Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J K Rowling | Book Review

Okay, so this isn’t something that I like to broadcast, but I’ve never actually read all the Harry Potter books. I know, it’s shocking right?

I guess I initially missed the whole craze (for some reason) and then always felt it was too late to really start. I watched a few of the movies (I’m not sure which ones I’ve seen in full but I know they definitely weren’t in the right order) and I enjoyed them well enough… but I was never obsessed in the same way that other people my age were (namely, my best friend).

I tried to get into the series a few years back and made it through The Philosopher’s Stone, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I want to, and never ended up taking it any further. I got that horribly feeling where I just played the movie in my head as I read it – otherwise known as why you ALWAYS READ THE BOOKS FIRST!

However, I found myself scrolling through Audible, staring at this one credit that I’ve had sitting in my account all month, and I knew I needed to find something asap (I missed my audiobook hit) and so, I downloaded Chamber of Secrets.

I’m so glad I was that desperate!

I could waste a whole lot of time in this review talking about the plot and the characters – but I’m sure you’re all pretty well acquainted with the wizarding world, whether you’ve read it or not. So, instead, I’m going to talk to you about the things that surprised me in this instalment (pleasantly or otherwise).

First of all, as I mentioned, I listened to this on Audible, narrated by none other than Stephen Fry. I’ve only listened to one audiobook narrated by him previously, I think it was the first of the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy books, and it wasn’t one of my favourites, so my hopes weren’t high for this one. However, Fry’s narration for this series is absolutely flawless – Pottermore got it really, really right this time. He captures the humour in Rowling’s writing so well, and the characters all have very distinctive accents and voices, so there’s no fear of you getting completely confused.

In terms of the plot, I feel like if you’d asked me about this installment based purely on the movies the only thing I’d remember enough to tell you about would be the flying car. However, as I was reading, things did keep coming back to me.

Ultimately, it’s a filler book, it prepares you for the rest of the series and sets up relationships and events that I;m lead to believe are going to be pivotal later on. However, don’t let this sound like a negative thing, every series has filler books (especially one of this length) and Rowling dealt with the challenge really well. The plot was interesting enough to keep you hooked, even though not a lot actually happened and she balanced the necessity in moving the plot along with action and suspense admirably.

However, the biggest thing I noticed whilst reading this book, was that I kept inserting sections in my head that weren’t in the novel, but were most certainly in A Very Potter Senior Year. I loved those musicals so much, I could have done a lot better in my AS exams if I hadn’t found them because I was pure obsessed with them when I was supposed to be revising. Literally the second the Basilisk came into it all I could hear was: ‘Marco’, ‘Polo’, ‘Got you suckers!’ … if you haven’t watched these musicals yet (and I can’t see why any Potter fan hasn’t) please do, they’re fabulous!

Overall, I gave this novel 5/5 stars. I really enjoyed it, it was so much better than the first one. I feel like the further into this series I get, the better the writing is and the more complex the plots become.

If you’ve tried the first book and stopped there, I urge you to keep going until at least The Prisoner of Azkaban (I have a review for it coming soon). Not only are they the shortest books in the series, but number 3 is when it starts to get really good!

Make sure you leave me a comment down below, especially if you know what Hogwarts House you’re in (I’m a Slytherin… I was sad at first, but I’ve come to embrace it). See you there!

8 Comments

  1. The same thing happened to me, I read the first one in grade 5 I think for school and wasn’t hooked. But I started the series over again last year and I’m so glad I went back to it. I am now on the last book and I can’t wait to see how it ends and I am sad that it’s ending all at once:)

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  2. So glad you gave this a whirl, I think that Stephen Fry is such a good narrator. I have only listened to the first book via audible. I’m a major Harry Potter fan so it always gets me so excited to see others getting into the books, which I only read myself over a year or two ago now but I am hooked. Prisoner of Azkaban is one of my favourites but I hope you continue on with the series past there, you will find how much more there is outside of what the movies show (I love them too) but the books made me love characters such as Luna so much more after reading more about her in the books!
    Happy Reading.
    I’m a Gryffindor x

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      1. Nice! I kinda wanted to be a Slytherin…I could use the help of qualities like ambition and cunning from time to time, as I’m the “open book” sort, typically.

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  3. I feel like the first 3 books in the series are filler books. Because it’s fantasy there needs to be a development of the world and the ‘rules’
    You’re so right about the narrator! I’m currently rereading the series (not in order for some odd reason) by listening to the audiobooks as well as my brother reading them aloud to me (he’s never read the series before and apparently I am really bad at reading aloud, plus my brother puts on accents for different characters and its super cool)
    Stephen Fry does a really good job of telling the story. I’ve listened to some audiobooks with terrible narrator’s and it’s really ruined the experience
    I 100% relate to the slytherin thing, I’ve come to fully embrace being a slytherin and I realised that the ‘slytherin traits’ are traits I’ve always had, and these traits aren’t necessarily a bad thing
    – Yasmin

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