Book Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
By: J.K. Rowling
Published By: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: May 1999
Page Count: 251
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Middle Grades/Young Adult - Fantasy
I decided to reread the entire Harry Potter series as the next instalment in the series, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, is coming to the Palace Theatre in London this summer and I am ecstatic to be in possession of tickets! The movies have, to a larger extent, replaced some of the details from the books in my mind and I wanted a refresher course to make sure I hadn't missed anything!
To be fair to the movies, I feel like the Chamber of Secrets was quite faithfully recreated. Having said that, all the accessory scenes and small touches like Peeves really add to the feeling that made Hogwarts a home in the first place. I absolutely love all the flouncing of the completely incompetent Lockhart and how basically everyone can't stand him! Delicious writing!! Even better is Snape blowing him away in the Duelling Club.
The writing is very clever and precise to always place Ginny Weasley in the action, with a plausible reason for being scared and horrified... I didn't see it coming the first time and I do admire how well this is woven together. Another excellent example of the flaming obvious being easy to miss is Moaning Myrtle... I absolutely love it when the boys realise that they need to talk to her after avoiding her as best they can for ages before. One thing that disturbs me when I read this though is the Mandrakes... they are very human-like and Professor Sprout is going to merrily slaughter them to bring the petrified folk back... no one seems to notice or care about that murder!!
Finally, Dobby. I've always felt very torn about him. He is cute but quite frankly, kind of annoying. I think it is only his absolute loyalty to Harry that won me over. Knowing how it goes for him does endear him to me though, and makes his ridiculous efforts to save Harry's life all the more poignant.
Why didn't I give this 5 full birdies? I'm never sure, but I know this one just isn't quite as interesting or motivating for me as the other books. There is something missing. A little Hogwarts magic that needs sprinkling over the top... perhaps I needed a little more from the wizarding world here... I'm not sure. Anyone who has any ideas about why it might be a little smidgen not-as-good as the other books is welcome to share their thoughts in the comments below.
The Dursleys were so mean and hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he's packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike.
And strike it does. For in Harry's second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockheart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girls' bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley's younger sister, Ginny.
But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone--or something--starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects...Harry Potter himself.