Author: J K Rowling
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Length: 341 Pages (Hardback)
Release: July 1998
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
I first read this book when I was ten years old. My parents gave me the first two books for Christmas right after the movie came out. I don't remember my initial thoughts on first reading it, though I remember not enjoying it nearly as much as the first or third books, which I read just before and just after this one.
Over the years I've read this book four or five times and each time it's somewhat of a chore to get through. For some reason it has always been my least favorite of the series, though I can't place my finger on exactly why. This time I had no problem getting through it and really enjoyed finally reading this again, since my last read was probably ten years ago.
Fred and George continue to be my favorite characters. We only really ever get glimpses of them throughout the books, but they are genuinely good people. I don't know that I really appreciated them as much when I was younger, though I found them very funny.
This one was a lot spookier than I remembered, but not in a bad way. All of the dealings with the chamber of secrets and the writings on the wall were eerie and I could see how it would be an unsettling read for a young audience, though it wasn't for me at ten.
While I really enjoy this series and the overall world building for the books, I don't find the characters that well developed. For the most part they all seem somewhat flat to me. Harry, Ron, and Hermione have some character development, but it never really feels like you get to know them. The narrative style seems too removed from them personally, or emotionally, for me to really connect.
One thing that I find excellent in this volume (and likely in the ones to follow), is the foreshadowing. So many things are laid out for us here, if only we stop to look. I definitely noticed more things this time around.
Lockhart was a difficult character to read about, though he did add a lot of comic relief to the story. The ending was somewhat abrupt, without a lot of action or real resolution. Everything seemed to just be tied up in a couple of chapters.
This is another solid book in the series and I am really excited for my reread of book three. It's fun to see what my adult self thinks of the series so many years later.