Published September 1st 2014 by Bloomsbury (first published July 2nd 1998)
Author: J. K. Rowling
Genre: Fantasy, fiction, YA/Children’s
Star rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“Not for the first time, an argument had broken out over breakfast at number four, Privet Drive.”
“There is a plot, Harry Potter. A plot to make most terrible things happen at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry this year.”
Harry Potter’s summer has included the worst birthday ever, doomy warnings from a house-elf called Dobby, and rescue from the Dursleys by his friend Ron Weasley in a magical flying car! Back at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for his second year, Harry hears strange whispers echo through empty corridors – and then the attacks start. Students are found as though turned to stone… Dobby’s sinister predictions seem to be coming true.
I started this book almost as soon as I’d finished the first one. I was most excited about just having the story, the journey, continue, rather than the plot. I feel like this one is still finding it’s feet with the story – Harry is still very young, and after the wonder of the first year, the second year hints at more danger but takes it time.
I expected the plot to move along faster than it did, but it wasn’t until page 299 that we actually got to the Chamber of Secrets. I still enjoyed the book, but found that it was much more about working things out, using intelligence and teamwork to get to the bottom of why all the attacks are happening.
And because I already knew the story, it was a bit deflating to have all the action crammed into two chapters near the end. The Basilisk wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be either, and there wasn’t enough action and fighting for me, it just all happened very quick! The idea of the monster in the chamber, and the wonder about where it could be and the fact that someone has opened it, that was suspenseful.
“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
The best thing about this book? DOBBY IS HERE. Dobby is an amazing character, even though he does try to scupper Harry’s chances of getting into Hogwarts, and tries to kill him. He’s a wonderful house elf who means well, just has a strange way of going about things. Also, I’m not sure about his compulsive need to harm himself after saying or doing anything that he deems as wrong. I don’t know much about house elf behaviour yet, and don’t know if this is what they all do, or if it’s just Dobby.
I hope there will be a lot more of him in the coming books, because him and Harry make good companions, and he’s too good a character to just disappear into thin air at the end of this one.
Another favourite aspect of this one is the fact that Harry finds out why he can communicate with snakes. He’s a Parseltounge. I loved the scene where he talks to the snake to stop it from attacking. It’s something that’s just a part of him, so it’s scary but also fascinating to find out why. I don’t like snakes much in real life, but I love them in these books.
Apparently, this one is people’s least favourite of the series, and I can see why. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just that we haven’t got into the nitty-gritty of the Harry Potter universe yet. I mean, okay we’ve had Voldemort in both the first ones, but everything has been very tame. This book is the middle-ground, I think, before we get to the really good wizarding stuff!
One of my favorite moments in this book is the proof that loyalty to Dumbledore pays off, that loyalty isn’t just a word, or something you just say you are or want to be, it actually has the weight of power and influence here, and is ultimately what saved Harry.
Link to the book on Goodreads: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Read my review of the previous book in the series:
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone