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46 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid second novel, as good as the first., October 17, 2007
This review is from: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Hardcover)
Rowling wastes no time further developing the world she introduced first in PHILOSOPHER'S STONE. While the first book got us acclimated to her magical world, it is here, in the CHAMBER OF SECRETS, she really begins expanding the vocabulary of that universe.

Apparently, Potter, at this early stage in the story, is already in grave danger. He has a house elf named Dobby appear to him in his uncle's house, warning him he must not go back to Hogwarts. Dobby even gets Harry in trouble with the Ministry For Magic (thus reads the unaltered UK edition, rather than the Americanized "Ministry of Magic"). When Harry and Ron try to get onto Platform 9 and ¾ they find the way blocked, an so have to (illegally) take a flying car Arthur Weasley, Ron's father, had enchanted. Once they land, Severus Snape reads them the riot act, for they have been spotted by muggles. And that's just the opening section. Danger doesn't stop there.

Murders and attacks begin to occur within the school, and whispers of a dark area known as the Chamber of Secrets somewhere in the castle, where the Heir of Slytherin has bred a monster, is begingin to circulate. Apparently this Chamber has been opened before, and the last time it was opened, someone was murdered.

It is here, in the second novel, we are first introduced to Potter's ability to speak Parseltongue, though we were told of this ability in the first book. Here this ability takes ominous overtones, for it is thought the Heir of SLytherin, the one who can open the Chamber of Secrets and command Slytherin's monster, would also be able to speak parseltongue, and so Potter must endure persecution on that front as well.

A funny character in this one is Gildery Lockhart, that fraud of a teacher who is world famous and takes credit for work that is no this.. His fate is well deserved.

Eventually, Harry finds his way into the Chamber of Secrets, and through the aid of Fawkes the Phoneix, fights off the magical beast of Slytherin and learns more about Tom Riddle, the boy who would become Voldemort.

Ultimately, All of these mysteries are unraveled, and Potter and the gang are safe again. However, in typical Rowling fashion, there are some central facts regarding the storyline that would not emerge until much later in the series. It is not until Book 6 we learn the importance of Tom Riddle's diary, and that it in fact a Horcrux.

Rowling introduces some new features and characters in her universe. It is here in CHAMBER OF SECRETS we first really get to meet Ginny Weasely (though she appears briefly in Book 1), who at this early stage has a crush on Harry though Harry does not return this crush. We are shown the Whomping Willow, Aragog the giant spider, and are given more backstory on Hagrid. We are shown Polyjuice Potion, and learn about Moaning Myrtle, the ghost in the third floor lavatory. We see that Hogwarts is not as safe as you may suppose (though the school was never THAT safe to begin with). Probably one of the most important additions to Rowling's cast of characters is Dobby, the house elf who would became a major character throughout the remainder of the series.

CHAMBER OF SECRETS shows, more than anything, that the success of PHILOSPHER'S STONE was not a fluke accident, and it is with this novel we get the first real rumblings of the Pottermania that was about to take over the globe. This book is easily as readable as the first, and most readers will fly through this novel.

This is my order of Potter books by preference:
Deathly Hallows
Prisoner of Azkaban
Order of the Phoenix
Philosopher's Stone/Chamber of Secrets (I rank them both the same)
Half-Blood Prince
Goblet of Fire.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 22, 2007, 9:02:48 PM PDT Great review btw

Posted on Nov 27, 2011, 4:55:41 PM PST
Jamie Flower says:
Why do you have Half-Blood Prince ranked so low? I think that was the best book. (Prisoner of Azkaban was a better movie, though)

Posted on Jun 27, 2016, 3:31:00 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 27, 2016, 3:31:08 PM PDT]
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