Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling
Publication Date: 1999 by Scholastic Press, a division of Scholastic Inc.
Recommended Age Group: 12 and Up
Summary: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets starts out with Harry in the summer between his first and second year at Hogwarts. It is about the time of his twelfth birthday. Dobby, the house elf, comes to warn him of the impending danger of going to school that year because there is a plot against him. When it comes time to ride the train to school they can’t get onto the platform and Harry and his friend Ron use Ron’s Dad’s flying car to get to school and land in the whomping willow, a tree that smashes everything that gets in it’s path. When they escape from the whomping willow they are chastised for what they did to the tree and get in trouble for not getting on the train, not that they could have if they wanted to. When they start classes they meet their new teacher, Gilderoy Lockhart, who is a real ladies man who has written many popular books but seems to have no idea how to use magic. They boys can see right though this guy and are irritated at the girls reaction. Next the Gryffindor Quidditch team receives quite the surprise when they see the Slytherin team come up with new brooms and a new player, Draco Malfoy, Harry’s nemesis. While Harry Ron and Hermione are coming back from Sir Nicholas’s Deathday Party they find a cat frozen on the wall with a message that reads, “The Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Enemies of the Heir, beware.” This starts many roomers that Harry is the heir of slytherin and that he intends to take over the school and kill everyone. We learn later that it is really Lord Voldemort who has gained power through an enchanted journal and is taking over Ginny Weasley to do his dirty work. In the end the path to the camber is through a sink in an abandoned girl’s restroom. Harry fights and defeats the heir and the Basilisk, a giant snake that Lord Voldemort is controlling. Ginny is saved from Lord Voldemort’s power and all ends well.
Personal Notes: I loved this book for the same reasons I appreciated the first one. There is a lot of magic in it, which may be bad in the opinions of some, but I don’t think it really encourages magic, I think that the main idea here is to be a hero and to look out for other people. I don’t think that this is a message that anyone, if they had really read the book would object to. I also think this is a fun and easy book for people who aren’t really good readers. This one, I think more than the first, keeps the readers attention and creates a feeling of suspense. A fabulous addition to the Harry Potter collection.
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