(Image from Barnes & Noble)
(Note: While this review will not contain spoilers for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from its predecessor, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)
After a momentous year at Hogwarts, Harry Potter can't wait to return. His summer break has seemed endless—not only are the Dursleys as horrible as always, but also Harry's forbidden from using magic, and he hasn't received even one letter from Ron, Hermione, Hagrid, or anyone else. Have his new friends forgotten about him already? Things become even more ominous when a strange elf named Dobby appears in Harry's room warning him that if he returns to school, terrible things will happen.
Irritated but undeterred, Harry returns to Hogwarts—to his studies, to his friends, to his home. Despite a few new faces in the crowd (including a self-absorbed new teacher and a budding reporter who won't leave Harry alone), it's business as usual at the magical school. Well, as usual as it gets at Hogwarts! The real trouble starts with whispers about a mysterious Chamber of Secrets and what's being kept inside it. When several students end up petrified (frozen like statues), fear sweeps through the school. Who is attacking the kids? Some suspect Hagrid, who hides secrets about his own school days. Harry refuses to believe his friend is capable of such a thing. It's as ludicrous as the rumor that Harry himself is responsible. Desperate to clear his name, Harry and his friends will have to find the culprit themselves.
Although the first Harry Potter novel will always be my favorite, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is just as exciting. It introduces interesting new characters like loyal Dobby; self-absorbed Gilderoy Lockhart; and Fawkes, a remarkable phoenix; as well as a new Hogwarts mystery for Harry to solve. Filled with all the magic of the series debut, it's a worthy follow-up that is fun, engrossing, and wholly enjoyable. I loved the novel when I read it the first time and I adored it the second time around. Revisiting Hogwarts is like going home—always a pleasurable experience!
Since I shared my favorite quotes from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, I'll leave you with some goodies from The Chamber of Secrets:
"'Because that's what Hermione does," said Ron. 'When in doubt, go to the library.'" (p. 255)
"'You will also find that help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it.'" -- Albus Dumbledore, to Harry Potter (p. 264)
"'It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.'" -- Albus Dumbledore, to Harry Potter (p. 333)
(Readalikes: Other books in the HP series, including Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; Harry Potter and the Cursed Child; Quidditch Through the Ages; Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; and The Tales of Beedle the Bard)
If this were a movie (and it is!), it would be rated:
for scary images and violence
To the FTC, with love: I bought a copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when it first came out in the U.S. in 1999.