Cat Eyes by Teneca Meeks follows Tia, a hardworking single girl who one night finds herself abducted by the Equestrians, an extraterrestrial species of tiger-like creatures intent on breeding with human women to save their race. But will Tia be able to help them with their mission before Diane, a scientist with her own murderous agenda, threatens the future of the Equestrians?
There is a sub-genre in sci-fi and fantasy at the moment known as “monster erotica”. These stories entail a creature of high intelligence in animal form, somehow forcing sexual relations on a human woman.
The problems that books like this have since “erotica-gate”, when 60% of these kinds of works were removed from distributors, continue. This is because they are considered “offensive” in content according to Amazon guidelines, as well as most major outlets. Basically, any book that has sexual themes between non-humans and humans is frowned upon.
Having said that, if this book can make its way through those guidelines, it could do well. Virginia Wade, with her Bigfoot book, made $30,000 a month on sales, while K.J. Burkhardt’s erotic works, all 42 of them, make her a bestseller in this genre. In fact, some thirty years back Jeff Noon did brilliantly with his Vurt series, involving hybrid dog-human relationships. These days, everyone is much more trigger-sensitive, and writers have to be aware. That aside, readers will decide.
Cat Eyes jumps right into the thick of the story without much ado. By page three, Tia Calloway is in her bedroom with two aliens, only paragraphs after describing the contents of her sandwich at lunch. Once Meeks starts letting her imagination flow there are some nice descriptions and details about how these tiger beings live, and fifty pages in we have found out a great deal about Tia and her captors such as their political and social structure as well as their warring clans and history, while down on Earth, Tia’s mother Kim starts worrying about her daughter’s whereabouts. The details in this book are the best feature of Meeks’ writing.
I couldn’t work out why the aliens are named Equestrians, given that they are tigers – shouldn’t they be horses? Also, Tia doesn’t seem to have much of a reaction to her situation. I think I would be traumatized, but she seems unfazed. The idea of mating with a seven-foot tiger that speak English prompts nothing but her worry about getting to the office without being missed – all in Betty Boop pajamas. There is humor here, despite the concept of alien abduction!
Characters are drawn in high contrast; an evil character is truly evil and a strong one wholly strong. This seems to be part of the genre style. Tia, however, remains something of a grey area. She seems quite sketchy and unaware of her own personality, which made it difficult to relate to her at times, especially given her nightmarish scenario. But maybe how she gets into this adventure is not the overriding objective of the book; the objective remains the erotic relationship between herself and her mate Ekale, in the same way Bella in Twilight remains constantly aghast and never particularly interesting as a person.
The nearest comparison to anything like this previously is something like a sexy Star Trek encounter, except in this book, the agenda is breeding with a human woman to save their planet.
While this sort of writing is definitely not for everyone, Meeks sets out her arcs clearly and keeps the story easy to follow for a light and entertaining read. The book is fairly well-edited and the cover is beautiful, which should attract sales from the sorts of readers that enjoy a different kind of fantasy tale.