I liked the smooth continuation of the story in the beginning of the book. You could read these two books back to back (like I did) seamlessly, it only feels like a new chapter or section of the same book. You were drawn right back into the Harry Potter universe without a glitch. Like I talked about before, the characters are completely realistic and likeable/hateable except for their lack of depth. You did get to know the Weasleys and Hermione better which was nice. You also became more familiar with the legend of Voldemort and that particular back story which turned out to be rather interesting.
The story begins with Harry and the Weasleys, including young Ginny, finishing the summer and beginning school again. There are your normal teenage antics, including flying cars and students crushing on a teacher, which add spice to the regular story line. The new professor is a famous adventurer who comes to Hogwarts to teach defense against the dark arts. He is everything the girls dream of, but not a lot of students like the way he teaches. You have the rivalry and hatred between Harry and Draco Malfoy intensifying as well. Discrimination/Classism begins to rear its ugly head in the arise of the “mudblood” tension at the school, those who think they should be allowed entrance and those who think they shouldn’t. You meet new characters as well, such as Dobey the House Elf, who give you a deeper view into the Harry Potter world.
The overarching story for this book is the opening of the Chamber of Secrets, a hidden chamber in the school rumored to house a deadly monster. Students begin getting turned in to stone. Rumors abide around the school, many of which point to Harry being responsible. As most of the students are mudbloods, this intensifies the hatred already becoming prevalent throughout the school. The Ministry of Magic and the Hogwarts Board of Directors gets involved, arresting, accusing, and attempting to dismiss different teachers.
Overall it is a great read with a strong, unique, well developed story line. I would like to get to know the characters more deeply, like I mentioned, but its slowly building up the characters. Lots of action, emotion, and surprises fill this book, especially for the young readers. Common themes such as loyalty, trust, hope, faith, and friendship reign strongly in this story. Again, this would be a book I would let my children read.