9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Fun with Puns in an Alternate Historian's Sandbox,
This review is from: The Demi-Monde: Winter: Book I of the Demi-Monde (Hardcover)
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The Demi-Monde is a lovely surprise. It's a book packed full of playful language, great ideas, and interesting characters, both historical and fictional.
From the premise (artificial hell populated with scum like Heydrich and Beria, used to train US soldiers) I expected it to either take itself too seriously, or embrace the insanity. Fortunately, it does the latter. Rees' exposition and world building has a light touch that makes me think of a nerdier Pratchett. Every faction name appears to be a pun or joke - the Fascist Northern European section of the demi-monde is known as the Forth-Right (Fourth Reich?) and their religion is UnFunDaMentalism (because nothing's less fun than Fundamentalism), while the militant wing of Empress Wu's radically feminist faction (branded with the derogatory term - LessBiens) is the Suffer-o-gettes.
I don't know about you, but I love this sort of thing. It serves as an excellent juxtaposition to the doom and gloom that constant warfare, racism, sexism, everythingism engenders. Whoever created the Demi-Monde has a sick sense of humour. Rees has a sick sense of humour.
Ella Thomas, a student with a penchant for dance and jazz, and Vanka, a charlatan psychic are ostensibly the main protagonists in the book. They are both interesting and their personalities clash well with the world and the characters around them. Yet Trixie Dashwood is the real scene-stealer throughout the book. Her transformation - without giving much away, since it is rather surprising - is fascinating.
Highly recommended for its explosion of ideas and sense of humour. I eagerly await the turning of the season.