Monday, May 2, 2011

'The Prestige' by Christopher Priest

Publisher: Orion Books


Length: 360 Pages

What the blurb says:

' Two 19th-century illusionists, the aristocratic Rupert Angier and the working-class Alfred Borden, engage in a bitter and deadly feud; the effects are still being felt by their respective families a hundred years later.

Working in the gaslight-and-velvet world of Victorian music halls, both men prowl edgily in the background of each other's shadowy life, driven to the extremes by a deadly combination of obsessive secrecy and insatiable curiosity.

At the heart of the row is an amazing illusion they both perform during their stage acts. The secret of the magic is simple, and the reader is in on it from the start, but to the antagonists the real mystery lies deeper. Both have something more to hide than the mere workings of a trick'

What's right with this novel?

The pacing of the novel is good, I didn't feel that it rushed to the end. I also enjoyed the sections with the magicians diaries. They helped me to connect to the two central characters. The ending was satisfactory also.

What wrong with this novel?

I found the plot to be over complicated. It switched from the present day, to a past narrative, to the diaries of the two magicians. Using this technique in my opinion, made the novel long winded and messy. I found that the subplot in the present day,was totally unecessary. I would have preferred a simpler plot, prehaps only using the magicians diaries, to tell the story. By stripping down the plot, I would have felt even more of a connection with the central characters and I would have cared more what happened to them.

The blub of this novel makes out that 'The Prestige' is sinister and full of intrigue, but I felt that Priest wasn't able to deliver what the cover promises. In fact, I felt that it lacked the tension that I was expecting.

Is this worth a read?

If I hadn't seen the film adaptation of this novel, then I may have enjoyed this. That said, I was expecting more from this.

I don't think that 'The Prestige' is a terrible book, but in my opinion it's disappointing. This may be worth picking up if you haven't anything else to read, but I would suggest watching the film adaptation instead.

Have you read this novel? What are your thoughts?

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