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The Big ReadHarry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

J K Rowling

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (4 Reviews)
Book Details

Publisher : Bloomsbury

Published : 1998

Copyright : J. K. Rowling 1998

ISBN-10 : HB 0-7475-3849-2
ISBN-13 : HB 978-0-7475-3849-3

Publisher's Write-Up

Harry Potter is a wizard. He is in his second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Little does he know that this year will be just as eventful as the last...

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Nadine (230706) Rating (9/10)
Review by Nigel (011001) Rating (7/10)
Review by Chrissi (310501) Rating (8/10)
Review by Ray (280201) Rating (7/10)

Review by Nadine
Rating 9/10
When I mentioned to my other half that I wouldn't mind reading the first Harry Potter book to see what all the fuss was about, the dear love made a mental note for Christmas. However, there were three volumes out by this time, and he didn't know which one came first. So he bought all three.

I'm not sure if I would have dashed off to read The Chamber of Secrets after finishing Book One if I didn't already have it. Much as I enjoyed the first one, I had got the idea into my head that each volume would be a separate, self-contained adventure, with little or no continuity of plot beyond Harry's progression in years, so there was no urgency in the "what happens next?" sense. But there it was, within arm's reach under the Christmas tree, so I picked it up.

Once again my preconceptions were proved wrong. Harry's second year as a trainee wizard revealed deeper insights into his past and it became apparent that this was no series of light-hearted adventures. This was the start of a saga.

Chamber of Secrets has a somewhat darker atmosphere than its predecessor, with the plot revolving around a menacing presence at Hogwarts School. Threatening messages are daubed in blood on the walls... Harry repeatedly hears a chilling, disembodied voice that nobody else can hear... and something unseen is hunting down students of non-magical parentage.

It's a gripping, action-packed tale that equals, and possibly exceeds Book One in terms of drama and suspense. There is a more tangible mystery than that in The Philosopher's Stone. Whereas the first book gave a sense that something strange was going on somewhere out there, Chamber of Secrets provides a more immediate feeling of danger. Something strange is going on right here, at Hogwarts, and someone is to blame. But who? And why? It greatly appealed to the Agatha Christie fan in me.

The same delightful characters are back on top form, along with some wonderful new faces. The self-satisfied but inept Gilderoy Lockhart is sublimely comical, and the deliciously sinister Lucius Malfoy adds a touch of villainous elegance.

Having learned from experience that Rowling's plots are not to be taken at face value, I prepared myself for clever twists in the tale, paid more attention to detail and tried to work out what was going to happen. But even forearmed, I came nowhere near guessing the truth. The twist, when it came, was gloriously unexpected. Once again I read and re-read the passage where the truth emerged, shaking my head in wonder at my complete failure to puzzle it out. It seems so obvious in hindsight, but then the best mysteries always do.

Chamber of Secrets supplies a wealth of new information about Harry's past and some hints about his destiny. Many foundations are laid for subsequent books, so readers would do well to pay attention. It's all done quite subtly, and the importance of some of this information isn't revealed until much later in the series. But unlike the first book, this one leaves you with the feeling that there is much more to come.

I think it's safe to say that Chamber of Secrets was the point of no return for me.
Nadine (23rd July 2006)

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Review by Nigel
Rating 7/10
After finishing his first year at Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft Harry Potter is spending the summer holidays at his Aunt and Uncles. As usual they are making his life hell and to his relief he is rescued by Ron in a flying car and gets to spend the last few weeks at the home of Ron Weasley and family.

Even before Harry gets back to Hogwarts for the start of his second year things start to go wrong as he and Ron can't get onto the Hogwarts Express and have to find there own way to the school, causing a bit of a stir in the process.

As the year progresses people are being petrified and rumour is rife that the heir of Slytherin has opened the Chamber of Secrets and released a monster to clear the school of muggle born wizards. As you can guess Harry becomes very involved and breaks a 'few' school rules on this quest for the truth.

Similar to the first Harry Potter this story fair whizzes along and I found it hard to put down. I'm not sure if it's because Ms Rowling's writing style is just so easy to read or that it's a children's book but you do find yourself gliding over the pages really living the story. Very good… pass the next one Chrissi!!

Nigel (1st October 2001)

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Review by Chrissi
Rating 8/10
This is the story of Harry's second year at Hogwarts. He and Ron very nearly did not get there for the beginning of the school year, and had to use an illegally enchanted car to make it in time, which opens the story with a bit of a bang.

Harry learns more about the use of magic, and how objects which have belonged to people can be used to achieve things, he also learns more about people who were at Hogwarts school in the past.

His enemy Lord Voldemort is still out there, hatching his revenge somewhere, but Harry is happier at school than he ever has been anywhere else.

I can see why this book confirmed Harry's position in the hearts of children, he is growing up, learning about things which fascinate children, and he is able to do things which you would love to be able to do, flying a broomstick sounds good to me, even if Quidditch is a bit complicated to understand.

Note about the Harry Potter books
I have been careful not to give away too much of the story, because even the cover jackets are very light on details. It would be a shame to spoil the story by doing this. They do it on the blurb for most adult books, and it annoys me, so I have not done it here.
Chrissi (31st May 2001)

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Review by Ray
Rating 7/10
Having spent the summer at his nasty Aunts and Uncles, Harry is itching to get back to Hogwarts to continue learning magic. Harry arrives in style and with a bump!

Plenty of side plots and the same feeling of hoping the bad guy gets it in a minute keeps you reading this book to the end.

A beast is prowling the corridors of the school and does Harry's arch enemy have anything to do with it? Will the new teacher of the Dark Arts, a post that rarely anyone survives(?!?) get in Harry's way or is there something he isn't telling him? Who is the Heir of Slytherin? Will Hagrid's fondness for animals who'd sooner eat you than sit in a basket in front of a fire be the death of Harry and his friends ?

You can literally feel the build up to a final showdown as you read each page and the ending will be a surprise even to you!

This book is as good as its predecessor and has equally as many surprises and twists. The plot is quite impressive and by now you will be getting used to the team of three, Harry, Ron and Hermoine.

You will also be getting used to the school, the baddies, the goodies and even (sadly enough) the rules for Quidditch.

If you have read the first book and enjoyed it, then this will be an essential read. Go on , you know you want to!
Ray (28th February 2001)

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