Review: Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and The Chamber of SecretsTitle: Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets
Author: J.K. Rowling
Published: July 1998 (June 1999 in USA)
Author’s Website: http://www.jkrowling.com/
Genre: Fantasy, YA, teen

Review:  When Harry ignores Dobby the house elf’s pleas to not return to Hogwarts for his second year, the comical elf creates a bit of mischief that gets Harry locked in his room at 4 Privet Drive.  Luckily, his best friend, Ron, and Ron’s brothers bust him out and it isn’t long after their second year starts that trouble begins.

No sooner have they returned to Hogwarts than Harry begins to hear whispery voices in the walls.  Shortly thereafter, the first student turns up petrified with a message scrawled on the wall proclaiming “The Chamber of Secrets” has been opened.  Harry, Ron, and Hermione again find themselves trying to solve another mystery at Hogwarts.  As Hagrid is arrested as the one who opened the Chamber of Secrets*, he gives Harry and Ron a clue, which leads them to follow a trail of spiders into the Forbidden Forest where they meet Aragog, the leader of a clan of giant spiders. As the plot thickens, one of the trio ends up petrified and Ginny Weasley goes missing.  Once again, with a little help from unexpected sources, Harry has to save the day.

One of the things that makes this series great is J.K. Rowling’s ability to have her core characters interact believably, right down to the insults they hurl at each other, while introducing one or two characters in each book that are only main for the one book.  In The Chamber of Secrets, this character is the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Gilderoy Lockhart.  His Colgate smile and pompously charming personality endear him to some, while others wonder how someone so self-absorbed could have possibly done all he claims to have done in his books.

While The Chamber of Secrets is longer than The Sorcerer’s Stone, I only had one Teaser Tuesday:

He rolled up his sleeves, brandished his wand, and bellowed, “Peskipiksi Pesternomi!

It had absolutely no effect; one of the pixies seized his wand and threw it out of the window, too.

*To find out if Hagrid’s guilty of what he was arrested for, you’ll have to read the book.

Bottom Line:
Another great story.  We begin to see a bit of how magic can be used for nefarious purposes, and we are introduced to a few nastier creatures.  As most of the characters have returned from The Sorcerer’s Stone, there isn’t as much time devoted to setting up the world and introducing characters, leaving more time for building a story with a few twists and distractions, which Ms. Rowling does wonderfully.  The slightly darker story is still mostly light-hearted and is, again, easily recommended to everyone.

Teaser Tuesday: Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince (again)

Teaser Tuesday post for 16 December 2014:

Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling“Oh, come on, Harry,” said Hermione, suddenly impatient.  “It’s not Quidditch that’s popular, it’s you!  You’ve never been more interesting, and frankly, you’ve never been more fanciable.”

from Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling

 

Teaser Tuesday logo

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

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Review: Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone

Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's StoneTitle: Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone
Author: J.K. Rowling
Published: June 1997 (November 1998 in USA)
Author’s Website: http://www.jkrowling.com/
Genre: Fantasy, YA, teen

Review: In Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone.  Our introduction to “The Boy Who Lived”, Quidditch, Hogwarts and the Hogwarts Express, platform 9 3/4, wizard chess, Albus Dumbledore, Rubeus Hagrid, Severus Snape, 4 Privet Drive, the Dursleys, Parseltongue, Diagon Alley, Gringots and its goblin bankers, chocolate frogs, Bernie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, myriad other teachers and classmates, and, of course, Lord Voldemort.

Infant Harry is deposited on his aunt’s doorstep after his parents are murdered.  About eleven years later, the much maligned Harry is invited to attend Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft where he meets his future best friends, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, and his nemesis, Draco Malfoy.

Once the introduction to the characters and the world take place, which takes about the first half of the book, the main plot line of the first book gets rolling along.  Harry, Ron, and Hermione work together to overcome a series of challenges and prevent Lord Voldemort from getting his hands on The Sorcerer’s Stone.

With this book being relatively short, I only had one Teaser Tuesday:

“But from that moment on, Hermione Granger became their friend.  There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.”

Bottom Line:
I enjoy every one of the books in the Harry Potter series, and while I like some of the stories in other books better than the Sorcerer’s Stone bit, it’s difficult to not hold this book up as one of my favorites simply because it introduces us to the magical world and wonderful characters.  This book is so easy to recommend to everyone, kids, teens, adults, fans of the genre or not.

Teaser Tuesday: Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince

Teaser Tuesday post for 9 December 2014:

Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince by J. K. RowlingAt this, Fudge had actually laughed.
“My dear Prime Minister, are you ever going to tell anybody?”

from Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling

 

 

 

 

Teaser Tuesday logo

———————————————————————————–

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

—————————————————————————————————————————

BookBlogWriMo – Days Nineteen, Twenty

BookBlogWriMo.  Book Blog Writing Month.  Created by “Book Bumblings” as a book bloggers’ version of NaNoWriMo.  I found it through “Shattered Hearts Reviews“.

Day Nineteen – TBR (To Be Read) Books

(reread) Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

(reread) Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Beowulf as translated by J.R.R. Tolkien

Five Kingdoms:  Rogue Knight by Brandon Mull

Five Kingdoms:  Crystal Keepers by Brandon Mull (to be released March 2015)

Storm Siren:  Siren’s Fury by Mary Weber (to be released June 2015)

Neverwinter Saga:  Charon’s Claw by R.A. Salvatore

DEAD POET…Once Removed:  The Poetic Works of Walter J. Wojtanik (Volume I)  by Walt Wojtanik

There are, of course, many other books I plan to read, but these are the ones off the top of my head that I hope to read sooner than later.

Day Twenty – Best Books of 2014

While I read many good books this year, including most of the Harry Potter series (again), these are the only that I can identify as new this year, so they make my best of 2014.  They are also very good books, which is why Mull and Weber have sequels on my TBR list above.

Storm Siren by Mary Weber

Five Kingdoms:  Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull

The Fury Triad:  This Crumbling Pageant by Patricia Burroughs

BookBlogWriMo – Days Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen, Eighteen

BookBlogWriMo.  Book Blog Writing Month.  Created by “Book Bumblings” as a book bloggers’ version of NaNoWriMo.  I found it through “Shattered Hearts Reviews“.

Day Fifteen – Favorite Book Blogging Things

The Books, of course.  I love to read.  I like helping others, teaching others, giving great recommendations to others.  While I don’t necessarily categorize myself as a “book blogger”, I like to think that someone will read my review of a book and find their next favorite book or avoid reading a piece of crap.  I also like the occasional back and forth in blog comments about why a book was good or not.

Day Sixteen – Least Favorite Book Blogging Things

Finding/making the time to do it.  I think I’ve already established my super-slackerness.

Day Seventeen – Favorite Book Tropes

While I really like deep, multi-dimensional characters, I am also quite fond of the stereotypes.  I love a good fantasy with the haughty, law-abiding paladin, the sneaky rogue that the party doesn’t even know if they can trust, the bumbling gnome, the mighty moronic barbarian, the in-fighting between elves and dwarves, the wizard who can devastate and entire village with one fireball, but can’t fight off a kitchen rat.  In the horror, realm, I still love a good classic vampire story where they are burned by sunlight, can be kept at bay by crosses, and the older vamps are always more powerful than the younger ones.  I have no beef with the “our planet is dying, let’s take theirs” plot, or the search for a new Earth, or the “bug hunt” on one’s own ship.  Of course, I don’t mind when stories branch out and try to make their own mark, or create their own interpretation of classics, either…as long as the characters are well-written and the story is good.

Day Eighteen – Favorite Subgenres

Fantasy – Pretty much any subgenre, including high, teen, urban, paranormal romance.

Horror – Mostly by author:  Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Dan Simmons, George R. R. Martin, Poe.

Sci-Fi – Not the hard core sci-fi that gets into the weeds of how all the engines, drives, weapons, and such work.  I don’t care about all that, I just want the characters and story to be good…like those of Robert Heinlein.

Poetry – Keats, Frost, Wojtanik (if you don’t know his work, you should check out his latest collection: Dead Poet…Once Removed).

Self-improvement – Fiction and poetry writing, leadership, management, motivation.

 

BookBlogWriMo – Days Thirteen, Fourteen

BookBlogWriMo.  Book Blog Writing Month.  Created by “Book Bumblings” as a book bloggers’ version of NaNoWriMo.  I found it through “Shattered Hearts Reviews“.

Day Thirteen – My Review Process

I don’t have a process for much of anything I do, including blogging and reviews.  The closest thing I have to a process is that I use WordPress’s “copy a post” and then change the book-specific information so that most of my reviews look like the others.  Sometimes, I get right on the review as soon as I’ve finished the book.  Often, though, I finish a book and get right into the next one, which leaves me trying to remember the details of the previous book while filling my head with new plot and characters.  Too often, I find myself having to look back into books I’ve finished to accurately “remember” what happened.

Day Fourteen – My Rating System

In my reviews, I don’t have a rating system.  I either recommend the book or not.  In The Reading List, where I list the books I’ve read, I have a fairly simple system:

     XX – I recommend it to everyone
     X – I recommend it to fans of the genre and/or author
     No Xs – I don’t recommend it