The Kingdom of Boulom has been lost. The realms have already seen what happens when the Gods and their Harbingers are unchecked. Destruction. Chaos. Death. The Gods can’t be trusted. No one knows that better than David Williams, the Leader of the Guardians tasked to protect the Realm from the Gods and their powerful Harbingers ever since the fall of Boulom. Six Guardians take their pledge to leave the disputes of the kingdoms behind and live only to stop the Harbingers and protect the Realms from the Gods. Serenna Morgan, a famed Crystal Mage and Guardian struggles with the Guardian Pact when the Kingdom of Terrangus invades her home.
She’s supposed to stay out of it. But she can’t. When she breaks her Oath and joins in the skirmish, she earns the favor of the God of Death when the conflict escalates to an all-out war. And he makes her an offer that will ensure she’ll never fail in her goals again. To become his Harbinger. To partake in the ecstasy of destruction.
I didn’t know what to expect when I jumped into Platinum Tinted Darkness Book One of the Legacy of Boulom series. What I should have anticipated was prism mages, giant human lizard hybrids, and multiple gods causing chaos throughout the land. The first chapter is thick with plot details and character points that linger until the end of this four-hundred-page book. Serenna Morgan, a Guardian from Mylor, Nyfe from the country of Terrangus, and a soldier Zeen are presented in the first pages, and all three play a heavy hand throughout the rest of the book. It’s a setup I didn’t see coming, and having reread the first chapter now brings so much to fold after I finished.
The world Mr. Wolfe breathes into life blossoms to its full potential near the end of the book after warring nations and allegiances are broken. The political strife could be more high-minded or tough, gritty politics, but it’s just enough to keep the plot and the reader engaged and not bogged down with plot strings that a reader must weave together using a push pin board and yarn.
Mr. Wolff’s writing strength shows directly from the characters’ conversations and inner dialog on each book page. Conversations provide not just the spoken words but also the inner feelings and thoughts in those moments, which can sometimes contradict each other. This helps focus the plot and provides a sense of humanity to the characters early in the book. During crucial battle scenes, Mr. Wolff also throws in internal dialog, often breaking the tension and providing keen detail as swords and magic fly, breaking armor and bones and slashing blood onto the walls. The different nation’s borders and allegiances adjust and change through battles, almost like a game of Risk, while the gods, including Wisdom, Strength, and Fear, manipulate the country’s leaders and each other. I hope to learn more about the gods swirling in the author’s mind in the preceding novels.
“So be it. Show me your violence.”
While the nations deal with a random harbinger (humans blessed with power from a given god), the reader gets all the action from different POVs of Guardians. Still, I can’t help but feel for the civilian population as a harbinger of Death creates chaos as war breaks out. Most civilian deaths and strife occur off-panel while the Guardians wheel & deal with the heads of state, and attempt to kill demons, goliaths, and harbingers. The spectacular atrocities throughout the book remind me of the last bit of The Avengers, where you see New York invaded by giant monsters from the sky, a great city shrieks and shutters, and the world crashes down into the streets. The Guardians are the special ops D&D party that takes out the big bosses. There are tanks, mages, warriors, and rogues, all pledged to stop harbingers until they throw their impartiality to nations out of the window.
“I am nothing. I am forever. I am the end.”
Platinum Tinted Darkness’s main POV is Serenna, and her choice to become a harbinger of Death are the main focus of the book, but the most interesting characters are the gods. Death, Wisdom, Fear. They have some of the book’s more complicated and interesting story arcs and character-building. Most of the characters are human except for a different race of beings called the zephum, who are… the best way I could bring them to mind would be a large orc crossed with an alligator, but I could be wrong. I need to know more about this race and their culture. They were so abrasive next to their human counterparts. It’s jarring and hilarious in the middle of a chaotic battle. Loved watching them interact with all of the soft weak humans.
“This will be glorious!”
Mr. Wolf’s world-building moves slowly, and I could use more history about the types of magic and the differences between harbingers and champions. Still, I’m an idiot for lore and history, and in four hundred pages of epic fantasy, there is enough history and battles for readers to enjoy.
For all the death and chaos, this book does not fall into the grimdark side of fantasy for me. The action is sharp, and fatalities occur plenty, but Mr. Wolff’s prose provides hope and empathy in a war-torn world, making this a sword & sorcery novel with hints of the epic and noble bright side of fantasy. The book has swords, bows, high magic, and a slight D&D feel.
Platinum Tinted Darkness is edited well and effort was put into its typography and page settings creating a complete epic fantasy book. The art on the cover by Alejandro Colucci reminds me of a fantasy oil painting of Joan of Arc. For fantasy readers, this book fits into the realm of adult noble-bright fantasy that is easy to read, feeling like a medium-bodied pilsner on a warm afternoon day. Seeing what Mr. Wolff brings with his next few books will be exciting but start first indulge in a little bit of corruption with Platinum Tinted Darkness.