The Prestige – Christopher Priest

Published: 15 September 1995
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 404 
Format Read: Audible
Duration: 12h 15mins


In 1878, two young stage magicians clash in the dark during the course of a fraudulent séance. From this moment on, their lives become webs of deceit and revelation as they vie to outwit and expose one another.

Their rivalry will take them to the peaks of their careers, but with terrible consequences. In the course of pursuing each other’s ruin, they will deploy all the deception their magicians’ craft can command–the highest misdirection and the darkest science.

Blood will be spilled, but it will not be enough. In the end, their legacy will pass on for generations…to descendants who must, for their sanity’s sake, untangle the puzzle left to them.


Milou and I watched the movie that this book was based on a while back and I re watched the film as I wanted to try do a book to movie comparison as along my review of this novel, maybe even kick start my own little book to movie adaptations corner. But things have happened in the mean time and I have found that my blogging has become a bit lacking again of late. I am finding it really difficult to balance out my work schedule, reading time and taking time for myself. I want my blogging to stay fun and not feel like a chore, so if I do not feel like I am ready to blog about a book I finished, not even taking into consideration the plans I had for this “first” book to film adaptation, I decided to hold of from it. I do not feel myself professional enough yet to embark on such a momentus venture. For that I am sorry. I will however drop a few minor spoilers in this review as I would like more people to have a look at this novel as well as the movie.

The Prestige was a great book for me. Having seen the movie, before even knowing that this was based of the book by the same name and seeing that it was free on Audible was an instant click for me. Also having seen the movie before reading this, I knew about one of the plot point that the movie held up until close to the end. It was done in the book in very much the same way, but on a very different level to what the movie makes us see. The Prestige felt like a mix of the Dracula note style of writing with some very Frankenstein-y feel to it nearing the end of the book, even border line H.P Lovecraft could be added, very light Lovecraft in any case…

Where in the movie we do not get the explanation of one of the magicians’ greatest tricks that I wanted to know more of. Both the movie and the book tries to misdirect the audience, this is a magician’s novel after all, my attention did not waver for a second while having this book read to me, even during a particularly difficult work day. Priest wrote a really good novel. I can not help but hate the fact that Hollywood messed the film up a little bit with cutting certain parts of the book out and adding their own things in and basically re-writing the reasons for the two magicains’ rivalry. That was a big let down for me, but in the book it is expanded upon in such a great way. Where the film impressed me enough to seek out the novel, the second time I watched it I felt that the novel was far more superior, then again I have no clue as to how difficult it can be to write a script, so I am not going to bash the movie for it’s short comings. It was a great film with some actorst I actually like very much. From Michael Cain, Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale through to Scarlet Johansson, Andy Serkis and the most surprising actor I did not expect, David Bowie, playing as Nikola Tesla.

Story wise we start with a distand relative of one of the magicians that gets a dairy of said relative which results in him trying to unravel the truth behind all the mystery. The book then goes through a few transitions as well as letting us read through the eyes of other characters that play a part in the history of the novel. Where Dracula fell flat on it’s face for me, it did however make me accustomed to this sort of writing, so I will always be greatful for that. I will leave out the reasons why I also felt a strong connection to the Frankenstein part of this novel and can only pull my own inner Lovecraft by writing that this was a book filled with such madness that it was not within my vocabulary to describe. What I liked about the novel was that at some point one of the rivals wanted to make peace with the other and nearly succeeded where the movie was all out Jackman wanting to take revenge on Bale for the events that led up to their rivalry in the first place. Notice how I use the actor’s names instead of the characters they played. This is due to me getting a little confused due to all the book’s misdirection. By the end, I did not know whom I felt more pity for. Imagine me feeling pity for a fictional character, that means that some one could actually write a book so great that you actually felt that you connected to a real person. That does not happen often for me, then again Brent Weeks managed that too with ease…

In the end I am very happy I decided to give this book a go. It was brilliant. The movie was good, but now I want a remake of it where they keep closer to the source material. You know like they did back then with 13th Warrior… I gave this a 4 out of 5 on GR and stated on there that I was confused about how they could mess a movie up with such a complex plot that the book contained. Highly recommend reading this and then watching the film, and even if you watched the film, to maybe give this a go, perhaps it answers more questions that might have arose during the watching. I know this was probably a bad review of a novel that scored so high, but that is exactly the case I tried making in the first paragraph of this review. I am having a difficult time in formulating what I want to say about a book and having to talk about a movie as well makes it double trouble for me. I am sorry for that. This is not the way I wanted my review to end so I think it’s better if I stop here…

Till next time.

15 thoughts on “The Prestige – Christopher Priest

  1. I hated the movie. I was watching it with a group and realized what Jackman was doing before everyone else and it made me sick. I don’t know why, but man, it got an extreme reaction out of me. So I’d never be tempted by the book.

    That being said, I’m glad the book was different enough that you could listen to it as a “new” story.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Correct. As soon as I saw the first duplicate cat I knew what was going on 😦

        Plus, we had all just watched the Illusionist and I really liked that movie. So going from a likeable magician to two jerk magicians was hard to take for me.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve seen the film a while ago and enjoyed it. So I might give the book a go, see if I like how it compares.
    Good review and sharing of your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The book was a lot more supernatural i feel. Also the reason for the rivalry was a lot better than killing the girlfriend with the wrong knot… i say better, but what i mean is heavy handed. Thank you for the kind words Ola

      Liked by 1 person

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