Final Thoughts on The Prestige

Now that I have finished reading The Prestige, I think I can say I was overall quite disappointed with it. Yes, the endings (for there are two) are flagged up quite early in the book, but it twisted and turned so frequently that the reader is never entirely aware if the two storylines – being that of Borden and of Angier – actually link up at any point. It doesn’t help, of course, that neither of the two main characters are especially likeable, although I much preferred Borden to Angier. He seemed a bit more human, even though his sections were sometimes difficult to read.

The frame story, which was almost entirely new to me, petered out terribly at the end. The reader was able to guess what had happened to young Nicky Borden, but the biggest surprise was never completely explained (and I won’t spoil it by revealing it here). I’ve spent a few days trying to work out how it could have come about, and I’m not sure I can. Perhaps I’ve read a few too many detective stories in my lifetime, but I do like my loose ends tied up!

Overall, though, it was a good book and I did enjoy reading it. Once I got used to the language style it was an easy enough read, and I think I’ve learned a thing or two about stage magic as well. Having now read the book, I think the casting of the film was very well done, and I can see why the changes to the story were made – the film is much more linearly told – but I think losing the frame story was a bit of a shame. Will I read it again? Probably not, so I have passed the book on for someone else to enjoy.

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