Reviews for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets


The Book Report Reviews 1999 September-October
This sequel to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Scholastic, 1998) delightfully captures the imaginations and hearts of its readers. While many sequels lack the luster of their predecessors, this volume is filled with the same adventure that characterized the popular first title, whose devotees will not be disappointed. This time around, Harry and his best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, return to Hogwarts School only to find that an evil monster is loose and that they are targets. This story introduces readers to several new characters: Moaning Myrtle, a ghost who haunts the girls' bathroom; Gilderoy Lockheart, a professor who battles the Dark Arts; the elusive Tom Riddle, who was a student at Hogwarts 50 years ago; and Ginny Weasley, the youngest of the Weasley family. This story will leave readers clamoring for the next Harry Potter tale, which is due this fall. Consider buying more than one copy--your waiting list will be a long one! Highly Recommended. By Tena Natale, Litherland, Upper/Middle School Head Librarian, Webb School, Knoxville, Tennessee © 1999 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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Booklist Monthly Selections - #2 May 1999
/*Starred Review*/ Gr. 4^-8. Given the furor this book has already caused in the U.S., it seems almost redundant to review it; however. . . . Harry Potter's exploits during his second year at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry completely live up to the bewitching measure of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, a Booklist Editors' Choice, 1998. Harry's summer with the spiteful Dursleys is as dismal as his life with them before Hogwarts, and not only that, a neurotic house-elf suddenly appears to warn him against returning to school. Harry, of course, goes back to school. Once there, he finds himself in danger, as predicted by the house-elf. Strange things are happening. Why can only Harry hear an eerie voice talking about escaping and killing? Who or what has put several students into a petrified state? Harry and his sidekicks, Ron and Hermione, work furiously to get to the bottom of it all. It doesn't help that the rumor spreads that Harry is the long-dreaded heir of Slytherin, one of the school's founders, who purportedly created a Chamber of Secrets that houses a grotesque monster that can only be released by the heir. The mystery, zany humor, sense of a traditional British school (albeit with its share of ghosts, including Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girls' bathroom), student rivalry, and eccentric faculty, all surrounded by the magical foundation so necessary in good fantasy, are as expertly crafted here as in the first book. Fans who have been thirsting for this sequel will definitely not feel any disappointment. In fact, once they have read it, they will be lusting for the next. ((Reviewed May 15, 1999)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

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BookPage Reviews 1999 June
Let's face it. When it comes to fantasy for young readers, British authors have the edge. Think of P.L. Travers's Mary Poppins (1934); J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit (1937); C.S. Lewis's The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (1950); Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964); even Brian Jacques's Redwall series, or Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series qualify. J.K. Rowling surely joined the ranks with the publication of her Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in 1998. Winner of too many top awards to list, this first novel is full of magic, humor, and action. Readers, both young and old, raved.

And, wonder of wonders, Rowling has done it again in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. This story is laced with even more characters than her first title. Readers will already know the Dursleys, Severus Snape, Albus Dumbledore, and Harry's friends at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Ron and Hermione. Making a first appearance (or near-appearance in some cases) are Nearly Headless Nick, the ghost who didn't quite achieve a complete decapitation, and Moaning Myrtle, who haunts a stall in the girls' bathroom. Anyone in the book trade will recognize Gilderoy Lockhart, a new Hogwarts faculty member and an author more intent on fame than creativity. Rowling has a sure-to-please sense of names for people and places.

But the droll word play is merely icing on a delicious plot. From the first chapter, when Harry is locked in his room during summer vacation by his priggish guardians, to his numerous adventures at Hogwarts, clues drop incidentally in the fast-paced story. Why does the house-elf Dobby warn Harry not to return to Hogwarts? Who killed Mrs. Norris, the caretaker's cat? Why would someone want to flush away the diary of a student from 50 years ago? Most important, how was the Chamber of Secrets opened, and what or who exists there?

Brave, wise, and innocent, Harry Potter is determined to find out. He faces evil and dangers reminiscent of those in Raiders of the Lost Ark. In the end, he learns that he was right to ask not to be a Slytherin even though he has the rare gift of Parseltongue. As Professor Dumbledore tells him, "It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."

Be sure to look for the third Harry Potter installment, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, this fall. I don't know how long or how fast Rowling can create more Harry Potter stories (she is planning on seven in all), but she will undoubtedly find a large audience waiting whenever they come.

Etta Wilson is a children's book enthusiast in Nashville, Tennessee. Copyright 1999 BookPage Reviews

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 1999 #4
Eight-year-old Henk lives happily on a farm with his loving Papa and Mama and his brother and sister, Pieter and Miep. Now that the war, and the German occupation of Holland, is over, Henk no longer has to hide in a hamper when the Nazi soldiers come; although he still doesn't go to school like his siblings, he can run and play outside his home. Propp disrupts this idyll in the first chapter-Henk's natural parents come to reclaim the child they had entrusted to Papa and Mama when the Jewish family was forced into hiding. Henk is a good boy, and he dutifully goes with David and Elsbeth when his anguished protests that he is not their son Benjamin prove futile. Slowly, won over by childlike pleasures as simple as eating cake (made with sugar saved for his homecoming) and as thrilling as the promise of attending school, Henk adjusts to his new life; and although he never stops loving Papa and Mama, he begins to remember joyful and sad events from his forgotten past that work to reunite him emotionally with David and Elsbeth. The miracle of this sweet tale, based on an actual wartime story, is the constancy of Henk's voice: in a limited third-person narrative, Propp never forgets her young protagonist, and we see his world entirely through his eyes. s.p.b. Copyright 1999 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 1999 June #1
This sequel to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (1998) brings back the doughty young wizard-in-training to face suspicious adults, hostile classmates, fretful ghosts, rambunctious spells, giant spiders, and even an avatar of Lord Voldemort, the evil sorcerer who killed his parents, while saving the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from a deadly, mysterious menace. Ignoring a most peculiar warning, Harry kicks off his second year at Hogwarts after a dreadful summer with his hateful guardians, the Dursleys, and is instantly cast into a whirlwind of magical pranks and misadventures, culminating in a visit to the hidden cavern where his friend Ron's little sister Ginny lies, barely alive, in a trap set by his worst enemy. Surrounded by a grand mix of wise and inept faculty, sneering or loyal peers plus an array of supernatural creatures including Nearly Headless Nick and a huge, serpentine basilisk Harry steadily rises to every challenge, and though he plays but one match of the gloriously chaotic field game Quidditch, he does get in plenty of magic and a bit of swordplay on his way to becoming a hero again. Readers will be irresistibly drawn into Harry's world by GrandPré's comic illustrations and Rowling's expert combination of broad boarding school farce and high fantasy. (Fiction. 11-14) Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews

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Library Journal Reviews 1999 December #1
Gr 3-8-With a year at Hogwarts School under his belt, Harry expects the new term to go smoothly, but a wizard's share of surprises and adventures await the likable lad and his friends. Rowling works her magic and leaves readers begging for more. (July) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 1999 May #5
Fans who have been anxiously awaiting the return of young British wizard Harry Potter (and whose clamor caused the Stateside publication date to be moved up three months) will be amazed afresh. And newcomers will likely join Harry's delighted legion of followers, for this tale is perhaps even more inventive than its predecessor, Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone. Picking up shortly after his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, orphan Harry is spending the summer with his detestable Muggle (non-witch) relatives. Rowling briskly sets the action rolling with a mysterious warning from an elf named Dobby. The pace accelerates as Harry, now 12, is rescued from his bedroom imprisonment by his best friend Ron Weasley and his irrepressible older twin brothers in a flying car. Their school year gets off to a bad start when Harry and Ron crash-land the car at Hogwarts. More trouble soon follows, first from Harry's old nemesis, supercilious Draco Malfoy, then from a mysterious something that is petrifying Muggle-born students, culminating with Harry and Ron's friend Hermione. Once more, it's up to Harry to save the day. Rowling might be a Hogwarts graduate herself, for her ability to create such an engaging, imaginative, funny and, above all, heart-poundingly suspenseful yarn is nothing short of magical. All ages. (June) Copyright 1999 Publishers Weekly Reviews

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School Library Journal Reviews 1999 July
Gr 3-8-Fans of the phenomenally popular Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Scholastic, 1998) won't be disappointed when they rejoin Harry, now on break after finishing his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Reluctantly spending the summer with the Dursleys, his mean relatives who fear and detest magic, Harry is soon whisked away by his friends Ron, Fred, and George Weasley, who appear at his window in a flying Ford Anglia to take him away to enjoy the rest of the holidays with their very wizardly family. Things don't go as well, though, when the school term begins. Someone, or something, is (literally) petrifying Hogwarts' residents one by one and leaving threatening messages referring to a Chamber of Secrets and an heir of Slytherin. Somehow, Harry is often around when the attacks happen and he is soon suspected of being the perpetrator. The climax has Harry looking very much like Indiana Jones, battling a giant serpent in the depths of the awesome and terrible Chamber of Secrets. Along with most of the teachers and students introduced in the previous book, Draco Malfoy has returned for his second year and is more despicable than ever. The novel is marked throughout by the same sly and sophisticated humor found in the first book, along with inventive, new, matter-of-fact uses of magic that will once again have readers longing to emulate Harry and his wizard friends.-Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 1999 December
Gr 3-8-With a year at Hogwarts School under his belt, Harry expects the new term to go smoothly, but a wizard's share of surprises and adventures await the likable lad and his friends. Rowling works her magic and leaves readers begging for more. (July) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 1999 October
Readers begging for this sequel to New York Times bestseller Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Scholastic, 1998/VOYA December 1998) will not be disappointed. Harry and his friend Ron arrive for their second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraftand Wizardry to face new challenges. The publicity-hungry Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher decides to train Harry in the ways of fame, and the rival Slytherin Quidditch team is flying top-of-the-line brooms. Harry finds himself the center of anunofficial fan club led by Ron's younger sister, Ginny, and a camera-clicking first year student, Colin. The situation becomes more dangerous when students turn up petrified, and rumors begin about a monster released from the legendary Chamber ofSecrets. Harry, Ron, and their friend, Hermione, attempt to track down the feared heir of Slytherin, holder of the key to the chamber. Of course Harry saves the day, but not before a near fatal encounter with his arch enemy, Voldemort. Rowling continues her delicious blend of humor and fantasy, populating the story with memorable characters such as Moaning Myrtle, a ghost who haunts an out-of-order girls bathroom; Dobby, a house elf whose efforts to protect Harry backfire; andAragog, the giant spider. Rowling has a sure sense of what readers will enjoy, combined with the ability to write well. Since Voldemort still lives, and the boys have four more years of school, future adventures at Hogwarts are sure to follow, andwill be eagerly awaited-Libby Bergstrom. Copyright 1999 Voya Reviews

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