A rather enjoyable debut fantasy romance, with more of an emphasis on fantasy. However, it should be noted that the story ends very abruptly without warning or resolution. First in the series and most definitely doesn't stand alone.
Zendara: Begins is a debut novel and it does show in certain areas. There's quite a bit of telling rather than showing, there's a lot of talk about emotions and things happening without apparent resolution, there are characters that just drift in and out of the story like the plot devices they are, and the story quite possibly starts way too early.
Or it could be that as the story segues into something that more closely resembles a dungeons and dragons role-playing game that it's possibly the author did just see some of the characters there as quest-givers and handy plot devices to move the characters along with the loot they needed rather than actual people...
That said, the story is oddly charismatic despite that. Jess and Gedeaddon were very likeable and the romance between them very sweet and believable. The other supporting characters were also fun.
As mentioned, the story does just drop off abruptly. The characters are in the midst of a dungeon, killing monsters and gaining loot and getting hurt and suddenly everything ends without further ado. It seemed like the story was lopped in half and only the first half was given. It didn't even truly feel like a cliffhanger, if that was the intent.
I'm interested to see what further adventures Jess and Gedeaddon have, but for the moment I'm not sure I can recommend this book without seeing how the author is going to handle the endings.
Orphaned at a young age, Jess learns to survive as best she can. The world is a rough place, and a grandmother’s love can only do so much. She’s watched over by long-time friend Gedeaddon. Although he has a rough exterior, Jess sees his heart better than others—except when it comes to herself.
Ripped from her world due to a slowly encroaching war by an unknown adversary, she joins forces with Gedeaddon and escapes one threat only to land in the path of an even greater one. Changes are happening she cannot understand, both in Gedeaddon and herself, as she becomes a woman and he becomes something not entirely human. On their journey, they meet new friends with similar ambitions, and Jess discovers magic and fantasy are just as real as life and death—and that animal lords truly do exist.