Tuesday, August 4, 2009

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

After the events of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, I was more than a little excited to take the next step, and return to the world of Harry Potter in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, as my re-reading of the first four books in route to finishing reading the whole series continues on its way. J. K. Rowling wrote a fun first step in the series, and I was looking for a sequel just as enjoyable.

Following the events of the first book, Harry Potter is back with the Dursley’s, wondering if the summer will ever come to an end so he can return to Hogwarts and the happier parts of his life. He is saddened by the fact that his friends seem to have forgotten him, and aren’t writing, but he maintains hope that he will soon return to his beloved school. However, as more and more things go wrong, Harry’s fate seems far from certain.

Yet, as things are their darkest, Harry is saved by his friends and returns to Hogwarts, albeit in an unusual fashion. Once he finally arrives, the year begins on an up note, despite the self-centered new instructor, Gilderoy Lockhart. But things take a turn for the worst when students start to be attacked, and Harry, Ron, and Hermione set out to save Hogwarts from the clutches of evil yet again.

The novel starts of a bit slow, taking a while for things to get up to speed, which they do around the time Harry returns to Hogwarts. Once there, Rowling returns to her comfort zone, writing great scenes in the magical world and playing the three main characters off each other brilliantly. The mysterious voices that Harry begins to hear throughout the castle, as well as the shocking attacks, weave a mystery through the book that is a very nice way to build suspense and keep the story going.

The characters continue to be well-done, with each staying true to what Rowling had previously created, while showing new sides of themselves, and developing and growing in front of the reader. The ending is satisfying, closing this chapter of Harry Potter’s times at Hogwarts with a complete ending that also leaves some issues unresolved, and questions about Voldemort’s fall from power are compelling.

Rowling continues to show that she is an excellent storyteller with a great story to tell, and does so in a very engaging and exciting manner. She has left me chomping at the bit to move on to the third book in the series.


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