Book Review – “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”

This is more spoilerish than the previous review. I still plan to review the first four novels before the fifth comes out on June 21st.

General Information

Title: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Author: J. K. Rowling
Original Publication Date: 1998
ISBN: 1-55912-614-8
Cover Price: $11.95 Can
Buy from Amazon.ca

Premise

In Harry Potter’s second year of wizard school, a monster is unleashed
on the student body.

High Point

Gilderoy Lockhart. I laugh at all of his scenes.

Low Point

The true heir of Slytherin, who is responsible for all the attacks on
Muggle-born students, isn’t even a pureblood?

The Scores

This doesn’t seem quite as original as the first, probably
because it’s so similar in tone and characters. I give it 5 out of 6.


The imagery in this book is much like that of the first book;
scarce on detail, but the essentials are covered. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story is a little more focussed than the first, but it
suffers as a mystery. As I said in the comments of the first book’s review, the
mystery could be uniquely solved just before Harry confronted the
villain. That’s not the case here. Two suspects could be eliminated,
but the information needed to distinguish between the last two
suspects wasn’t provided until after the villain had been defeated.
I don’t believe it’s possible to solve the mystery uniquely before the
solution is revealed. (I’m open to people who want to offer
information I’ve missed, though.) I give it 4 out of 6.



The characterization seems a little bland. Gilderoy
Lockhart, Tom Riddle, Colin, and Dobby are the only new characters
this time around, and only two are well done. (Tom and Colin are
pretty one-dimensional.) The characters we’ve already met, however,
are virtually identical to what they were like in the previous book.
There was very little growth. This may be good for the target
audience, but I’m not satisfied with it. (I remember loving the Hardy
Boys books until the Hardy Boys: Casefiles series started up and the
characters actually changed.) I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response was a little weaker than the first.
It didn’t have the same sense of wonder that comes with doing
something new, after all. Still, Lockhart made me laugh, Colin got on
my nerves, and Draco is easy to hate. I give it 4 out of 6.



The editing is better this time, with a greater focus on the
main story. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, this is a great book for the target audience and
enjoyable for the rest of us. That’s a hard balance to maintain, so I
give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets receives 31
out of 42.

5 replies on “Book Review – “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets””

  1. Jhon says:

    High point
    For me, the high point was Harry visiting the Wesley household — great insight to a wizard family and great insight to Fred and George.

  2. seldon says:

    Low Point
    The true heir of Slytherin, who is responsible for all the attacks on Muggle-born students, isn’t even a pureblood?

    Ironic, isn’t it? It’s been a while since I read the books, but IIRC Goblet of Fire shows us that Tom Riddle’s parentage is one of the reasons why he hates Muggles so much. I am not sure if the fact that he his half Muggle will play a part on later books, but maybe it will.

    Also, Voldemort is a direct descendant of Slytherin, and a paerselmouth. Half Muggle or not, he is more powerful than most pureblood wizards and his blood can be traced to one of the most prestigious wizards that ever lived. I’m sure that in his mind these factors “cure” him of his muggle stigma.

    • fiziko says:

      Re: Low Point

      It’s been a while since I read the books, but IIRC Goblet of Fire shows us that Tom Riddle’s parentage is one of the reasons why he hates Muggles so much.

      In this one we learned that his father left his mother when he learned she was a witch, although it doesn’t say why she didn’t raise him on her own.

      The Low Point was actually a toss-up between this and Ron’s broken wand. It was needed for a story point late in the book, but it was a feeble one. We know why the wand wasn’t replaced right away, but I can’t imagine a wizard surviving a year at wizard school with something that defective. He’d have almost certainly broken down and asked for a new one, just to pass.

      • pythor says:

        Re: Low Point

        The Low Point was actually a toss-up between this and Ron’s broken wand. It was needed for a story point late in the book, but it was a feeble one. We know why the wand wasn’t replaced right away, but I can’t imagine a wizard surviving a year at wizard school with something that defective. He’d have almost certainly broken down and asked for a new one, just to pass.

        Admittedly… And the story point would have been as well satisfied by having the wand break again shortly before it was needed. That way, we add a little suspense over how Ron’s mother is going to respond to the second broken wand in one year, followed by a satisfaction as he gets rewarded with a new one for a job well done.

    • Stevis says:

      Re: Low Point
      Don’t forget, as well, that in this universe it’s not our blood but our choices that define us. Tom Riddle/Lord Voldemort chose to become the heir of Slytherin, and thus didn’t need to be a pureblood to exhibit that kind of naked hatred and bigotry.

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