovering from the fire, he was tried and convicted of the fire and the deaths. But instead of accepting his fate, he runs and has been fighting as an Agent of the Underlight ever since. Now, I know that this makes him maybe seem like a bad guy or at least not a good guy, but he's an awesome guy. He has no idea what happened before, during or right after the fire but he knows he would never harm his fellow soldiers. Men he counted on and men who counted on him. For me, I liked Hauk right from the start. He's not classically handsome... not anymore. But he's still a seriously badass hero. And he has these intense blue eyes. Yum, scars or no scars, he sounds delicious!! I guess it goes towards him being a hero but he also doesn't back down from a fight, even when the odds are against him and I just love that! There's a lot more to his story but if you want all of the details, well, you're going to have to read the dang book!
Hauk ends up saving this burlesque dancer, Jolie. First, you gotta love that name, right? But what I really loved about her was the fact that she's kind of a good girl. A good girl in the sense that she's always done what people have expected of her and she's always done the right thing and she's just a generally decent person. She's STILL a decent person but she's not living for anyone anymore. Her family would be mortified that she's a burlesque dancer but she loves it and she's going to do whatever the hell she wants to do. One more thing I wanted to mention about Jolie is how real she is. The author does an amazing job of making her real by making her have a normal reaction to Hauk's appearance. Luckily for Jolie AND Hauk, he was asleep for her reaction and Jolie makes herself get used to how he looks so that when he wakes up, she can just talk to him and behave normally. I think that's pretty awesome. It would be unrealistic for Jolie to NOT react to all of Hauk's scars, which really cover half of his face. But to make her school her reaction so that she doesn't make Hauk feel bad it pretty cool, I think.
Of course, Hauk and Jolie have awesome chemistry. But if you're looking for some hot and heavy, down and dirty Sexy Time, keep on looking. This book may be sensual but I don't feel that it was very sexual. Point in fact, Jolie and Hauk don't have sex in this book. There's a few lingering looks and plenty of fantasies, but they never get down to it, if you know what I mean. BUT THAT'S OK! This is Book 1 of what appears to be a three book series so they have plenty of time to get to the good stuff!
I would recommend this book. It may not be the sweaty, hot page turner you THINK you want, but the romance and the start of a real relationship between Hauk and Jolie makes up for it. My only advisory is that you may want to already have Books 2 and 3 ready because once you read this one, you'll want more!