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Ironic Contradictions

I'm a long time reader - since way back when I was seven. That makes it over three quarters of my life that I will be a reader for. But it is worth it. When I'm not reading or wasting my time online on here or Goodreads I'll be off playing video games, studying teaching and messing around with friends and pop culture. Or reading some more.

The Prestige

The Prestige - Christopher Priest
"An illusion has three stages.

"First there is the setup, in which the nature of what might be attempted at is hinted at, or suggested, or explained. The apparatus is seen. volunteers from the audience sometimes participate in preparation. As the trick is being setup, the magician will make use of every possible use of misdirection.

"The performance is where the magician's lifetime of practice, and his innate skill as a performer, cojoin to produce the magical display.

"The third stage is sometimes called the effect, or the prestige, and this is the product of magic. If a rabbit is pulled from a hat, the rabbit, which apparently did not exist before the trick was performed, can be said to be the prestige of that trick."

The Setup

A four and a half to five star book that began as a five star book, dropped partway to a four star read and then rose again to a five star enjoyable finish. Now before I begin my proper review I have a disclaimer that the review you see here is due in part because I made a vow I would read this before (what is bound to be) an excellent film by Christopher Nolan.

I must now draw your attention ladies and gentleman to the apparatus of my next paragraph in which I will perform wonders most miraculous...

The Performance

I found the writing to be of top quality and in a slightly unusual style reminiscent of Mary Shelley's flowery use of language merged with Bram Stoker's quirky use of different perspectives. It is a book that when I read it I began to say from the start that the writing was exceptional.

There are several thematic elements and multiple subplots which were properly explored to fully explain and sustain the intrigue of the book. That said the book does end on a very mysterious note but I shall leave you to observe that magic for yourselves. I rather enjoyed reading the perspective of Alfred Borden and then switching to his rival Rupert Angier's perspective in order to observe the full picture and understand both mysterious secrets of the illusions they perfect in order to outplay the other at conjuring. In many ways this is a novel about secrets - secrets kept in order to preserve the magic of illusions and how those secrets affect the magician's lives. It is also the tale of an illusionist's war, a war in which both magicians attempt to reveal the secrets of each other's magic to the observing audiences and hence win the battle. I would say that this novel is one which is deeper than it appears and cannot help wondering if perhaps in the distant future it will be named as a classic because I believe it would prove capable of doing so if the popularity of Christopher Nolan's film does not destroy this intriguing version.

The Prestige

And now you see that I have completed a magical trick of such proportions that you cannot grasp its magnitude. Ah but I will not tell you how it works you see because I - like all true magicians - must carry out living the secret of my grand illusion to ensure no one knows how I perform such a trick. The magic is such that I suddenly have before you, where there was nothing, a fully completed review with a magical five star rating at the top. If that is not enough to convince you to give this a read then no other illusion will persuade you.

(exits in a flash of smoke and falling curtains)

End note: You know how there are times when you read a book and you go away and forget about it now matter how good the book was? Well I think a good book grabs you, becomes part of you and refuses to let go. And then when you encounter something with the similar subject matter you remember the book all over again. That is what this work is for me - a book that grabbed me. Now every time I see a magic trick I think of the various stages of performing that trick...