THE GIRL WHO READ: HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS.
THE GIRL WHO READ…
A peculiar elf tells Harry to expect trouble during his second year at Hogwarts, but nothing can prepare him for trees that fight back, flying cars, spiders that talk and deadly warnings written in blood on the walls of the school.
Sitting down to write this I’ve actually just finished the Prisoner of Azkaban – which is a mistake I won’t be making again.
Note to self: Do not continue on to reading the next book until you’ve written your review Megan!!
But, like with the first book, the first thing I do when I’ve finished, is text Alex immediately and tell her my thoughts. So I do have those!
I think my overwhelming sense for the second book was…meh.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it. And actually I think I’ll have more to say about it than the first one. And I definitely got myself wrapped up and lost in the witchcraft and wizardry, because, well, it’s awesome. BUT.
Is the second book not just the first book but with a different cover?
Reading them back to back I found the repetitive nature of character and plot explanations quite irritating (although I can imagine they’d be super helpful if you’d not read the first one for example). I found myself nodding along, and urging J.K. to hop to it with the next bit, like, I know this already!!
Something I do really love about the seeming theme with the books though is how they always start back at the Dursley’s. These initial chapters really pack a punch, even if they are slightly repetitive and the Dursley’s family genuinely bring me so much joy.
That sounds kind of sadistic, doesn’t it? But I just really enjoy the storytelling and it definitely helps to draw you back in.
Dobby. Oh Dobby. I feel so conflicted. Part of me thinks he’s the cutest thing ever, but I also found him quite irritating. Is that okay to say? I wanted to shout at the book:
JUST TELL HARRY WHAT YOU MEAN, DOBBY!
So many times. But I did love how Harry was able to free him at the end. Take that Lucius!
I fell even more in love with the Weasley’s in this book – I feel like Ron’s mum is the mum everybody wants and I loved the description of their home and how much Harry loved it, too.
Gilderoy Lockhart. Oh wow. Is he the most irritating man to ever exist? I think he might be. I remember putting the book down before bed one evening and saying to Jamie. This guy, he’s the baddie isn’t he? I thought he had to be, given how ridiculous his character was…Obviously I got that wrong!
THE STORY & PLOT
The whole stint of Ron and Harry driving to school was brilliant – but I was actually petrified about the whomping willow. I was convinced they were going to die. HOW did they come out of that alive?!
However, the best thing about that whole chapter for me was the HOWLER. How amazing would it be to send/receive one of those?! I was silently giggling when Ron opened his. Blooming genius.
So getting into the nitty gritty secret stuff..At the end of chapter eight, Harry hears voices during his detention with Lockhart (which can I just say was decidedly less severe than last years detention in the forbidden forest!?) and this is where it starts to get interesting.
It seemed far too obvious for Draco to be the heir of slytherin. It made sense for the trio to jump to that conclusion, with him hating muggles so much, calling Hermione a mud blood (outrageous) and having the family connection, but it would’ve been so predictable and boring! So I didn’t feel too invested in that angle. But I did very much enjoy Hermione being turned into a giant cat in the process of them trying to work out whether it was Malfoy.
On page 115, Dean Thomas mentions that it’s a big monster guarding the Chamber of Secrets, and Harry had been hearing voices. We all know, Harry can speak to snakes. So then the penny dropped that whatever this monster was, it was a snake and that’s what Harry was hearing.
The thought of Hagrid being responsible for opening the Chamber of Secrets just seemed preposterous to me and thinking about him sitting in Azkaban absolutely broke my heart. I had no idea who it was, but it wasn’t bloody Hagrid was it!
Dumbledore being suspended was outrageous, too. And everyone loves Dumbledore so I was relieved that Lucius got caught out and thrown off the board for that dick move of bribery.
Even though I found this book a bit same-y, I do enjoy the continuity of everything falling into place in the last two chapters of both books. It makes it so fast paced!
Throughout the book they tried to make Percy seem suspicious, which I found really strange. Because was it just me, or did it never feel like Percy was the bad guy? Like, in the first one it could’ve been Snape, but it absolutely wasn’t Percy. It just felt like a very odd choice.
When Harry and Ron manage to wangle visiting Hermione after being caught by Professor Mcgonagall in the hallway alone and they find the piece of paper in her hand, the penny finally drops for them that the monster is a snake, aka a Basilisk.
Having realised that back in the earlier chapters I did feel like I was waiting for the reveal, so the suspense wasn’t really there. And I did think it was a bit far fetched that none of the characters had been killed by its stare because of convenient reflections. But, I’ll give J.K. the benefit of the doubt as I suppose it is a children’s book.
I may have been wrong about him being the bad guy, but Lockhart is a dick, isn’t he?! Totally ruining people’s lives for his fifteen minutes of fame when he’s clearly a massive fraud! I very much enjoyed him losing his memory and becoming even more idiotic than I thought possible though. The humour from the first book definitely carried through to this one, which I love.
The reveal of Tom Riddle being Voldemort was brilliant. Some of the plot twists/big events can be quite obvious (aka snake) but I never would’ve been able to work that out.
I have to say I’m really hoping that Harry starts to pull his finger out in the next books. Whilst I did find myself hooked on the Tom Riddle / Voldemort storyline, Harry didn’t do anything again!! Dumbledore gave him everything he needed! I mean sure, he had to use his brain to work out he needed to stab the book with the fang, but that phoenix pretty much sorted him out didn’t it?
I also absolutely did not suspect Ginny to be the one who was behind the whole Tom Riddle diary shenanigans. It was a good twist and an interesting way to insert Ginny’s character into the story more solidly as she was a bit of a non-event in the first book.
So to summarise, I did enjoy this book. It was as enjoyable and adventure filled as the first; but in my opinion is was too similar. People have told me to hold on to my hat for the next ones as they get really interesting and much more layered, so I’m looking forward to that.