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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fry shoots, he scores!
I have read all three books and was astounded by the amazing storyline! I have listened to the tapes and in doing so have come to the conclusion that Stephen Fry should be the narrator for all the books. His use of voices for all the different characters alone is enough to keep anyone interested, but combined with J.K Rowling's amazing suspense filled storyline, it is...
Published on 4 Jun 2000

3.0 out of 5 stars bent
I love the book but part of it is bent and has affected each page. Is there anything you can do?
Published 16 months ago by jem

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of the CD - Brilliantly read, 4 Jun 2007
Stephe Fry's narration is far and away the best that I have listened to over many years of enjoying audio books. Each and every character has their own distinctive and perfectly-judged voice, so that you know instantly who is speaking before the name is given. This makes it so much easier to simply enjoy the wonderful story without being distracted by confusion as to who is saying what, as so often happens with other narrators. We bought all of the other Harry Potter CDs, and they have all been great. I recommend listening to these stories whilst curled up on the sofa on a Winter's evening over any T.V program that I can think of.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliantly written piece of fantasy, 6 Dec 1998
By A Customer
I bought Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in a bookshop to read to my two sons (7 and 9), and they were enthralled; my wife could hardly believe her eyes when she interrupted the showdown at the finish and discovered them both sitting bolt upright holding their breath! When we found the Chamber of Secrets in the local library we had to get it out immediately. I found it even better than the first, to the extent that I could not wait to read it at bedtime before finishing it. To my mind it is better paced than the Philosopher's Stone, which I felt was a bit slow in setting up the really exciting bit; the Chamber of Secrets starts to hot up about half way through in a well-judged crescendo. But it is even better at developing the characters, including the ever so vital Hermione, who gets a bit more get-up-and-go just when it's needed. This is not a great children's book; it's just a great book. When the paperback is out, we'll be getting a copy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the film, 2 Dec 2002
Stevetrumpet (Beds UK) - See all my reviews
Stephen Fry is superb in the way he brings Harry and co to life in this unabridged reading. It is long with 6 cassettes, but it moves along at a good pace.
The way Fry plays Lockhart is the best part of the reading. He captures the right voice and tone for this character, much better than Kenneth Branagh in the movie, although to be fair Branagh is not given all the lines. This is the book as written by J K Rowling, every last word.
I would highly recommend this, especially if you have children and are faced by long car journeys.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Money well spent!, 30 Nov 2002
By A Customer
I bought this audio book for my six year old daughter last year and she can now practically recite the whole thing by heart! She is allowed to listen to it in bed on weekend nights and she also takes it on car journeys and its even been to America and back with us. We also have The Philosophers Stone on CD and we are saving up for The Prisoner of Azkaban. Stephen Fry's adaptation of Rowlings characters really bring them to life and I don't know when I have ever spent my money more wisely. Also, with the number of times my daughter has played them, I am very happy that we invested in CDs as opposed to cassettes. Highly recommended!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another five starrer that dares to be darker than its predecessor, 2 Jan 2007
Having read the Philosophers Stone, this was a worthy sequel. Deliberately moulded for a slightly older audience i just couldn't put it down even at the age of 34. S This book is far darker than the first and sets a darker trend as the series progresses. Gone is the young carefree Harry who knows nothing about the wizardry and Voldemort and the new Harry is here to stay. Harry is still as brave and modest as he was in the first book but we can now see a side of him that is rebellious and destructive as well. I feel this adds to the book and makes harry seem more human and a more likeable hero.

The delights of Fred and George are even more thrilling in this book and the little you do hear of them is very entertaining. Ginny is also a very pleasing character and her relationship with all her brothers was very amusing. Watch out for Dobby, he comes out more useful than he really thinks he is.

Another Page turner
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Can't Praise This Excellent Recording Highly Enough, 12 Sep 2000
By A Customer
Stephen Fry's superb readings of the Harry Potter novels have already become contemporary classics: they are far too good to be left for children only. I am delighted that they have been re-issued on cd, as the cassette medium is all-too-fragile and many repeated plays leave the cassettes in an all-too-worn state. CDs are much more durable. And believe me, though these recordings are expensive, they are well worth the money as they will be played over and over again.
Stephen Fry is a highly talented comedian and actor with a very wide range. Without seeming to try too hard, he gives each of Rowling's characters their own voice, which is necessary in a reading of this sort, but the voices he uses are so cleverly chosen and executed that they do far more than merely help us distinguish one character from another. By assigning each character a specific accent he places them in the Great British Class Battleground and with his excellent sense of timing and nuance he accentuates Rowling's satires with his own sly wit. I actually prefer Fry's readings of the Harry Potter novels to the novels themselves, as Fry adds a whole new dimension to the books, grounding them firmly in the debates (squabbles?) of modern British life. An especial joy in his reading of Chamber Of Secrets is his interpretation of the ghastly Gilderoy Lockhart, who becomes almost frighteningly alive and believeable in Fry's hands. I would not be at all surprised to find the Loathsome Lockhart popping up on Start The Week! He'd fit right in...
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witchcraft, wizadry and rattling good morality, 14 Jan 2002
By (A Brit in Bishkek Kyrgyzstan) - See all my reviews
The second book in the Harry Potter series and Rowling's consistency to date is good. The Chamber of Secrets is remarkably like the Philosopher's Stone in the way that it begins, has a well structured middle and a very exciting end.
Most novels, even those that form part of a series like this one, rarely seem to have the same number of reminders that Potter has. Book two begins with a series of notes about who Harry is and why he's famous, who Ron and Hermione are, and so on. Of course, anyone picking up this book without having read the first one may need such information; but not necessarily. I think the characters establish themselves very well without being introduced in this way.
I have found both books to be very readable and have been impressed by Rowling's use of language. In an age when British kids and adults are being swamped by TEEVEE talk, Rowling has resisted the temptation to use words and phrases like movies, right now, momentarily; and provides us all with well written stories whose language is of a good standard for an English language reader based in the UK! I did notice, however, that Rowling and her editors have a problem with honorary: spelling it as honourary at least twice!
The format of this book is that the characters all assemble at Hogwarts at the start of the academic (is that the right term here?) year, they are introduced as goodies and baddies and teachers (who can also be goodies and baddies) and the plot goes from there. The final analysis in both books is that Harry has to take on a demon and beat it before the book can end; and he must do this almost alone ... read the book to see why I say almost alone! This is good old fashioned good against evil stuff, with good triumphing over evil. I feel that this structure makes a nonsense of the calls for banning Potter from school rooms and libraries: witchcraft and wizadry are merely pegs to hang this story on and whilst they do provide some very light moments, they are not the be all and end all of the plot by any means.
Whilst there are light moments in this book such as when spells and demonstrations of spells go wrong, I think I'm right in saying that there is no outright humour in the book. I was never struck by any of the children or the adults being downright funny: no jokes, no one liners ... experiments that go wrong, figures of fun, but no jokes. I don't think this is a problem, just an observation and will happily stand corrected.
The biggest figure of fun and most damnable teacher because of it has to be Gilderoy Lockhart: the teacher who has written so many books on the subjects of witchcraft and wizadry and who talks a good fight; but when it comes down to it, he's inept and has clearly never done what he claims to have done. Again, not a problem, except that it might cost Harry his life as he marches on to meet the demon that he must try to destroy.
On the lessons for good children (and adults) front, I do find a number of messages, perhaps cunningly hidden, that we can all learn from: Lockhart the braggart is the focus of many lessons; the overcoming of good by evil; and friendship and loyalty are all in evidence in this book, as they were in the Philosopher's Stone.
Perhaps the best message centres around the very secret diary that features both within the story and as a very dramatic part of the end of Harry's triumph. We can put the diary into the context of the internet and imagine a child innocently communicating by e-mail with a paedophile or similar fiend. The child is innocent and the fiend is plotting, cunning and very powerful. Without realising it, the child is swept up by the power of the fiend and may live to rue the day ... until a saviour (Harry) comes along.
I am happy to have read the two books that I have and I recommend them as good reading material for all children and know that many adults are happily ploughing their way through them. Both books have exciting finishes and definitely leave the reader begging for more!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still some teething problems, 8 Feb 2010
A. L. Rutter "Floor to Ceiling Books" (Portsmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
Harry has had a miserable summer. None of his friends have written to him and he wonders whether Hogwarts and the world of wizardry that he discovered the year before is just a dream. Four weeks before he is due to return to school he has a visit from Dobby the House Elf who warns him away from returning to Hogwarts. And so we embark on another year at Hogwarts and another mystery - this time involving the Chamber of Secrets, of the title.

I still thoroughly enjoyed this book, but not quite as much as the first. The main reason for this was the clumsy need to recap that Rowling displayed. The worst instance was when Colin and Harry are walking to the Quidditch pitch and Harry has to explain how it all works - it isn't completely unforgiveable since Colin has only just started at Hogwarts, but I felt it was superfluous nonetheless, and this was not the only instance.

My other reason for the half star being dropped was Gilderoy Lockhart, a very tiresome character who boasts constantly about his achievements. I can see how some people might regard him as humourous but I begrudged any of his 'screentime' and wished he hadn't been introduced.

In this book the fright factor is increased. There is a spine chilling scene in the Forbidden Forest, especially if you are not that fond of spiders, and I still have nerves when Harry faces off against Tom Riddle and he reveals who he actually is. Some younger readers might well be scared by some of the moments in this story.

Once again, the characters are fleshed out fantastically, even minor characters such as Lee Jordan (who commentates the Quidditch matches in a very entertaining manner). All of them are extremely memorable and, even in just this second book of the series, very familiar to the reader. It is a tribute to Rowling's writing of these characters that I never mix up my Professor Sprout with my Professor Flitwick - each of the people who roam the wizarding world have their own characteristics and personalities.

The little details also charmed me. I love the fact that the students have to turn in essays of a certain length in inches on their rolled parchment, rather than word count or pages. I enjoy the Dickensian element of the story - the quills for writing, the clothes and robes. The descriptions of the feasts are unbelievable - they make you wish you could be transported to eat there.

This is not my favourite of the seven in the series for reasons detailed above, but it is still a great read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking follow up!, 2 Sep 2005
Chris Chalk "Chris" (Croydon, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
It's a tough thing to try and create a follow up to a novel, let alone one that delivered so much on its first outing. I mean how do you try and create the same impact that a book that introduced us to a whole new world, full of magical creatures? How do you not make this book an anti-climax that becomes instantly forgettable?
Well you write Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, that's how.
This book skilfully picks up where the first one leaves off. It focuses on Harry Potter, a school boy I am sure you are all familiar with who has the unusual attribute of being a wizard. The story begins with Harry returning to his Aunt and Uncles house at Privot Drive, Harry's seemingly normal request to be taken to King's Cross station to return to school is punctuated with large guffaws from his Uncle Dursley. However will you get onto platform 9 ¾'s?
Harry's amusement at Uncle Dursley's lack of knowledge of the wizarding world is short lived. The normal method of getting onto to platform is simple, as any wizard knows. What happens if you can't walk through the wall between platforms 9 & 10 though...? This is the predicament Harry and Ron (Weasley) find themselves in though and with seemingly the only answer to be to "borrow" Arthur Weasley's bewitched Ford Anglia that has been magically altered beyond the regular Ford handbook. The additional capability of flight would add something to the retail value...
Once the crash landing, and subsequent detention is out of the way Harry, Ron and Hermione begin their second year at Hogwarts full of excitement of those that haven't sent their friends in rather long time. JK Rowling does an excellent job here of developing her characters at a speed appropriate for the age group they fit in. She doesn't mature them too quickly which really benefits the reader in the long run, it doesn't give too much away too early. She also skilfully adds in Gilderoy Lockhart. Thankfully he isn't possessed by Lord Voldemort but his incredible funny arrogant persona really adds an element of humour to the book that makes it such an incredible well crafted story. There are moments in this book when he alone will make you laugh out loud.
It is during a detention with Gilderoy that Harry first starts "hearing things" and as Hermione points out, even in the wizarding word hearing things isn't normal, he mentions nothing about the episode to any of his teachers. However, when mysterious things begin to happen around the castle, Harry begins to realise that his phantom voices and these incidents are not unconnected...
This book is another excellent offering from JK Rowling and one that will mesmerise both children and adults alike. If this book doesn't get you hooked on the series then nothing I can say here will!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hocus Pocus, 28 July 2004
The second book in the series more or less starts right off from where it finished in the last book. Like Harry, you can't wait to go back to Hogwarts and you really hate the Dursleys. In this one things start to heat up a bit. Like all second year children in a new school, things are becoming a little more familiar now. You know your way around lessons, you know your teachers and you have a basic understanding of your lessons. In this book, the readers know what world they're in and they're comfortable in it.
Things start to get a little jumpy now on the rollorcoaster and you're making your first climb up the track.
New characters are introduced: Gildroy Lockhart, Colin Creevey as well as the old characters you already know about: Albus Dumbledore, Severus Snape, Minevera McGonagall.
Things are still quite steady though and it continues the same childlike pattern as in the first book. But it isn't so tame as in the first book, slowly you're introduced to the idea that maybe this children's book isn't so docile after all. This is the bit where the story heats up and we're still at the beginning.
I'm not going to say too much, the thing with this series is that little details can lead to giving too much information away. JKR is such a clever author she has got children fascinated with this series so much that they spend the entire time between publications of new books wondering what happens next. What happens to so and so, who and what exactly is Snape?
This is a great number two book and it is really just the door opening to the next book which very much assures you that this series is not nice little children's book, all very tame really, but is actually quite dark and at points scary. So you've been warned.
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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2): Celebratory Edition
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2): Celebratory Edition by J. K. Rowling (Mass Market Paperback - 7 Oct 2002)
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