Review by Sendokidu

What do you get when you enter a world full of nekomimis--a mixture of human and feline, usually indicated by cat ears and a tail? A bunch of empty bottles of lube and tissues strewn about as you watch their escapades go wild.

Purrfect Tails, edited by Tarl Hoch, goes through a cast of feline-human hybrids trying to find their way into a myriad of others’ pants. From a workhouse escapee sneaking into a noble swan lady’s garden, to a cybernetically modified hedonist testing shady attachments, there is no shortage of sexual activities to be had throughout these nine stories.

Unfortunately, I found the proofreading of this anthology lacking. It was difficult to read through most of these stories. Misspellings, missing words, the wrong word; it felt like the stories were just picked and slapped into the book without a second thought or look. That being said, the stories that were well-written kept my attention well enough, the characters within feeling alive and vibrant.

“Milk and Brass” by Madison Keller takes the reader to the streets of London where a neko named Carla has just escaped a workhouse with miserable conditions and is on the run from the police. She winds up within the garden of Nellie, a swan lady who offers shelter to the feline-human hybrid and, despite being betrothed to someone she despises, experiences her first time—and love—with a woman behind closed doors. Now, while I do enjoy a good story about two hopeless romantics who try to find happiness no matter where they came from, it does irk me that there is mention that the hybrids were created with no further backstory to it, just that the swan was created for her master’s purpose. It adds a completely different element to the story that’s left in the dust to further the goal of carnal delights, especially considering it seems that mostly the nekos are the ones who end up caught and forced into a kind of slave labor in this universe. Also, the sex was written out in a tantalizing way that showed how much the two were enjoying themselves romantically.

“Following the Trail” by Dark End follows Jacqyl, a girl bored of her everyday life and stuck in a dead-end job until a chance encounter with Martin, a splicer—a human whose DNA has been spliced with another animal—changes her perspective on life. This story ended up piquing my curiosity, placing me in a world where having your DNA spliced to become part-animal was considered bad and treated like a kind of racism. The story flowed smoothly, and the sexual interactions were short but poignant, going so far as to explore how a human would explore a splicer’s body.

Next, we have “Cat Toy” by Royce Day. This time, we’re looking through the eyes of a crewman on a freighter working a shift on Felicia, a town filled with feline-analogs described as a kind of cat-like alien. One particular Felician who simply goes by Princess stumbles upon him, leading him back to a hotel and claiming to have made him hers. This story was a delight to read. The writing gripped me, particularly in regards to Princess’s personality displayed throughout, and was a fair bit descriptive, too; it moved along into the sex, detailing how it felt to have a feline’s tongue inside the crewman’s mouth. Everything felt so smooth with how the scenes transitioned from one to the next.

In “Schematic for a Purrfect Artifact,” Akiko, a destitute and jobless neko, is salvaged by Yuka. The fox woman decides to employ the cat boy in her machinist company Naked Creations. The name wasn’t just for fun, though: all employees are required to be nude while they work, whether it is on machines or on Yuka as per their contract. This one was a bit of a hurdle for me to get through. While I put this more on the editor for not correcting, there were far too many misspellings and grammatical errors that tripped me up as I read. The writing seemed plain and uninteresting. Even the sex felt dull and methodical, just the participants going through the motions. Also, all the characters just seemed simple and childish. While I admit one can get flustered with their first time as Akiko did, the character seemed completely inept at first, as if he had never researched or heard of sex in the slightest. And this character also had the sex appeal to attract every woman and even cause them to change their goals.

In “Enter the Garden” by James Pyke, a goddess has recreated the Garden of Eden, bringing in two human-feline hybrids, Cryo and Priscille, in the hopes of spreading the goddess’s glory across the desolate land outside the garden. This one was an interesting read. The writing took a flourishing outtake on Genesis where sex is spread out as a gospel. Also, it portrays a lover’s first time mating beautifully, depicting the emotions and even the bit of pain following with it.

“Leather Boots” by Thurston Howl centers around Jonas, a Canadian visiting Japan on a business trip. On the news, there’s talk about a neko—nude aside from a pair of leather boots—who’s committed three murders in the area. Treating the strange murders as just a typical day in Japan, he starts flipping the channels, soon actively enjoying himself as he watches a game involving swimmers. When Jonas hears a knock on the door, however, his world is flipped upside down. The only horror erotica in the collection, this story was quite the thrilling sexcapade. The creepiness factor was up there with the writing, and the ending was a hell of a turnaround. The pacing was fluid as well, leading into the sex scene—which itself was fantastic, leading from hesitation and fear to pleasured moans and then confusion—exactly when the protagonist was at his most vulnerable.

“The Good Girl” by E. S. Lapso revolves around the neko Sora and the man that bought him, Samson. The neko loses a bet and has to dress as a maid for the day while serving his master’s whims. The writing was short and sweet, and the sex scene was definitely enticing with how the characters expressed themselves. However, the entire story was just one single sex scene, more of a “smut” story than erotica, and, considering this is a collection of erotica, “The Good Girl” shouldn’t belong in this anthology.

Delving into “Lacuna Vice” by Searska GreyRaven, Ganymede the hedonistic cyber-neko makes his entrance into the nightclub Purgatory. The place is alive with spliced and cybernetically-modified people, with some of the spliced beings going through the full process of becoming two-legged, sentient animals. Gan is soon greeted by Mr. Goodfellow, a representative of a shady company known for scandals such as the illegal splicing of a tentacled creature known as the Protheopi and attempting to steal the plans for a set of implants. What Mr. Goodfellow doesn’t know, though, is that the offer he has to give may actually bite him in the ass. “Lacuna Vice” was wonderful to read through. I was enthralled with the writing, particularly with how Gan was fleshed out and how Mr. Goodfellow doesn’t live up to his name. Even the transitions from place to place impressed me: the switch didn’t leave me jarred and wondering how everyone got from the club to the testing facility. It was intriguing to see how a tentacled machine works to invade and pleasure a living being, while the crafty neko was battling against the machine’s true objective.

The last story, “Pussy Perfect” by Kandrel, starts with a group of four friends, Lee, Kim, Charles, and Judy, making their way into an exotic brothel in China Town. With Kim hesitant about this particular cathouse, Lee takes the time to enjoy a gene-modded neko courtesan in the back room. It’s not until after that, after listening to Kim’s protests, that Lee learns a deep secret about his friend. While I enjoyed the writing and content, there were a couple of red flags. The word “Asian” was overused far too much to my tastes in describing Kim’s appearance, and how the author described her laugh as “the typical ‘Asian’ habit of covering her mouth” was just appalling. While it was pleasing to see how a neko acts and lives once out of a subservient position like a brothel, the blatant use of “asian [sic]” to describe Kim’s actions just left a bad taste in my mouth to where I couldn’t truly appreciate the story. Barring that, though, the story paced nicely and kept my attention, and the sex scenes were expressive with how the emotions and even the features of the nekos were detailed.

Overall, Purrfect Tails was an arousing anthology to read. If not for the lack of editing, most of these stories would be provocative. Many of the stories gave such unique and ravishing tales that left me wanting more. I’m excited, if the editor can improve with future projects, to see what other stories may make their way to Armoured Fox Press.