Shayna L's Reviews > The Prestige

The Prestige by Christopher Priest
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Apr 19, 11

Read in April, 2011

Let me first say that I saw this film several years ago, soon after it came out on dvd. I'm not entirely sure whether knowing the big twists was good or not, but it certainly didn't make the book tedious. I think it might be less confusing to see the movie first, but less exciting to know all the secrets already. If anyone read it first, then maybe you can tell me if it was confusing or not.
Ok, so the story begins with a man who is thought to be a descendant of one of two magicians who had a feud going way back in the day. This isn't a spoiler, since this info is on the back of the book or within a few pages. There will be no spoilers here. Anyway the man tells us about his family, situation, sets up the story, blah blah blah. This part is not exciting. But it's also not that long.
After that we get to the meat of the novel... The actual lives of these magicians who were in their prime way back in the day. Now it starts to pick up speed and get interesting. You learn about the hardships these men went through, how their lives intertwine. At the end it almost becomes poetic, the way in which they are alike and become alike.
The book explores the world of professional magic, describing it almost like a science. It also explores the contemporary world of science, including the theoretical possibilities put forward by the awesome Nikola Tesla (who is played by David Bowie in the film, thereby doubling the awesomeness of it), making science almost magical. There are definite sci-fi undertones in this book and that makes it all the more unpredictable.
Even though you have to slog a bit in the beginning, the main story is worth it. Even having seen the film, I was having a hard time putting the book down. Also the book takes place in England and it's fun to read in a stodgy, old timey, posh British accent. At least in your head.
My biggest issue with this book was the ending. I won't say anything specific, but I will tell you that it left me wanting more, wanting to know more, wanting an epilogue and further elaboration on some things. It wasn't a bad last chapter, to be sure. It's one of the best parts of the book. But it ends somewhat abruptly for my taste. If there was a sequel, I would read it, but I'm not sure there would be enough material for an entire book. An epilogue would have been just enough.
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