Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2) Review
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Sequelitis: Defined as a classic syndrome regarding sequels, especially those following great beginnings. It’s hard for any book or movie (or CD) that’s second in a line to measure up to a great beginning. Take the Back to the Future movies as an example—Part II is terrible, and is only truly useful as a bridge. Of course, by the third movie, everyone’s gotten over that hump and on to good movie-making again, but that hump movie is painful.

Unlike Back to the Future Part II, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets has only a touch of sequelitis. I recently re-read this book without reading the preceding and following books at the same time, and I very much enjoyed it on its own, even though it was
easier to put down than the others. The Sorcerer’s Stone has the advantage of being the first introduction to the world of wizardry (read my book review), and things in that world get much more exciting (not to mention darker and scarier) in the books following the Chamber of Secrets. Though this second book in this series is truly entertaining on its own, it just isn’t quite as good as the books surrounding it.

It’s definitely an enjoyable book when read by itself, though. In case you’re one of the few people who hasn’t read it (or seen the movie yet), here’s the plot: in spite of many obstacles and warnings, Harry Potter makes it back at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for a second term—arriving by a flying Ford Anglia when he and Ron miss the Hogwarts Express. There’s a terribly stylish but inept new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher named Gilderoy Lockhart in the mix, who isn’t terribly useful when cats, students, and ghosts get attacked during the course of the year. Of course, Harry and his friends Ron and Hermione are trying to figure out what’s happening along with everyone else at Hogwarts…

All in all, it’s a fun way to spend a few hours and it's an integral part of the series. By all means, don’t try to skip over it if you’re reading through the books—it’s an important link in the series of events. But it just doesn’t stand out as much as the others.

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