Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.

The Chamber of Secrets begins, as did the Philosopher’s Stone, with Harry once again at home with the dreadful Dursleys. The Dursleys are, to put it mildly, unpleasant. The arrival of the house elf Dobby sets in motion a chain of events that ends with Harry, thanks in no small part to a flying car, happily back at Hogwarts. There are mysterious happenings at Hogwarts, and Harry, assisted by his staunch friends Hermoine and Ron, sets about discovering the truth to the Chamber of Secrets and look for clues to help them understand the attacks on the children at the school.

In many places, the book seems a bit obvious and ham-fisted; Rowling seems to have opted for stereotypes rather than originality in these monsters and that makes it all a tad too contrived. However, while everything is new in the first book, the second book builds on the already-established understanding and really sets up the rest of series.

On the bright side, this is a rich fantasy tale, fueled by J.K. Rowling’s vivid imagination and is brimming with magic, spells, companionship and humor. The humor, in particular, is once again rich in the narrative – a humor that will make both children and adults laugh out loud. Gilderoy Lockhart is a superb character that hogs the limelight from Harry and his friends on more than one occasion. The author has taken great care to give each character their own individual personality, but all of them are completely lovable in their own way.

Of all the trees we could’ve hit, we had to get one that hits back.

Aside from the wonderful characters, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets had some great scenes that were a lot of fun to read. Harry and Ron’s enchanted car ride to Hogwarts was hilarious, especially when they fell on the Whomping Willow. There is an incredibly funny part from the wizard’s duel, which forces incessant laughter out of the readers but that sadly never made it into the movie. It was rather amusing having Hermione as the one talking Harry and Ron into breaking the school rules to find out who had opened the Chamber of Secrets. Harry’s compassion for Dobby was quite touching, too.

This book subtly emphasizes on some lofty aspects of life, like denunciation of pride, justice, respect, loyalty and courage, while also exhibiting, albeit in broken pieces, how the minds of young children work and how they sometimes choose to lie and keep secrets to avoid giving explanations for their actions. Regardless of whether they are muggles or magicians, all children actually have a similar thought process.

This book is more of a mystery than its predecessor; with a real air of intrigue and uncertainty about it. Yet it finds itself in a slightly awkward position, somewhere between childhood innocence, naivety and a dark teenage horror. And the author somehow balances them perfectly to deliver a sequel that does not disappoint.

Ameya Rating:

In a nutshell, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a great investment of time that not only sets some background for future plot, but also gives the readers a temporary refuge from their mundane lives, thus bagging 3.9 out of 5 stars. This book is highly recommended to anyone who is looking for something in between a light-hearted read and a gripping storyline.

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