This is an attempt at a short reader-friendly post, because I know I can get a little…wordy. And I figure if I can’t write a short review of a book I’ve read 100 times and reviewed before on this blog, then I am hopeless.
For those who haven’t read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the loose plot is that orphan Harry Potter attends Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for his second year of school. There are a series of attacks on students, whispers from a strange voice only Harry can hear, and talk of The Chamber of Secrets, a secret room in the castle where one of the school founders, Salazar Slytherin, hid a hideous monster that will rid the school of any students without proper wizarding heritages.
I did not do that justice. (I hope you have read it.) One of the things that really struck me this time through is that the chamber of secrets isn’t mentioned until about halfway through the book. There is a ton of set up in the first half.
If you haven’t read the book (again, I hope you have), it probably sounds terribly boring. That’s how you describe books where the reviewers say “Stick through the first half, it picks up around the middle and you don’t want to miss the end!”. But… Harry Potter is never slow. Every single page is exciting and has conflict and fun. JK Rowling takes Harry, puts him in a bad situation, makes it as bad as you think it can go, then makes it even worse.
Harry is miserable and abused with his aunt and uncle. Dobby didn’t just make it difficult for him to stay out of their way. He showed up at the absolute worst time ever, then actively got Harry in trouble. THEN, the letter arrives from the Ministry of Magic alerting Harry’s Uncle that he is not permitted to do magic and, no longer frightened of Harry in the slightest, Vernon Dursley locks Harry in his room–bars on the windows and everything.
This review is longer than I was hoping it would be and there is still so much to talk about. I’m sure I’ll review it again soon, so I’ll leave you with my final thoughts: the books flow so effortlessly. There is not one single page that isn’t entertaining. It’s intimidating, but inspiring.
This book counts toward the following chanllenges: 100+, Read Me Baby One More Time, and the Hogwarts Reading Challenge. Track my progress on the 2011 Challenges Page.