Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

The Chamber Of Secrets

Chamber of Secrets is the book in which Rowling becomes a pro. Maybe it's because they gave her a better editor, maybe it's because her style really had improved,  but I don't find myself tripping over the frequent infelicities that made Philosopher's Stone such an obstacle course for me. I'm a writer; I care about these things. I don't insist on great writing; I'm perfectly happy with the plainest prose, but I do object to clumsiness.

But it's not just about sentence structure, the plotting has improved as well. PS is a bit rickety- even though everything comes together in the end- but CoS is very well-made. It's like a good piece of furniture; the joints dovetail; you give it a good, hard smack and it doesn't wobble.

There's a certain lessening of joi de vivre. This happens with sequels. A first book is all "look at me, I'm dancing", a second book is about improving one's craft. This registers as a darkening of tone. There's less invention. Take the denouements: a guy with a face on the back of his head is more original and more fun than a big, old snake.  But, never mind- CoS is still compulsively readable.

And now for The Prisoner of Azkaban.
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