|My original copy, purchased at a Scholastic Book Fair, 2000.|
I also really love the bits with the Polyjuice Potion, which is so gross yet fascinating. I love that Harry, Ron, and Hermione cook up a dangerous potion in a neglected bathroom and use it to get into the Slytherin Common Room. It also, of course, sets the foundation for another mystery to come along in Goblet of Fire.
Overall, the plotting in Chamber of Secrets is a bit more cohesive than in Sorcerer's Stone. You can tell that Rowling was really improving at plot, although (I hate to say it), there were a few points that seemed superfluous--such as visiting Aragog. I wasn't sure if the visit to him was worth the information or the experience that Ron and Harry got out of it, although I do know he'll pop back up in the series again later. So maybe then it will have been worth it, but it does remind me that so much of the first two books involve foundation setting for all the adventures that take place later on.
For as enjoyable as the line-level writing is, I'm realizing that so much enjoyment in the series depends on readers getting in it for the long haul. Which works for the middle school age--kids love reading series. But it does make the writer in me look for ways that Rowling makes each individual book satisfying on its own. As a kid, I remember reading these books for the first time and just going mad with frustration and excitement because I didn't have all the information, and in some cases I had to wait years for the next installment. I take for granted that I read these books now and think, "Yeah, that makes sense because of what happens in later books." Reading while knowing the whole story certainly makes for a very different reading experience.
|My original copy, received for Christmas 2001.|
I should probably stop analyzing this book before I've (re)read it.
I've been giving myself three days each for the first three books, which will give me a little better than four days apiece for the last four books, which are considerably thicker. We'll see if it'll be enough...I'm starting to feel the pressure.