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



J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Book review by Daniela Chamorro Mantica

Ages 7+

Enemies of the Heir, beware; lovers of mystery, fantasy, and humor, welcome.

The second book in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series follows the formula and tone of the first book (read Daniela's review) in many ways: Harry and his best friends, Ron and Hermione, go to dangerous lengths to solve a mystery inside of Hogwarts, ending in them saving the day.

(Of course they do-they have five more books to go.)

collaged text and images from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, book 2 in the series

In this installment, Hogwarts is threatened by the re-opening of the mythical Chamber of Secrets, home to an unknown monster that only "The Heir of Slytherin" can control. The mystery is twofold: what is the monster, and who is the heir?

While the mystery remains unsolved, students, ghosts, and a cat end in the hospital wing, petrified by the monster. More incidents might mean closing Hogwarts, and we can't have that. The stakes are high this time around.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione take it upon themselves to find out because as the first book established, they can't quite help themselves. Suspect list includes Draco Malfoy, Hagrid, and Harry himself. They take a lot of wrong turns, but it's fun to watch them try. In the end, it's a good mystery and a satisfying resolution.

Floo powder, house elves, Mudbloods, Parseltongue, Knockturn Alley, Polyjuice Potion and mandrakes are just a few of these new discoveries. And we will definitely see them again in the world of Harry Potter. Just you wait.

There are plenty of characters to look forward to as well. An incompetent Professor Lockhart provides a humorous look into Defense Against the Dark Arts classes, which were absent from Sorcerer's Stone but promise to be hugely significant. Draco Malfoy joins the Slytherin Quidditch team, setting up plenty of rivalry for Harry.

Hagrid's love of scary magical beasts reveals itself once more. We visit the Weasley home for the first time. Ginny, the youngest Weasley sibling and Harry's biggest fan, starts her first year at Hogwarts. We also meet Dobby, the Malfoys' house elf.

Review - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

With this second book, Rowling proved that she did not set out to write seven unconnected mystery stories set at a wizarding school, but a series that built on itself. Chamber is crucial to the seven-book arc, casually setting up elements that return later in significant ways. Reread this book after finishing the entire saga and you'll be amazed at the subtle introduction Rowling gave to her overarching themes and plot.

Chamber of Secrets also proves that Rowling is a master of world-building. She felt no need to give every detail about the wizarding world in Sorcerer's Stone, so the discoveries we make alongside Harry only increase in this installment.

The tone and reading level remains about the same as that of Sorcerer's Stone. However, Chamber of Secrets adds plenty of new elements, making it perfect for the child (or adult) who fell in love with Harry in the first novel.

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And check out our somewhat tongue-in-cheek bad review of the first book, where we compare Harry Potter to the awful 1970s sitcom, Welcome Back Kotter.


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