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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Full Review
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Slytherin, according to the legend, sealed the Chamber of Secrets so that none would be able to open it until his own true heir arrived at the school. The heir alone would be able to unseal the Chamber of Secrets, unleash the horror within and use it to purge the school of all who were unworthy to study magic.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Full Review

by JK Rowling

The second book in the Harry Potter series is read once again by Stephen Fry, who puts in an excellent performance bringing to life an extraordinary range of people, creatures and personalities in the magical world.

This recording makes limited and very well judged use of sound effects which adds something to the appeal of the audiobook over the written text.

The book centres around the myth of the Chamber of Secrets – a legendary enclosure supposedly built and magically hidden by one of the co-founders of Hogwarts school - the talented but decidedly sinister Salazar Slytherin.

Around this myth JK Rowling builds a series of carefully interwoven plots involving a number of characters who are in some way associated with the myth or the notion of the heir. The Heir of Slytherin. The individual, who would, by some unknown magical means unseal the Chamber of Secrets – if indeed the Chamber is nothing more than a myth. A legend.

Rowling has a way with motivation. Her characters act out. They reveal their individual fantasies, preoccupations and intentions in conversations and acts which do not make right true sense to the reader until the many mysteries established in the narrative are fully and finally resolved at the end of the novel.

No individual’s storyline is particularly impressive, but the way Rowling brings everything together into a coherent whole is very impressive.

As with Philosopher’s Stone, the dialogue is quite life-like and helps to delineate character and personality. There is nothing in the dialogue or narrative to quite match the superb scene in Philosopher’s Stone where Potter acquires his first wand from the ever so slightly creepy wandmaker, Ollivander, but then that scene probably has no equal in the rest of the series.

Chamber of Secrets gives further insights into the personalities of the Weasley family with whom Harry Potter has perhaps his first experience of what life must be like in a normal family – well, a sort of normal family. And introduces a number of important characters – including Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic and Lucius Malfoy - a former follower of the Dark Lord.

The Minister of Magic plays an increasingly important role as the Potter series continues as does Lucius Malfoy. Cornelius Fudge's character is only hinted at, but Lucius Malfoy's character is more fully drawn. There is nothing at this stage to hint at how these men's storylines will develop as the Potter series continues.

There is also the revelation of Tom Riddle – the young, bright boy who comes to Harry Potter’s aid during the period of crisis – and who arrives on the scene in the most unexpected and unforgettable fashion.

But even with Riddle’s assistance, Harry Potter must demonstrate enormous wit and even more enormous courage in tackling the threat to him and to Hogwarts. However in reading the novel it is not at all clear that Potter will survive to master the challenge he faces with both life and limb intact – such is the degree of peril that Rowling’s pen places him in.

Bloomsbury Publishing

Unabridged Audio CD Edition – 2006

Read by Stephen Fry

Litrev Rating

Overall 5______

Suspense 5______
Characters 5______
Plot 5______
Audio 5______
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

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