Monday, 14 October 2013

Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm rereading the series, after several years, paying closer attention now to what J.K. Rowling is doing as a writer. I remembered this as not being one of the stronger books, and the reread confirmed that at least partially.

It's a book of two parts (not halves; the first is, roughly, three-quarters of the book, I think). Part one is rather lost in relative mundanity, inasmuch as Hogwarts can be mundane, interspersed with bits of the Big Mystery. Part two, the descent into the Chamber of Secrets itself, is fully as dark, scary and action-packed as the later parts of the series.

If Part 1 had been either shorter or more interesting, this would have been a four-star book for me. Book 1 gets away with a lot of stuff about Quidditch and classes and minor rivalries and feasts because it's introducing the world, and it's all new and wonderful, but Book 2 doesn't have that advantage, and it feels a bit slow. It's also doing a lot of setup for later books, so there are threads that don't go anywhere much within this book but are significant later.

Book 2 of a series is always a tricky one to write, and Rowling has done a fair, but not amazing, job here.

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