Fantasy and science fiction author Cat Rambo shared some thoughts recently in one of her You Should Read This posts about John Bellairs, specifically what she feels makes The Face in the Frost so special:
John Bellairs wrote a host of children’s books, including one of my favorites, The House with a Clock in Its Walls, and a single adult novel, The Face in the Frost. I wish the ratio had been in the opposite direction, because The Face in the Frost just has such an engaging world and characters that I would have loved more of it. Much, much more. It’s a woefully slim little book, and I will not claim that it has the world’s most satisfying ending, but it delights me in so many ways.
Much of the book’s richness lies in the banter between the two old friends (there’s only one place it falls flat, and it says something about the quality of the texture elsewhere that the flat spot drives me a little nuts every time I read it), who are both skilled and eccentric wizards. The friendship is a longtime one, built of mutual affection, exasperation, and shared experience. Pieces of this book are a buddy roadtrip, taken through a series of small kingdoms, some only town-sized, and the supernatural menace is one that is genuinely haunting.
And because we've found a lot of people missed the news about it when it came out in 2009, here's some posts about the lost-now-found fragment of the Face sequel, The Dolphin Cross.