The Face in the Frost by John Bellairs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I read this book on recommendation from a good friend in Providence. While I liked the slow build up of existential dread and the geographic/political background that the author was able to fit into a short story, I had a few issues with the book that prevented me from giving it a higher rating.
First of all, I thought that the magic system, was pretty silly. I understand that there is a long standing history of this sytem where words and items create magical effects. Thats not my concern,
There is a part where a character creates a miniature replica of a model ship, which somehow has everything working inside it, from the canons and lamps, to exact copies of books. I could understand if everything was just vague copies of it, but this seems absurd. A similar thing happened with a plant elevator which for some reason on its own (without attributing agency or intelligence) lifted the characters up a mountain, let them off at the top, and then unwraped around them without any additional commands other than the first one. I find that a bit sloppy.
Lastly, I thought that the end was seriously anti-climactic and this was unfortunate because after all the good build up, I was curious about how it would end. There was also a deus ex machina character who just saves the day right at the end. Ughhhh.... could have been so much better... thats why it only gets a 3 out of 5
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