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Friday, May 3, 2013

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

TITLE: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 
SERIES: Harry Potter, Book #2  
AUTHOR: J.K. Rowling 
PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury  
PUBLICATION DATE: 1998
FORMAT: Paperback, 251 pages  
GENRE: Juvenile Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy 
ISBN: 9781551923703
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 girl's bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley's younger sister, Ginny.

But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble beings, 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.

MY REVIEW:

I read this book aloud to my children. It was won a number of literary awards, including: 2008 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's Literature, 1999 British Book Award, 1999 Smarties Prize, and 1999 Booklist Editors' Choice.

At the start of the book, 12 year-old Harry is eagerly awaiting his return for his second year at Hogwarts. The Dursleys are hosting an important dinner for Mr. Dursley’s boss and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Mason, and Harry is supposed to remain out of sight so as not to embarrass them. Upon his return to his room, he finds a strange elf named Dobby who has come to warn Harry not to return to Hogwarts. When Harry finds out that Dobby has been stealing the letters from Ron and Hermione meant for Harry, he is furious. Dobby makes trouble for Harry and uses magic to send Mrs. Dursley’s dessert crashing to the floor and a furious Mr. Dursley forbids Harry from ever returning to Hogwarts. He installs iron grates over the window and takes away his magic books and wand and locks them up in the cupboard under the stairs. Poor Harry! Good thing that Ron and his twin brothers steal their father’s magical car and use it to tear the grate from the window and rescue Harry!

Harry stays with the Weasleys until school starts, and Dobby tries to prevent Harry from getting aboard the Hogwarts train by sealing the magical passageway to Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. The quick-thinking boys use Mr. Weasley’s car again to get to Hogwarts, although not without consequences!

The newness of Hogwarts still hasn’t rubbed off for me. I found it just as magical as the first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. In this installment, we are introduced to the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Gilderoy Lockhart. The women all swoon over this man, who has authored many books that recount his magical escapades. The book is a bit darker than the series debut, and Harry keeps hearing a chilling voice who whispers murderous words. Victims are becoming petrified, essentially turning into statues, and it seems to have to do with a Chamber of Secrets that was opened many years before. The key lies in a mysterious book that falls into Harry’s possession, which was owned by a Hogwarts student named Tom Riddle.

My kids and I absolutely loved this book! It was filled with so much excitement, and it was the highlight of our day to read this at bedtime each night. Even at such a young age, it is easy to see that Harry is becoming a very powerful wizard. I love the whole “good versus evil” tone that Rowling has created.

As was with the first one, I love how Rowling ends off the book with such a touching scene between Dumbledore and Harry. Dumbledore always offers Harry sage insight and treats him with such warmth and love, and I couldn’t help getting misty-eyed.

My thoughts on the movie: Loved it! I am so happy that the producer did not take liberties with the movie adaptation and kept the movie unfolding in much the same manner as the book. We enjoyed picking out the minor inconsistencies here and there. Hands down, my favourite character is Mrs. Weasley. She is such a hoot, and the scene with Ron’s Howler is one of our favourite parts. 

MY RATING:

View all my reviews

4 comments:

  1. I liked the first two movie adaptations a lot! The third one I wasn't as impressed with and I actually haven't seen the rest, so I'll be curious to hear your thoughts if you go on with the series :)

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    1. I'll be posting my review soon for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban!

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  2. That's so cute that you read it with your kids! I think Hogwarts will always be magical to me, too :)

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    1. They loved it! I'm loving that we're reading it together.

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