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
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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.