By Cynthia Bujnicki
Fionna is an Irish Warrior Princess on a mission to save her family, tasked to steal the famed sword Excalibur from the knight and king Arthur Pendragon. Little did she know she was fated to be one of his knights and fight alongside him and his knights. Caught between helping her family she loves and helping her knights she has come to care for, Fionna must channel her power and her strength to help undo Morgana’s traps and magic to save everyone she loves.
Published October 15, 2018, by Forest Tales Publishing The Fifth Knight is a reverse harem novel and the first in this fantasy retelling.
Incredible. Fans of the Legend of King Arthur will surely appreciate this novel and the complexities of it. What’s also great about this novel is the characterization. Fionna is unstoppable and incredible, and such a strong female character, very different from the usual damsels in distress that are common in Arthurian retellings. However, her story goes beyond just representing a strong female character, it also goes to the twist in the narrative surrounding Gwenevere. It’s an interesting set-up and plot twist for the story and sets up great tension in the story as it unfolds. Readers know the eventual outcome, anyone who knows about Arthur, Lancelot and Gwenevere know the eventual outcome, but the journey there, the twist to that ending makes it captivating because there are so many avenues this story and plot twist could take, making it unpredictable.
Nevertheless, the story is about more than Fionna, it’s about the Arthurian legend and how it is brought to life.
Sundin and Luana knew what they were doing when they decided to make this story a reverse harem. It’s really a knew genre that is gaining more and more traction as of late because its concept is to have one female character and have multiple men fall in love with her. Now, there are many ways this genre can be taken, in some ways, depending on the writer, it’s clear that the goal is to create something more erotic, lacking focus on storytelling. But then you have some incredible works that develop the genre and ground it, focusing on the story and character building. This is one of those novels. The romance doesn’t overwhelm the novel, it works to create tension and build the foundation of the story. The emotion in the story, the overwhelming sense of desire and love, the different analogies like “someone smelling like home,” they all work in tandem with one another to make sure the depth keeps the romance from falling into something cheesy or dated.
I’ll say this, I’ve never read a reverse harem novel, to be honest, didn’t think it would be my cup of tea, but like with any story, as long as it has powerful writing behind it and grounded storytelling, any genre can be anyone’s cup of tea. This novel is proof of that.