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

It’s about time I updated my Nerdy Side logo with a recent nerdy picture, don’t you think? Oh, and I finished the second Harry Potter book!

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It didn’t suck, guys.

With so many people telling me the Harry Potter series doesn’t get good until after the third or fourth book, I dreaded picking up The Chamber of Secrets. I didn’t want another snore-fest like I got with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Sorcerer’s Stone.

I wouldn’t called the second Harry Potter book a work of art, but it kept me entertained enough. The mysteries behind Dobby’s antics kept me curious when the book got dull. I’m still curious about that, actually. I’m wondering what kind of enemies young Harry Potter has, given who Dobby appeared to serve. It’s obvious Voldemort is still kicking somewhere, but it seems so petty for him to be concerned about a child. Then again, maybe he thinks it’s best to get rid of him before he’s old enough to fight back.

The other thing that really stood out to me in this book was Ron Wesley. He’s kind of a terrible little boy. He wishes ill on a lot of his enemies, even those just doing their job, like Mr. Filch. When everything went down with Mr. Filch’s cat, I sided with his younger sister. How could he still wish ill on him with all he was going through?

His comments stood out to me a lot and I’ve really started to dislike him. I understand he comes from a large family with little money. Perhaps he’s just aggressively jealous. Maybe he’s just a child and doesn’t completely understand what he’s saying. Either way, I found him distasteful.

The whole mystery of the Chamber of Secrets, while extremely predictable, was entertaining. The story was nothing to rant about, but it was clever how it all came together. Rowling should have scrapped the first book and just started with this one. While still not good enough for me to look forward to the third book, it was at least entertaining enough that I don’t dread continuing the series.

…and I will because I promised my friends I get through all seven books. I plan to make good on that promise by the end of the year. Only five more books to go!

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16 thoughts on “Book Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling”

  1. The Chamber was actually the first book I read in the series come to think of it. It stood on its own without having to read Philosophers. Interesting review. One of the best in the series I thought but maybe it’s because I had an attachment to it. Third book is credited by many to be the best. Good pick up with Ron’s character. I never did early on, but those qualities you’re picking up now only intensify from fourth book.

    1. I didn’t really care for Ron in the first book either. I mean, he’s nice to Harry, which is great, but he acts like an ass a lot. The funny thing is, he reminds me of one of my brother’s friends. I wonder if Ron will grow up the same way. My brother’s friend was an ass out of nervousness more than anything else – like a feeling of inadequacy. He eventually grew out of it. I’m hoping Ron will, too, or I’m going to end up hating his character.

      Side note, funny how I like villains who act villainous but that I hate ‘good guys’ who act the same way. huh…

  2. The third book is my favourite and definitely kicks things up a gear. I think the books develop in style and quality as the characters (and original cohort of readers) age and things get darker and more complex. But for me ‘Azkaban’ is the one that gripped me and was the first that made me properly engage with Rowling’s creation, the one that made me recognize her skill. And we can’t forget these books were aimed at a child audience. You are spot on with Ron. Of the central trio, he’s the most annoying character but probably the one that’s most like a real kid of that age. Adolescence doesn’t sit nicely on a lot of kids. I think the characterization of Ron reflects that. Those are qualities that continue through the series and which become significant at various junctures. Personally, as I only ever read these books as an adult, I was always more interested in the adult characters. Snape was my favourite from the beginning to the end. I look forward to your review of the third novel.

    1. People keep saying “but these books were made for kids.” I distinctly remember Harry Potter causing a storm among children and adults alike with the first book coming out. Clearly there is something here that appeals to adult audiences. I’m still a bit disenchanted, but I haven’t lost hope. My favorite YA series, which I ranted over as a teenager, actually has a slow first couple of books. …well, first book.

      I’m sure it will get better, but don’t think I’ll ever reach the level of obsession everyone else seems to have with the series.

    1. See, I actually like Herminoe even in the first book. She was just a smart girl, excited to be at all involved in the magically world. Then, maybe I like her because she’s a lot like me. At her age, I saw school as my escape. A good education was what was going to get me out of my small town, so I took to my studies like no other. I feel like Herminoe is similar.

  3. Ron’s always been kind of oafish, which annoys me, but at the same time, we need that. We need sympathetic characters who start off as a bit jerkish and learn better, especially in YA books, because so many teenagers are little jerks.

    1. I guess you’re right. I’m not saying his character isn’t believable. I can think of a lot of kids like that. He’s probably a character kids relate to or at least a character similar to someone they know.

      I’m not sure if he’s ever supposed to be something heroic in these books, but I could see how he could grow into a valuable character. I always appreciate when books show us the good guys have some darkness in them and bad guys have some light in them.

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