Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Review #6 - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Title: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Author: J.K. Rowling

A brief synopsis; (Via Goodreads)
Harry, Ron and Hermione have returned to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizadry for their second year. (But Harry and Ron only just made it-they missed the Hogwarts Express and had to get there in a flying car...!) Soon the threesome are immersed in the daily round of Potions, Herbology, Charms, Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Quidditch.
But then horrible things start happening. Harry hears evil voices. Sinister messages appear on the wall. But nothing can prepare the three friends for what happens next...
A brilliant sequel to the award-winning Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

Once again, J.K. Rowling has brilliantly managed to capture the thoguht processing of a now twelve year old Harry Potter as he enters his second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry... Where he faces an even bigger challenge than the year before.

This year, Harry's best friend's little sister, Ginny Weasley, is starting her first year at Hogwarts. Only she's not coming alone. And not only that, but she's smitten with Harry, harbouring a huge crush that is about as evident as a witch's wart on the end of your nose. With her at Hogwarts, Ginny has her diary. Her fifty year old enchanted diary that writes back to her. Nothing oddly suspicious about that at all... Through a series of very unfortunate events (which include 4 petrified students, a Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher with no ability at defence, and giant, talking spiders) it is revealed that Ginny's diary has slowly been sucking her soul out of her body, forcing her to do unspeakable acts, like setting loose the giant Basilisk that is hidden under the girl's bathroom and inadvertently almost closing down the entire school, and, of course, endangering the life of Harry Potter.

Which never bodes well, as the late Professor Quirrel found out last year. In a daring battle of wits, Harry is pitted against Tom Riddle and his Basilisk down in the Chamber of Secrets in a race against time as Tom (emerging from Ginny's diary) slowly gains a solid life form as he sucks the soul out of Ginny. The only weapons Harry has, however, is the old Sorting Hat, and Fawkes, Professor Dumbledore's phoenix. It doesn't look like he's going to survive ... but survive he does! Not without a scrape, of course, as the venomous Basilisk fang sinks into his skin and Harry feels himself slipping and falling into unconsciousness ... until Fawkes starts crying. For you see, phoenix tears have magical healing properties. They can also carry tremendous weights, which is a good thing, considering Harry, Ron, Ginny and the memory wiped Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher are going to have to be lifted out of the Chamber of Secrets.

From the get go the novel is quick paced, with no dull moment - every page Ron and Harry seem to be learning something new, or encountering some new foul beast. It's a wondrous tale of world building, where the scenery is further advanced upon and places like the Forbidden Forest explored, with hints of what is yet to come in the next novels.

It introduces exciting new characters and sub-plots- Dobby, the house elf with an abusive master and a fervent loyalty to both him and Harry Potter, even going so far as to self abuse so that Harry would be kept safe.

There's the introduction of 'Howlers' - letters sent that smoke and explode if not opened, resulting in a furious and extremely loud rant. Memory charms - apparently, in the wizarding world, not even your mind is a safe place, since there are charms that exist that allow the user to erase the person's memory.

Potions - the Poly Juice Potion, which allows the drinker to transform into whomever it wishes for a short period of time, provided they get a piece of hair from the victim. This highly advanced potion is spectacularly brewed by second year Gryffindor Hermione Granger (even if her's does go hilariously wrong).

Ghosts! A new, interesting ghost is introduced, by the name of Moaning Myrtle. She is far more relevant to the plot as the book goes on, and she has a very worthwhile back story.

Rowling's writing is fantastic, and I can't wait to finish the whole series again. I've already started book three, because I'm so very anxious to watch Harry grow in front my eyes.

Star Rating: 4/5

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