A reverse harem is the reverse of the original harem, which is when one man pairs up with multiple (usually) female love interests. Therefore, a reverse harem is one girl who ends up with multiple (usually) male love interests. The number of guys also may vary depending on what type of reverse harem content you are consuming, but for romance novels, the consensus is at least three different men are needed to make it count as a “harem”.
The personal preference for the number of guys is also different among different readers. A lot of readers prefer a smaller harem (three guys) because they enjoy in-depth character development with the guys beyond just romance. Then you have the other readers who prefer a larger harem, usually with five or more guys. I am of the latter group, my sweet spot being around five guys. I feel like with this number you get the full “found family” vibe that comes with reverse harems, and it’s not so big that you lose track of the guys and they started to feel extremely superficial and empty. The number of guys I’ve read is probably seven, but if anyone knows any books with more men than that let me know (I’ll be curious to see what that’s like).
Reverse harem, in my opinion, is a bit niche, although it is growing in popularity. It’s already popular in East Asia (seen through the many popular mangas). But I feel like its rise in RH in western romance reading communities is more new. Because of this, even the most popular RH books are not mainstream enough for you to be able to find them in public spaces like the library or even general bookstores like Indigo or Barnes and Noble (trust me I have tried). To my knowledge, the only stable source of RH romance books I’ve been able to find so far is Kindle Unlimited. Almost all – if not all – RH books, from the most famous to the least known, are on KU. So KU is the ideal tool to get into RH.
Curse of the Gods Series by Jaymin Eve
This series would always have a special place in my heart. Not only is this series my introduction to the genre (my first ever in fact), it happened by complete accident. I was just scrolling through kindle books to read, and being a long-time fan of Jaymin Eve of course I decided to check this series out. Despite being interested in all of the guys, for like half of the series I was expecting Willa to choose one guy at the end. I remember distinctively dreading how disappointed I’ll be when that happens because of how much I love all of the men. But when she started having sex with 3/5 out of the five guys, I realized something was off – leading me to finally look at the genre on the Goodreads page where it clearly says genre – reverse harem. I was pleasantly surprised, and the rest is history. This is a slow burn with a tiny about of teasing (I don’t even know if it counts as bullying, to be honest) and is to this day my all-time favorite RH series.
The Dark Side Series by Kristy Cunning
This is my second all-time favorite RH series and is also the second RH I’ve ever read. If Curse of the Gods introduced me to RH, then this series solidified my commitment to the genre. It has a gothic, hell-ish, apocalyptic vibe. The FMC is humorous, which is heavily reminiscent of Willa (from Curse of the Gods), and this series did a great job pacing the romance between the different guys and the FMC.
Heart Hassle Series by Raven Kennedy
This series is actually quite similar to Four Psychos especially in the earlier books, but I feel like the series bloomed into its own as it progressed so it’s not a huge issue. It has a very unique world building and had a great execution to the ”cupid” concept. Her chemistry with the guys are also well done. All in all this series was very digestible so a great choice for beginner readers.
- The leader (name self explanatory)
- An alphahole – an “alpha” male who is also an asshole
- Often a combination of the muscle man and the jerk
The OG guy
- The guy who met the girl first
- Often the more basic one out of the harem (I’m sorry)
- The most handsome one
- Flirting king
- Secret softie (being a slut to protect himself emotionally)
- The last one to cave to the FMC (officially join the harem). The most “slow-burn out of everyone.
- Cold and aloof
The smart guy
- The nerd
- Wears glasses
- Always into either general science or computers
- Secretly the kinkiest out of all the guys (bondage is really common)
The muscle man
- Brooding and quiet
- Secret cinnamon roll despite being jacked
- Looks like the mountain from GoT but is actually attractive
The Nice One
- NOT Nice Guy™
- The chef/home/caretaker of the group
- Unfortunately can be a bit boring (I’m sorry) and can be confused with the nerd or the OG if there are too many guys in the harem
Found Family Trope
The reason why this trope is appealing to me is the same as why this trope is appealing to me in any other book. It’s having this circle of people who you trust and love more than your own life, and make you feel safe, secure, and wanted. No, I do not need therapy why are you asking.
This is related to the classic triangle love trope. I always hated it, because I like both guys and it makes me sad every time the FMC chooses anyone. In this case, you don’t have to! In RH, you get all the guys. Everyone can be happy.
This is not the most appealing thing to me personally, but I know it is for a LOT of other people. Not saying smut is bad or I’m not into smut, it’s just not as much as a priority for me as a reader.