Saturday, 11 April 2009

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling

Read: August 2001

In hindsight, The Chamber of Secrets is probably the most revealing of all the Harry Potter series. Contained within its pages are some of the most important revelations which hold many of the keys to the plot as it develops over the rest of the series. Strange then, that it is the one I had most difficulty with, and were it not for the fact that I had nothing else to do and my brother told my the third one was better, I may not have continued reading.

The problem is that in structure and general plot arc it is almost a total carbon copy of The Philosopher's Stone, only without the amazing sense of discovery which abounds the first book. There is nothing bad about it, as such, but reading it I had the overwhelming sense that I knew exactly what was going to happen. The mysteries are structured similarly to the first book, the characters have not yet developed, and the grander struggle is yet to take off. Hogwarts feels like a safe place to be, even if that safety is mitigated by potions and flying cars and terrifying beasts. But this is the point where things begin to change: if you thought that Harry Potter was to remain a safe children's series, then the third book was to change everything forever.

7 out of 10

No comments: