Wizard's Masquerade

A medieval fantasy romance (Huskarl Duology Book 1)

Romance - Fantasy/Sci-Fi
690 Pages
Reviewed on 09/06/2022
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Author Biography

I'm a fantasy romance author and lover of dogs, video games, skateboarding & beach.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Wizard’s Masquerade is a work of fiction in the medieval fantasy romance subgenre, and it forms the first half of the Huskarl Duology. The work is intended for the adult readership owing to explicit scenes of a sexual nature, fantasy violence, and references to suicide, and was penned by author Jay Pellegrin. In this gothic-styled slow-burn romance, we follow the exploits of Leyna, who survives a horrific injury but knows it will leave her career prospects as a wizard severely hampered. She is lucky and surprised to receive an offer to work for the Royal Guard, but disheartened by the post until the secrets of the castle and the attention of an irksome court jester set off a chain of events she will never forget.

This novel has some truly gorgeous elements to it that fantasy romance fans will absolutely adore, and I feel that author Jay Pellegrin has really achieved a high standard of suspenseful romance, deep character development, and lavish worldbuilding within the pages of Wizard’s Masquerade. An ideal new adult read for those wanting light medieval historical touches with plenty of fantasy, danger, and mystery, it was also refreshing to see an imperfect protagonist in Leyna. The narration and her vivid character presentation through action and dialogue make Leyna someone you can relate to very deeply, especially for her headstrong nature but also her vulnerabilities and insecurity about adjusting to change in her life. Overall, Wizard’s Masquerade is a high-quality fantasy work that will certainly please fantasy romance fans everywhere, and I’d highly recommend it to all.

Asher Syed

Wizard's Masquerade: A Medieval Fantasy Romance by Jay Pellegrin revolves around a young aristocrat and wizardry student named Leyna and her eventual position within the court's Royal Guard in the first novel of the Huskarl Duology series. Once at court, Leyna seems to be the constant target of a jester's wordplay and jokes, and no opportunity is lost for the jester to poke and prod the woman who is as straight as an arrow. When an attack takes place and two critical leaders are murdered, Leyna cannot be stopped from learning who would carry out such a cold-blooded assassination and dealing with them herself. As is the case with court intrigue, be it fantasy or reality, there are so many more layers to the dynamic within the castle that Leyna did not appreciate until she found herself in the eye of the storm.

Wizard's Masquerade is a monster of a book due to its length. Leyna is not always likable and she has the overwhelming elitist outlook of a woman who grew up in the aristocracy. This makes her authentic but it also makes the reader want to wring her neck. She grows on you and there is a character arc at play. The jester is the true star and easy to embrace from the word go. The wit and intelligence are pitch-perfect and, despite what readers may be thinking, we know that Jay Pellegrin isn't going to let the characters be that predictable. I found Leyna's drive the best part of her personality. It's a medieval setting and a woman who isn't willing to punch through the glass ceiling herself hasn't got a chance. Leyna will get there, but she will only do it the way it is meant to be done. No shortcuts. No bending the rules. The book concludes with more than a few loose threads that will inevitably be tied up in the second book. I just hope Pellegrin gets it to us quickly.

Stephanie Chapman

Jay Pellegrin’s Wizard’s Masquerade is a colorful fantasy encompassing the inhabitants of Rutherford Castle. The novel opens with Leyna running from Quinn in an elaborate maze. In an inevitable face-off, Quinn accidentally loses control of a Renegade spell, causing Leyna an injury. Later that evening, Leyna joins Grace and Quinn in a drunken senior prank. While she is in the Headmaster’s office, she discovers a book and summons a demon that tries to kill her. Her leg, despite being healed by the mysterious Cornelius, remains scarred permanently. Trying to avoid her mother’s constant attempts to find her a spouse, Leyna finds Jester is more than she could ever imagine. The appearance of demons created under the guise of protection shocks Leyna. Likewise, Leyna also finds she has a secret admirer who may open her eyes to the truth of what is happening within the castle walls.

Jay Pellegrin artistically created a fantasy story filled with suspense. Leyna’s devotion to her position of huskarl became frustrating to me. I could see the manipulation she allowed because she never questions their decisions. I loved the antics Jester executes. His dialogue was colorful and had subtle messages. Leyna’s disdain for Quinn made me like her less because she looked down on his status. Vivid descriptions of the supporting characters and Leyna’s inner turmoil are easy to understand. Tragedy occurs frequently; however, there are humorous moments mixed into the story. Floofy’s appearance added a fun aspect to Leyna’s life. The end of the story is a cliffhanger that leaves me eager to read the sequel. I recommend Wizard’s Masquerade to readers who love a fantasy romance novel filled with well-developed characters and the growth of a young woman’s self-discovery.