Nov 8, 2012

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (book 2), by J. K. Rowling

 Disclaimer: All reviews are the result of my personal opinion from a Christian stand-point. These reviews are provided for those who share my beliefs and morals, to help guide what fiction a reader may wish to pick up. For those who do not share these beliefs, please refrain from hateful comments. It is due to rude commenting that I must now include this note prior to all reviews. For more information, visit my purpose behind this blog. Thank you for your understanding.

Intended Age-Group: 9+
Issues of Violence: action violence, monsters, bullying, threats of murder.
Intimacy Level: none
Swearing: d**n, usage of the word "hell" in expressions
Recommendation: yes, 5 out of 5 stars

Read my reviews for:
book 1 (Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone)
book 3 (Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban)
books 4 (Goblet of Fire)
book 7 (Deathly Hallows)

The Dursleys were so mean and hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he's packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike.
And strike it does. For in Harry's second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockhart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girls' bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley's younger sister, Ginny.
But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone — or something — starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects...Harry Potter himself!

Initial Reaction: *****
This has always been my least favorite book of the series, but it's not for lack of content. My dislike is mostly attributed to my personal taste for the book; however, it is filled with a new level of humor  than the first one, partially due to a new professor, Gilderoy Lockhart.
The theme of the book has a few darker touches such as being possessed by Voldemort or hearing voices in the walls that are whispering words of terror ("Let me rip, let me tear, let me kill..."). This book touches Harry's fear that he's crazy when the school think he's dangerous. He deals with a lot of peer pressure and dislike. Ron and Hermione are faithful friends who join him in trying to unravel the mystery.

Characters: *****
Harry, Ron's and Hermione's friendships grow deeper and the history of Hogwarts grows thicker. There aren't many issues in this book. It falls on a similar scale to The Sorcerer's Stone. The reader meets Dobby the house elf who is a magical form of "slave" and depicts many aspects of the world of slavery. Along with addressing this issue, the book delves into Voldemort's desire to rid the world of anyone who's not pureblood (all-magical family, no Muggles). This translates into the matter of racism. Rowling does an excellent job of sharing her views of the evils behind slavery and racism in a clear and clean way that still puts it in a new light (and keeps it appropriate for younger readers). She builds values through a fantasy novel. Beautiful.

All violence in this movie is action violence and it remains at a very appropriate level. Many scenes enter a "darker" or more "tense" feel, such as being in the lair of gigantic spiders, fighting a huge snake, watching classmates get petrified, etc. "Death" is a common theme. Harry, Ron, and Hermione go to a "death day" party for a ghost, they unravel mysteries behind deaths of students in the past, the voice that Harry hears is always wanting to kill, etc. All this death is for the sole purpose of Voldemort once again trying to come back. It paints a very accurate picture of what he is willing to do to others so he can profit.

Spiritual Content: *****
From a Christian stand-point, I address the issue of "magic" here. Again, as in the first book, no spiritual entities are mentioned.

Overall Recommendation:
I recommend The Chamber of Secrets to the intended age-group and above. Though it's slightly less enjoyable (to me) than the first book, it's crucial to continue the plot and still lands in the "incredible book" bucket.

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She writes stories about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her debut dystopian novel, A Time to Die, releases 2014 from Marcher Lord Press, the premier publisher of Christian speculative fiction. When Nadine's not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she is out pursuing adventures. She currently lives in Idaho with her husband. You can find out more about Nadine and her books at

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