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The Face in the Frost (1969)

por John Bellairs

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
6361827,164 (4.07)66
A fantasy classic by the author of The House with a Clock in Its Walls--basis for the Jack Black movie--and "a writer who knows what wizardry is all about" (Ursula K. Le Guin).  A richly imaginative story of wizards stymied by a power beyond their control, A Face in the Frost combines the thrills of a horror novel with the inventiveness of fairy tale-inspired fantasy.   Prospero, a tall, skinny misfit of a wizard, lives in the South Kingdom--a patchwork of feuding duchies and small manors, all loosely loyal to one figurehead king. Along with his necromancer friend Roger Bacon, who has been on a quest to find a mysterious book, Prospero must flee his home to escape ominous pursuers. Thus begins an adventure that will lead him to a grove where his old rival, Melichus, is falsely rumored to be buried and to a less-than-hospitable inn in the town of Five Dials--and ultimately into a dangerous battle with origins in a magical glass paperweight.   Lin Carter called The Face in the Frost one of "the best fantasy novels to appear since The Lord of the Rings . . . Absolutely first class." With a unique blend of humor and darkness, it remains one of the most beloved tales by the Edgar Award-nominated author also known for the long-running Lewis Barnavelt series.… (mais)
  1. 00
    The Sword in the Stone por T. H. White (themulhern)
    themulhern: I can't help thinking of Prospero as being very much inspired by the T. H. White's Merlin.
  2. 00
    Howl's Moving Castle por Diana Wynne Jones (CurrerBell)
    CurrerBell: ... although I personally don't care for either.
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When Ursula Le Guin called it "unpretentious", she got that right. This is much like John Bellairs' other books, except that there are no children in it, and no fun local colour, either. The plot is incoherent, the evil somehow great but easily defeated by a bunch of buffoons. The book does offer some funny magical predicaments, as well as a humorous magical house. I think Bellairs read "The Sword in the Stone" with enjoyment, and decided to make his wizard resemble T. H. White's Merlin, but without the pathos. ( )
  themulhern | Nov 7, 2020 |
'The Face in the Frost' is one of those books that, when finished, made me shrug, and think "Well, that happened." Except, this book refuses to go away. I finished it Friday night and scenes keep replaying in my head. I hadn't appreciated the book when I first read it in middle school - I wanted more of his juvenile mysteries, not a fantasy pastiche. Now, I know better. Bellairs had been inspired by 'The Lord of the Rings', but wanted more humanity in his characters, and less archetypes, and so created his Prospero (not that one) and Roger Bacon (maybe that one) to run around a version of late medieval England.

The plot is simple: Bacon comes to Prospero for help in locating a book. An evil wizard starts tracking their movements and the two realize there's evil afoot. The genuine horror elements clash with the light-hearted, anachronistic fantasy, which leaves a reader off guard. You don't know what to expect.

My opinion of this is improving the more I think about it, but for the most part this still reminds me of 'Three Hearts and Three Lions' and other early modern fantasies that almost captured something, but leaves most modern readers equally entertained and nonplussed.

Despite the critical success of this book, Bellairs turned away from fantasy to focus on his successful juvenile books. The book was included on the reading list in the back of one of the early 'Dungeons and Dragons' manuals, too, which is a fun future list for me to explore. There was an unfinished sequel posthumously published in the 'Magic Mirrors' anthology that I may have to track down now, and a prequel short story was finished, but is considered lost after the anthology it was submitted to was never published. ( )
1 vote ManWithAnAgenda | May 24, 2020 |
The Face in the Frost is by author John Bellairs who specialized in writing spooky tales for young readers. This story totally enchanted me with it’s magic, humor and adventure. The main character, Prospero and his best friend Roger Bacon are elderly wizards in a fantasy land. When a series of supernatural manifestations begin to haunt Propero’s home, the two friends set out on a quest to discover the source of these evil occurrences. On their journey they encounter ghosts, wild beasts, and nightmares of all types, yet these wizards fight back with their magic staffs and chanted spells. They never give up, and their humor never deserts them.

Although this book is for children, and the plot is fairly simple, this author has a wonderful way with words, mixing whimsical fairy tale language and strange inventive wizard words into the flow of the narrative. There isn’t much in the way of violence instead the author creates a sense of danger by bending reality into nightmare scenes and keeping our two wizards in a constant state of dread.

A very short novel of less than 200 pages, The Face in the Frost was a delightful way to spend an afternoon and introduced me to a couple of very lovable wizards. The writing is a blend of dark Gothic and fanciful lightness that at times is spooky and at others silly. I wish I had read this when I was young because I know I would have been totally caught up in this magical tale. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Aug 19, 2019 |
Bellairs is best known for his children's books, with an added boost recently from The House With a Clock in Its Walls being released as a movie.

This isn't a kids' book. Not that it contains any inappropriate content, and there are undoubtedly kids who would enjoy it.

This book, though, is aimed at adults who will enjoy the wordplay, the humor that rests on familiarity with things kids the age of Bellairs' usual readers haven't read yet, being aware of who the "other" Prospero is and recognizing the name of Roger Bacon, and...but no. Wait. Kids would enjoy the transition from the comic beginnings to the terrifying opponent.

The basic story isn't remarkable. Two good wizards discover evidence of an evil wizard at work with dark intentions, and set out to stop him. What is remarkable is graceful, elegant, and extremely funny use of language and familiar literary imagery to create a delightfully original and absorbing story for adult readers.

I have a deep and abiding love for this story, and its author, and, weirdly, for the discovery that the women's Catholic college he taught English at for a year, and was deeply unhappy at, was in fact my own alma mater--and that he was fondly remembered there as a good, likable, interesting guy--not by the English department, but by the history department. And specifically, the chair of the history department, who was my adviser.

It's the sort of whimsy that's entirely appropriate for John Bellairs. Who, yes, really was a good, likable, interesting guy.

This story is highly recommended and a lot of fun.

I bought this audiobook. ( )
  LisCarey | Mar 16, 2019 |
It has been decades since I read this book and it was time to read it again. The book is a jewel and shows how to use language effectively. Yes, it sent chills through me when it was trying for horror.

I don't usually read horror and I think this falls more into dark fantasy. Yes, there were some scary moments, but they were in no way graphic, more menacing than anything. And I loved the main characters with their quirky habits.

Who would like this? Anyone who enjoys well-written fantasy. I think if you liked The Last Unicorn, you would also like this book. ( )
  Jean_Sexton | Feb 10, 2018 |
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» Adicionar outros autores (4 possíveis)

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
John Bellairsautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculated
Fitschen, MarilynIlustradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Morrill, RowenaArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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Prospero and Roger Bacon, the two main characters in a story that seems crammed with wizards, were wizards.
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A fantasy classic by the author of The House with a Clock in Its Walls--basis for the Jack Black movie--and "a writer who knows what wizardry is all about" (Ursula K. Le Guin).  A richly imaginative story of wizards stymied by a power beyond their control, A Face in the Frost combines the thrills of a horror novel with the inventiveness of fairy tale-inspired fantasy.   Prospero, a tall, skinny misfit of a wizard, lives in the South Kingdom--a patchwork of feuding duchies and small manors, all loosely loyal to one figurehead king. Along with his necromancer friend Roger Bacon, who has been on a quest to find a mysterious book, Prospero must flee his home to escape ominous pursuers. Thus begins an adventure that will lead him to a grove where his old rival, Melichus, is falsely rumored to be buried and to a less-than-hospitable inn in the town of Five Dials--and ultimately into a dangerous battle with origins in a magical glass paperweight.   Lin Carter called The Face in the Frost one of "the best fantasy novels to appear since The Lord of the Rings . . . Absolutely first class." With a unique blend of humor and darkness, it remains one of the most beloved tales by the Edgar Award-nominated author also known for the long-running Lewis Barnavelt series.

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