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:
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.


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