Review | Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

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“You know what, Harry? If he doesn’t stop trying to save your life he’s going to kill you.”

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All Harry Potter wants is to get away from the Dursleys and go back to 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.

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Ah, this one was really good!

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Despite having finished this book merely three weeks ago, I honestly can’t recall much of the plot of Chamber of Secrets. I remember the beginning with Dobby, yes, the narcissistic teacher (Ha, who can forget him?), Quidditch matches, the Polyjuice Potion and Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom, Draco being a git, Harry having to regrow his bones (*shivers*), all the er, paralyzing, and the ending. Forgive me if I leave out any details.

I liked it. I liked it quite a bit – maybe not as much as the first one, but I still enjoyed it, nonetheless. This one was without doubt, intenser (is that a word?) than the first, and a mystery begins to reveal itself. Harry, who I felt was slightly underdeveloped in the first novel, is beginning to blossom into an amazing protagonist, Ron and Hermione are just as spectacular as they were in the first book, Draco is as un-spectacular as he was in the first book, and we’re introduced to Ginny! I can’t wait to see how her character develops throughout the series.

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“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”  

Harry, Ron, and Hermione are certainly in for an excited second year at Hogwarts! Speaking of which, I never really noticed the ironic name of the school until now. Hogwarts – it’s warthog in reverse!

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I’m so clever…

The story takes off as Harry is visited at Privet Drive by a rather pestering house-elf named Dobby, who ceaselessly protests that something dreadful will occur if Harry returns to Hogwarts. Being the persistent (and stubborn) thirteen-year-old that Harry is, he ignores Dobby’s warnings and proceeds to the school…by driving Mr. Weasley’s magically enhanced, flying car there. Yep, that causes a wee bit of trouble.

“Of all the trees we could’ve hit, we had to get one that hits back.” 

But, ladies and gentlemen, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Not only, are students inscrutably being petrified to stone, but after everyone discovers that Harry is a parselmouth (a trait passed on from Salazar Slytherin, that allows you to speak to snakes) he is one of the prime suspects. Furthermore, rumors that the Chamber of Secrets, a mythical room that allegedly holds an appalling beast, may be opening once more…

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Ah, what more can I say about these characters? I still really really really like them all. Harry’s internal and external conflicts and how he deals with them, along with his occasional burst of rage and frustration or dry retorts were more than amusing to read. Hermione’s wits and haughtiness was just as perfect as it was in the first book, as was Ron’s snappy remarks and bickering with Hermione…my teenage girl romance sensors are tingling.

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A little more light is shed on Voldemort He-who-must-not-be-named, and it’d be down-right lie for me to say I expected that ending. You know a book is really affecting you, when you shiver just thinking about the antagonist.
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-Harry Potter! Yes, yes, yes! The first book was only 300 pages, so I can understand why Harry didn’t develop that much, but in Chamber of Secrets, he begins to unravel many of his strengths and flaws.

-I still like the characters from the first book, and I really liked Dobby. Hehe, that little house-elf is fantastic. I was laughing so hard every time he tried to save Harry (hence, the quote on the top). Fred and George continued to crack me up, and Ron and Hermione are still perfect for each other.

-I loved how Riddle’s Diary worked. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the purpose it serves to the plot fascinated me!

-Quidditch! Or more specifically, Lee Jordan’s commentary at the matches. Ha ha.

-The writing continues to entertain me, but I do wish there weren’t so many dialogue tags with adverbs. But hey, this is a Middle Grade novel – you get what you pay for.

-The ending was done much better than Sorcerer’s Stone. It was slightly more complex, and interested me more to be perfectly honest.

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-Geez, the pacing again! As I just mentioned, the ending was done much better that in the first novel, but the rest of the novel felt much too fast!

-I really wanted more Ginny! She really doesn’t show up until the end. *sigh*

-Where’s Dumbledore? I feel like he does nothing throughout the whole book and then just pops in at the end to explain everything to Harry. I really want to see more of him.

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Upon finishing this book, I was lying awake at 1 in the morning pondering, what’s next? If that isn’t a clear indicator that I’m officially hooked on this series, then I don’t know what is! I never really liked the idea of magic and wizards – I thought it was tacky and frankly, (don’t come after me with pitchforks, please.) stupid. These books have surely changed my opinion on that!

If you haven’t read this series yet, what are you waiting for? Read it! 😀

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