In the Chamber of Secrets we finally get more of action, suspense and danger than in the first book. Mostly this is due to the fact that we already haIn the Chamber of Secrets we finally get more of action, suspense and danger than in the first book. Mostly this is due to the fact that we already have a basic knowledge of the wizarding world and there is no need for another introduction. Of course, since we're still reading a children story, some of the fundamental facts are repeated (such as the shocking news about Harry being a wizard). We encounter a few new characters (Gilderoy Lockhart, Colin Creevey) and get to know others, who have been briefly mentioned in the first book. For example Ron's parents and his younger sister, Ginny. Ginny is an essential character for this book. Despite all this, we get most of the information about her second hand and we barely have a chance to meet her and judge her character for ourself (the "we" translates as Harry in this case, since we see the story from his point of view, er-form or not). In the end she doesn't really seem as a likeable character. She is portrayed as a fan girl for the first part of the book and then she's the damsel in distress controled by a talking book. I like the idea of Tom Riddle leaving a diary like this, but its potential seems to be a bit wasted on Ginny. I admit I have a lot of objections about her and one of the main ones is that she has zero personality for most of the story. The reasons why everybody is worried sick about her is not because of her, but because of her family and her status as a Hogwarts student. And the same stands for the readers. How are we supposed to really care about Ginny if we don't know her? Needless to say that I regard the Chamber of Secrets as the second least impressive one of the series. The main problem might be that it's still clearly written for children, but the story itself is more adult than the first one and the simple writing style is not sufficient anymore. I would say that Rowling has a certain problem with changeovers (and romance, but that's another story). The Chamber of Secrets is the bridge between the children style of book 1 and the young adult style of book 3. Another weak spot of the series is the Half-Blood Prince which represents the bridge between young adult style of book 5 (where Harry overcomes the worst period of puberty) and the adult style of book 7 (which is already deep in the mud of war). But, despite of all this, the book still has three stars and that's sufficient enough. I even contemplated giving it more, but I wanted to preserve the contrast between this and for example Deathly Hallows. I like the writing style and I like the story, but unfortunately not everything you like always goes well together. What would happen if I decided to have a trout with lemon ice cream for lunch?...more
There are as many groups of people as there can be when it comes to this series. People who love Harry Potter without a single doubt in their mind aboThere are as many groups of people as there can be when it comes to this series. People who love Harry Potter without a single doubt in their mind about anything Rowling has to say, people who hate Harry Potter with passion, people who think Harry Potter causes evil (oh please!), people who don't care about Harry Potter and so on. Personaly, I belong to the group of people who love Harry Potter, but are aware that the books do have flaws.
But, I'm not going to talk about the whole series in this review. I'm going to talk about the first book.
This book was obviously written for children, as you can say from the simple plot, the writing style and the black and white characterization of the characters. It's a fairy-tale about wizarding world hidden inside of our world. Nice. But what is so good about it?
For starters, I like descriptive books. Not descriptive in a way Twilight is (trying how many ways you're able to say "Edward Cullen is gorgeous and perfect" is not descriptive - it's annoying). I like when the author bothers with little things that make the scene more realistic, but doesn't overdo it. Actually, when it come to the characters, it's better when it's minimalistic at the beginning and then you find out more when it's convenient.
For example, the description of Hermione: "She had a bossy sort of voice, lots of bushy brown hair, and rather large front teeth." Rowling gives us what we would see if we looked at her for the first time. When you look at the person for the first time, you usually don't remember what color their eyes were or that they had a little scar on their chin or what shape their mouth was. You see the prominent features.
The settings, on the other hand, are described with detail (especially food) which I find a bit amusing, but it doesn't bother me at all. Actually, I kind of like it.
The plot itself it very simple, especially compared with later books which use several seemingly unrelated and unimportant subplots only to connect them and show the true extent or their importance (The Prisoner of Azkaban for example). In The Sorcerer's Stone, there is only one bigger subplot with the Norwegian Ridgeback and we see almost immediately what connection it has with the whole plot.
The main plot line is very clear and straight, even though we don't really see it until about half of the book. The first part is all about Harry discovering he's a wizard, description of the wizarding world and Harry's school life. Only after all that we get to the main plot line. That's to be expected, but a lot people don't like this. They think it's too much. Personaly, it doesn't bother me. I'm not sure why. Maybe I just want to concentrate on the new, amazing world without having to worry about this evil thing that kills unicorns.
Of course, there is a few holes in the plot, but most of them don't show until we get the whole picture in the later books (mainly because most of those holes have to do with the Horcruxes).
To sum it up: I recommend this book to everyone who likes a good children story and want something for light reading. And of course to people, who want to read the later books (those are for different types of readers)....more
This is one of the books I will probably never get tired of. I remember discovering this series years ago, while searching the shelves labeled "FantasThis is one of the books I will probably never get tired of. I remember discovering this series years ago, while searching the shelves labeled "Fantasy & Sci-fi" in the local library. The problem with series like this and the city libraries is that you rarely find the first book there. Someone is always reading it. In this case though, I was lucky. I think I didn't really appreciate it that first time, though. It was the period of my adolescence, when I rarely enjoyed other books than those that were directly focused on romance. Therefore, I liked the chemistry between Richard and Kahlan, but I was quite annoyed by how long it took them to actually get together (and if I was angry about that even if they spent most of the book together, I'm amazed I finished the second and third book, where they barely see each other). I completely missed what the book was really about because I was basically only reading all the other parts just to see when they finally get together. I came back to the book about two years ago and I was amazed by it. I was blown away. I picked it up because I was reading A Game of Thrones at that time and I wanted to read a fantasy book which doesn't constantly give me the feeling that it will all go to hell no matter what. I thought Goodkind was harsh and too drastic when I first read the series, but really, once you meet Martin, everything else seems like a Disney fairy tale (I say Disney, because from what I've heard, the original version of the Little Red Riding Hood could give Joffrey Baratheon a run for his money). It can be slightly too much sometimes, I admit, but once I let myself see all the parts of the story and not just those where Richard and Kahlan talk about their relationship (or the reasons why there's none), I was gone. First of all, Richard is an amazing character. He really is a guy and he makes mistakes, he doesn't always know stuff, but when he does, it's definitely worth it. He actually reminds me of Harry Potter somehow. They can be equally slow and annoying sometimes, but once they figure out what they need to do, they make up for every single time you lost it and yelled at the book: "When will you stop being such an ass to everybody, let go of your hero-complex and understand that maybe your friends have a point when they say you can't do everything alone, Harry!" With Richard, those moment don't come nearly as often as with Harry (actually, it's usually Kahlan who makes you want to yell at her), but there are some. Goodkind is very respectful towards women in his books. He makes them real and equal to the male characters. Kahlan is an excellent example of this. In the first book, she is number one in the Midlands and you can see that Richard is humbled by her. But he's by no means inferior to her. They really are equal partners and I like that Goodkind knows how to write it. The story itself can seem a bit predictable. Let's put it this way: You know where the road ends, but there is quite a few surprises waiting along the way. Sometimes you feel that the characters can't get out of something and when they do, you are usually at awe by how they managed it. But when you look back, you realize that the solution was there all the time, you just didn't see it. And last but not least, I always loved the moments of revelation in the books. Whether it's a little secret or a huge mystery, I always loved to see how shocked the other characters are. Goodkind can definitely write such moments in a way that makes your insides flutter with joy, but it doesn't go over the top. There's just some little fact that you know the whole time and for some reason, the authors avoid the moment some other character finds out and is appropriately shocked by it. With Goodkind, you can wait for a while, but in the end you're leaving the scene smiling, thinking: "Yes, that's exactly what I wanted to see." I will definitely read this book again...and again and again :)....more