Do you love catgirls? Then you’re going to love this special review, which pits two books together to show just where each one shines. In a way, they’re two good tastes that taste better together!
I got the idea for this post after having just finished the second book we’re going to discuss. On my Twitter timeline, I see this post:
We gotta settle this!
May the battle begin! pic.twitter.com/5p0W4BAtKS
— Ine Airlcana (@IneAirlcana) July 4, 2020
Well hot damn. Both of these books are solid. Both of these books approach the tropes and trappings of demi-humans with feline features in different ways. One is Catgirl Doctor, written by heavyweight lightnovelist Brandon Varnell. The other is The Dorm Room Cat-Girl, written by relative newcomer C. S. James. What I find interesting about both of these titles is that objectively, I don’t feel I can say one is better than the other (full disclosure – I rated both of them 4 stars on Amazon.) The way their stories and content are handled, however, may lead to the individual reader preferring one over the other, and that’s where the real meat of my discussion will be.
Buy the book from this link. Amazon might throw me a few pennies if you do!
Chris Redford is a college student in a stylized San Diego who is training to be a “catgirl doctor” which is like a human doctor only focused on catgirls, or like a vet but only focused on catgirls. One day he saves a catgirl from the rain. She’s skiddish because she was kidnapped, and she escaped but other catgirls might not have. The focus is primarily on Chris coming to terms with his new partner, and her needs both as a catgirl and as a trauma survivor.
Buy the book from this link too! Amazon throws me almost a whole dime every time a purchase is made, it’s kind of neat.
Hiroshi is a high school student who comes across a cat in the rain. He does his best to take care of her, but sadly she dies to a cold. This cat goes to a bizarre dimension where a cat-god the size of a van offers her a 10th chance at life (because cats have 9 lives, haha) if she can get Hiroshi to love her, since love is the one magic that this Cat-God can’t naturally harvest himself. To make this easier, the cat (named Aiya by the boy) comes back as a human, but not quite – now she’s a catgirl! The focus here is more a fish out of water story is Aiya learns how to become a human and hide her catlike attributes, and as she learns that love comes in more than one form.
Catgirl Doctor is the first in a series that is alleged to lead to a harem for the main male lead. By comparison, Dorm Room Cat-girl is a self contained story, although there is room for sequals or spin-offs as the writer may feel necessary. Both rely on a world that has tropes found in Japanimation; while Catgirl Doctor takes place in San Diego there’s a teacher wearing Gothic Lolita, for example, and a bully is referred to in-character as a “Tsundere” – a popular loanword in some circles, but a word unlikely to be used outside of those. By comparison, the entirety of Dorm Room Cat-girl takes place in Japan, even as it has the occasional slip that shows it was written by a non resident. It borrows heavily from anime about school life, as well as shows like Cat Planet Cuties and My Monster Secret.
Brandon Varnell’s work is at times darker, and definitely sexier, than the competitor here. There is a focus on the erotic content, complete with a couple of sexual scenes. By comparison, the story C. S. James chooses to tell uses romances for comedic purposes, avoiding anything that might be considered overtly “lewd.” It deals with some serious topics, such as death and betrayal, but it’s always with a bit of comedy to make it all go down a bit easier.
If artwork is going to sway a reader, they’ll probably want to give the nod to Mr. Varnell, who has teamed up with Liremi Art. There are some full page inserts that are exceptionally well done. Mr. James does include character art in the back of his book which I believe is attributed to Steven D. Newman (that’s who gets design credit for the cover, anyways.)
Which character has the better catgirl? The one in the Dorm Room, but this isn’t the fault of the competition. Because Dorm Room Cat-girl is a completed work, the reader gets to spend more time with the character Aiya, understand what motivates her, and see her thought processes as she adjusts to human life. The character development in Silva from Catgirl Doctor focuses more on her adjusting to life as a “catpanion” and as such there isn’t as much chances to see her and how she interacts with the world. There is little doubt, knowing the author’s style, that this will change in future installments.
Which one should you, the reader, get? I mean, you can buy either for the price of a coffee at your favorite coffee shop, or read both with a Kindle Unlimited subscription. So why not take a plunge? I felt both of them were fairly solid, and I’m sold on both checking out more of C. S. James’s work as he publishes and the second book of Mr. Varnell’s when released. Ultimately, though, I think the question is: do you want a story with erotic content, or with comedic? That’s going to be the one true decisive outlier here.