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TOP 500 REVIEWERon May 28, 2013
I read this book aloud to my children. It was won a number of literary awards, including: 2008 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's Literature, 1999 British Book Award, 1999 Smarties Prize, and 1999 Booklist Editors' Choice.

At the start of the book, 12 year-old Harry is eagerly awaiting his return for his second year at Hogwarts. The Dursleys are hosting an important dinner for Mr. Dursley’s boss and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Mason, and Harry is supposed to remain out of sight so as not to embarrass them. Upon his return to his room, he finds a strange elf named Dobby who has come to warn Harry not to return to Hogwarts. When Harry finds out that Dobby has been stealing the letters from Ron and Hermione meant for Harry, he is furious. Dobby makes trouble for Harry and uses magic to send Mrs. Dursley’s dessert crashing to the floor and a furious Mr. Dursley forbids Harry from ever returning to Hogwarts. He installs iron grates over the window and takes away his magic books and wand and locks them up in the cupboard under the stairs. Poor Harry! Good thing that Ron and his twin brothers steal their father’s magical car and use it to tear the grate from the window and rescue Harry!

Harry stays with the Weasleys until school starts, and Dobby tries to prevent Harry from getting aboard the Hogwarts train by sealing the magical passageway to Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. The quick-thinking boys use Mr. Weasley’s car again to get to Hogwarts, although not without consequences!

The newness of Hogwarts still hasn’t rubbed off for me. I found it just as magical as the first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. In this installment, we are introduced to the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Gilderoy Lockhart. The women all swoon over this man, who has authored many books that recount his magical escapades. The book is a bit darker than the series debut, and Harry keeps hearing a chilling voice who whispers murderous words. Victims are becoming petrified, essentially turning into statues, and it seems to have to do with a Chamber of Secrets that was opened many years before. The key lies in a mysterious book that falls into Harry’s possession, which was owned by a Hogwarts student named Tom Riddle.

My kids and I absolutely loved this book! It was filled with so much excitement, and it was the highlight of our day to read this at bedtime each night. Even at such a young age, it is easy to see that Harry is becoming a very powerful wizard. I love the whole “good versus evil” tone that Rowling has created.

As was with the first one, I love how Rowling ends off the book with such a touching scene between Dumbledore and Harry. Dumbledore always offers Harry sage insight and treats him with such warmth and love, and I couldn’t help getting misty-eyed.
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My Review: If I was stranded on a deserted island and could only choose one book series it would be Harry Potter - hands down. For people who know me, that's not all that shocking. I fly my Potter geek flag high. I adore it and love the fact that Rowling jump started me back into reading back when my kids were small and I thought I had no energy to read. Her writing is addictive to read and she has the art of bringing her readers into her magical world seamlessly. I've read the entire series several times and enjoyed all of the movies too.

For those of you who have only watched the movies? You're missing out. Sure they were amazing but some of the smaller plots were left on the cutting room floor - namely Peeves and the Headless Hunt to name just two in The Chamber of Secrets. This unabridged e-audiobook version was the perfect way for me to get reacquainted with Potter while walking on the treadmill or driving to work. The narrator also did a fantastic job with accents and inflections of these highly popular characters.

As usual this second book in the HP series is filled a wonderfully magical feel with vibrant and infamous characters. We have the usual cast of characters as well as the addition on Gilderoy Lockhart who brings some humour with his fascination with ... himself. I also enjoyed that we get a glimpse into the past of one of Harry's friends and how s/he influenced the Chamber of Secrets. Overall, the characters themselves are well-rounded and as you progress through the series (and even within each book) you see their development as they struggle with normal tween/teen angst and a whole lot of extra Dark Lord worries t'boot.

While this book was my least favourite book in the series I still think it's a great read that pulls readers into Rowling's magical world where she vividly tells her story with humour, suspense and heart. Readers get a better look at the link between Harry and Voldemort and we see the relationship between Harry and his friends strengthen after the horrible treatment he received from his Aunt and Uncle as well as new new issues at Hogwarts this year.

Whether you're 9 or 99 years old, if you're into fantastic world building, characters that come to life, stories about the strength of friendship, the courage to stand up for what is right, the enduring love of a mother and the fact that family is made up of not just blood but also by bonds of friendship then you've got to pick up this series. No matter what age you are, I'm certain you'll enjoy Harry's world. Just make sure you read them in order!

Highly recommended.

My Rating: 5/5 stars
**This book review can also be found on my blog, The Baking Bookworm ( where I share hundreds of book reviews and my favourite recipes. **
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon September 28, 2012
With one wand, I give J.K. a lot of credit, she upped the ante quite abit here. With the other wand, I have to declare this was my least favourite of the seven.

So begins my disjointed look at Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling, the second book in the series. The one that I read that J.K. had some of the most stress over, worried it would not work another time. It does, but with some catches.

J.K. takes a big risk here by bringing the terror of racial lynching to our characters lives. For most books, just bringing up the topic by having a vile person spout slurs would be considered daring, with a dash of after school special morals thrown in to make it all better by the end. This does not happen here. The viciousness of the topic is brought up and permeates the entire book, and it's stench sticks around right to the bitter end of the series. No pat resolution is offered. And combined with the uncertain terror of these racial attacks, which are designed to kill, J.K. is telling her audience the awful truth. Hatred exists, no matter what special abilities you possess, nor how rich you are, this virulent strain of nastiness can infect anyone.

To push the issue further, J.K. subtly slides into the story the concept of slavery. Dobby's antics as an enslaved house elf are sometimes played with light comedic outcomes, but his self-torture because of perceived disobedience is heartbreaking. The hows and whys of the house elf's history is never explained but only partially referred to, but their power to topple their unjust wizard owners is obvious. But they stay subjugated. Of the uncounted multitudes of house elf's shown throughout the series, only one, our friend Dobby, is happy with being liberated. Despite Hermione's efforts later in the series, this reality does not change. No easy answer for this problem.

The final good part that really stuck to me was not revealed till the end. The alienation of Ginny from all those around her, unnoticed by everyone, becomes a major point at the conclusion. A first year student, with plenty of older siblings, all in her house, but she is still so alone. A magical diary talking back to her, giving her a much needed soothing, is very much the equivalent of caring strangers on the internet. Ginny seeks solace where she can find it. And that is sad.

As for the bitter medicine of criticism I must now dispense, it relates to how J.K. has to shape the plot. With every book she has to find ways to extend the story to fit over the course of a year. Results here are mixed, but the majority of the time her ideas work and work very well. In this instance, she concocts a ridiculous plan to trick information out of Draco by using Polyjuice potion. The plan is over the top in bad Ocean's 12 style, and when Hermione states the potion takes a month to ferment, my eyes rolled. A convenient way to allow time to pass by. My one sore spot in an otherwise glorious series.

Now that Harry, Hermione, and Ron have saved the day again, the stage is all set for a more mature tale to inhabit the series. With age comes more danger and intrigue and family history to explore. And Hagrid getting a well deserved promotion.

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on March 28, 2011
Kids will enjoy reading this book as the characters were very good. The book ended very well . My favourite part is the Quidditch scene and very helpful in real life. Don't tell me you haven't been head to head with a house elf that says 'Harry Potter must not go to school this year' and would gladly break every bone in your body to enforce that. Or maybe you're in a game of Quidditch and a die-cast steel, magically enforced ball is baying for your blood and bone. And definitely don't tell me you didn't spend last year saving the Philosopher's Stone from a teacher named professor Quarrel who wears a turban concealing the face of magic Hitler whose name rhymes with mouldy-wart and turns to dust on contact with you . The characters were so believable you think you would see them on the streets of London and cast a spell to open a door just because they can do it. I have read this book many times and I think future generations should read it and try to replicate the magic with their science as it would be great. This book should be a timeless classic for years to come.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon February 28, 2011
Though my favorite volumes in the Harry Potter series are the first, the fourth, the fifth and the seventh, I have to say that this one is very special to me. For the simple reason that this second year of Harry's studies at Hogwarts presents events from the past, events that reveal secrets about characters we know like Hagrid the gamekeeper, others like the amazing Dobby, and an incident that was the start of several incidents around the wizard world. Not only that, we find in this book events and characters, along with small incidents that take place around the school, that will definitely take an influence in the upcoming books.

For when Harry Potter is warned that he must not return to Hogwarts and becomes accused of several incidents around Hogwarts, and a certain Chamber of Secrets, he has to find, with Ron and Hermione, the culprit before it is too late.

As a final note, those that are very careful can find out in a single chapter the year that the story is taking place and set that series around the 1990s and not the 21st century, like I heard some people say when discussing the series with other readers.
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on May 19, 2004
The book begins with Harry back at Privet Drive with his horrible aunt, uncle, and cousin. Then on the night of his uncle's big meeting with a new customer for his drill company, a strange looking creature visits Harry in his bed room and warns him of awful things that will happen at Hogwarts in the up-coming year. This creature is the house elf Dobby. Dobby causes trouble for Harry so life at Privet drive worsens. Then Harry's best friend, Ron, and his two older twin brothers, Fred and George, fly their father's bewitched car to rescue Harry from the Dursleys. During the year at Hogwarts, a number of students become petrified by a creature that is loose in the school. The rumors of the Chamber of Secrets begin to spread throughout the school and it is believed to be opened once again. Many people believe that it is Harry who is the heir of Slytherin, which means that he would be the person responsible for the students, ghost, and cat that were petrified. To find out who the real heir of Slytherin and opener of the Chamber of Secrets you'll have to read the book for yourself!
This book was exciting and kept me on the edge of my seat. It was impossible to put down and I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy, thrills, and a little bit of mystery all in one.
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on May 16, 2004
Summer didn't start out too good for Harry Potter. The Dursleys' were just as terrible as before. All Harry wanted to do is go back to Hogwarts the School of Witch Craft and Wizardry. He gets a warning from a elf named Dobby, to not return to Hogwarts or terrible things will happen.
The elf was right. During Harry's second year at Hogwarts, new terrors occur. He is left to deal with a self-centered proffesor names Gilderoy Lockheart. He has to try to pass his classes while in between new potions turning one of his best friends, Hermione, to cat, Ron's little sister Ginny who is head over heals about Harry, and Moaning Myrtle in the girls bathroom.
These turn out to be the least of his worries, when the myth of the Chamber of Secrets returns to haunt everyone, leaving students petrified. Someone had to reopen the chamber, but noone knows who. Could the person be Hagrid, who was accused of doing the same deed in the past? Could Draco Malfoy be doing it, who seems to be joyous about the tragedy. Or could it be Harry Potter himself, who is believed to do so by all the students.
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on February 13, 2004
Wizard Madness
Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets J. K.Rolling
Harry lives with his smelly old Aunt and Uncle. His cousin, Duldy thinks he is weird because he has a weird scar and is a wizard. Harry was sent to Hogwarts, a school of witch craft and wizardry. But now he is back at number 4, Private Drive with them. He hasn't heard from his friends, Ron or Hermonie and is very board. One day, a house elf, Dobby appears on Harry's bed. He says that Harry should not go to back to Hogwarts. He says if he does, he will be in mortal danger. Harry decides to go to hogwarts because he is so board.
When Ron comes to rescue Harry, he is driving a Ford Angula. He hooks a hook to the bars on his window to pull them off. When Ron pulls them off, Harry's uncle wakes up. He tries to keep Harry from leaving. He grabbs Harry and pulls on his shirt to keep him from leaving. The car is to strong. Harry gets free of the dreadful house. Harry and Ron go to Ron's house, The Burrow. Harry and Ron get to Diagon Ally by using floo powder. Harry ends up going to Knocktern Ally. Then, Hagrid shows up and takes Harry to Diagon Ally.
They go to Gringods Bank to get Harry some money. Then they meet up with Mrs. Weasly and Ron. Then they go to Hogwarts. After they meet up with Hermonie, they go to the commen room. After 5 classes, Harry goes into the Chamer of Secrets. He finds a Stalfos, a monster spiders fear above all creatures. Harry gets poisoned by the Stalfos and Dumbeldore's bird hells him.
As you can see, Harry had a interesting year again. I give this book a 10 out of 10.
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on December 30, 2003
Do you like mystery, adventure, and action? Then feast your eyes on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling .The protagonist is a boy named Harry Potter who lives with his foster parents, the Dursley�s. They are very mean to him and don�t care much about him. This book is packed with chills and thrills. This is Harry�s second year in Hogwarts. But he is admonished not to go because something terrible is going to happen. But like always, Harry is so undaunted he goes.
When Harry and his friend Ron got to the train station an invisible wall blocked the entrance. Each time they tried to get through they were knocked down.
So Harry and Ron stole their parent�s car and flew to Hogwarts. When they arrived, their potions teacher, Snape, punished them. Harry and Ron were almost expelled because some people or �muggles� saw the flying car. Later in the book Harry and his friends walking down the hallway and they saw a dead cat on the wall. On the wall it said the Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Children were then found frozen solid in the hallways or petrified.
What could be doing this and why? Is the Chamber of Secrets really open? If you want to find out anymore the go read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling.
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There is no sophomore slump in the J.K. Rowling household or in Harry Potter's universe, as Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets somehow takes the magic and excitement of the first book to even higher levels of enjoyment. The characterization of the main characters is greatly enriched, while new, important characters come on the scene in grand style. After getting another bitter taste of Harry's life with the Dursleys, watching him become a prisoner in every sense of the word in the aftermath of the strange half-elf Dobby's noble yet highly frustrating attempts to protect him, we get a high treat indeed in being allowed a few days' stay in the home of the Weasleys. I must admit that I rather dote on young Ginny Weasley, whose obvious crush on Harry Potter works a magic (one which even we Muggles know and understand) all its own upon her. I can appreciate Gilderoy Lockhart's place in this novel, but the humor he sometimes provides with his egomaniacal self-love is as pathetic and frustrating to me as it is to Ron and Harry; I can't for the life of me see what Hermione's fascination with the man is, particularly after sitting through a few of his Defenses Against the Dark Arts classes. Then there is Lucius Malfoy, another sinister character for us to love to hate; compared to his father, young Draco Malfoy is a choir boy.
Some of the early action, particularly the whole flying car business, probably appeals to young readers more than it does to me, but things get very interesting very quickly as soon as the boys arrive at Hogwarts. There is sinister business at the school during Harry's second year, a crisis that leaves several students literally petrified, threatens the positions of even Hagrid and Dumbledore, and puts the very future of Hogwarts in great jeopardy. It all leads up to an ending that seems to stretch the limits of credulity in a couple of places yet succeeds much more impressively than the denouement of the first novel. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets takes everything I loved about the first book, multiplies it several times, expands the entire world in which Harry lives, throws in several juicy new sub-plots and immensely interesting new characters, and establishes Harry Potter as a bona fide phenomenon with the unlimited potential to thrill young and old readers alike for years and years to come.
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