Marshmallow reviews Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Marshmallow began this blog with a review of J.K. Rowling’s The Cursed Child. Recently she began rereading the original Harry Potter series in their illustrated versions, and a couple weeks ago, she reviewed the illustrated edition of the first book in the series: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Today she reviews the second volume, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, illustrated by Jim Kay.

Marshmallow reviews Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay.
Marshmallow reviews Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you are reading the Harry Potter books for the first time, or you are rereading them and really like Harry Potter, then this illustrated edition might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Harry Potter is spending the summer with his aunt, uncle, and cousin Dudley, which is not his idea of a good vacation. Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon adore Dudley and dislike Harry. The reason the Dursleys dislike Harry is because Harry is a most unusual boy, and the Dursleys dislike everything that is out of the ordinary. And sadly, there is not anywhere else for him to go, as he is an orphan.

Last year, (in the first book of the series), Harry learned that his parents were both wizards, and that they were killed by an evil wizard named Lord Voldemort, who was so feared that even after his “death”, people still called him “you-know-who”. You-know-who killed Harry’s parents and then attempted to kill Harry. But somehow, Voldemort’s curse rebounded on himself, and he was weakened, and many wizards thought he was killed. Since Harry was only a baby when this terrible event occurred, he did not remember any of this. He did not even know that he was a wizard, that his parents were murdered, that he somehow “defeated” Lord Voldemort, and as a result, was famous and admired in a world that he didn’t even know existed. He thought that he was a poor orphan and that his aunt and uncle had to take him in and that his parents were killed in a car crash. However, as clueless as he was about his past, Harry did know that the Durleys certainly did not like him and simply tolerated him. They even kept him locked up in a cupboard under the stairs.

Luckily, events last year caused the Dursleys to move Harry to Dudley’s second bedroom. Now they want to lock Harry in his bedroom when Uncle Vernon’s guests arrive. But then, a house-elf named Dobby appears and warns/tells Harry that he can’t go back to Hogwarts, Harry’s school and favorite place in the world, because according to Dobby, terrible things are going to happen.

Harry basically ignores Dobby, even though Dobby makes it pretty hard to do that. When he returns to Hogwarts, which is more difficult than usual for a lot of reasons, he finds that listening to Dobby might have been a good idea. 

Marshmallow is reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay.
Marshmallow is reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay.

Marshmallow’s Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a really good sequel to the first book, Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone. The book itself is amazing, and with the illustrations, it makes a great choice for readers who are reading the Harry Potter series for the first time, or for readers who love the series and want to reread the books with some new features (like the pictures).

I don’t think that this is a shortened version or a longer version than the original. The whole thing is in here in all its details, and Jim Kay draws beautiful pictures that really bring the story to life. Even in pages that don’t have a ton of drawings, the corners are decorated with related pictures. I found it very interesting to see what Jim Kay thought each character looked like.

Talking about characters, J.K. Rowling is very good at creating characters that are lovable (Dobby), characters that are relatable (Harry), characters that are realistic (Ron, Harry’s friend), characters that are admirable (Hermione, Harry’s friend who is very smart), and characters that are VERY annoying (Lockhart, a professor who comes to teach at Hogwarts).

I think that this is also a great book to read before or after watching the movie version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Here is the trailer for the movie, which I have watched several times already:

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) Official Trailer.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay 100%.
Marshmallow rates Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay 100%.

Marshmallow reviews Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Marshmallow’s first contribution to this blog was a review of J.K. Rowling’s The Cursed Child. Recently she began rereading the original Harry Potter series in their illustrated versions, and today she offers us a review of the book that started the whole enterprise, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, illustrated luminously by Jim Kay.

Marshmallow reviews Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay.
Marshmallow reviews Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like Harry Potter, or if you are new to his world and want to dive right in, then this illustrated version might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): When he was a baby and his parents were killed, Harry Potter was sent to live with his aunt and uncle Petunia and Vernon Dursley. The problem is that the Dursleys want to be ordinary and they don’t want anything to be out of the ordinary, which is bad because Harry Potter is anything but ordinary. Strange things happen when he gets scared or angry. For example, once when Dudley, his cousin who loves to punch him and hit him, was chasing him, he suddenly found himself on the roof of their school.

A little bit before his eleventh birthday, Harry receives a letter addressed directly to his “room”, a cupboard under the stairs, which his aunt and uncle, Petunia and Vernon, gave him out of the “goodness” of their hearts. Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia dispose of the letter, and then more of the same letters come, still addressed to Harry in the cupboard under the stairs, and when his aunt and uncle move him to Dudley’s second bedroom, the address for the letters switches to the second bedroom. When Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon see the letters, they freak out and go to any lengths to make sure that Harry and Dudley don’t see the contents of the letter. They even travel long distances to hide away at a house by the ocean in the hope that more letters don’t come. Meanwhile, Harry’s birthday has been forgotten, and like every other year, none of the Dursleys says or does anything for his birthday.

Then, in the house in the ocean, a giant man, Hagrid bangs open the door and tells Harry that he is a wizard and he has been invited to Hogwarts, a school for witchcraft and wizardry.

Marshmallow is reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay.
Marshmallow is reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay.

But Harry also learns that his parents weren’t killed in a car crash, as Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon told him. They were killed by a wizard so feared that no one says his name, instead calling him You-Know-Who. You-Know-Who killed Harry’s parents but couldn’t kill Harry, and he himself got destroyed, but some people, like Hagrid believe that he is still out there, waiting to come back.

When Harry goes to Hogwarts, he makes friends and has a good time, except for one professor who seems to hate him and seems to be doing suspicious things. When Harry investigates, with his friends Ron and Hermione, they learn that the nameless horror is trying to return to power. (Dun dun dun!)

We would be amiss if we did not insert the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) Official Trailer. Enjoy!

Marshmallow’s Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is a really good book. And the illustrations by Jim Kay really make it even better. The characters and the plot are amazing. The plot all fits together and the characters are all very realistic. The illustrations really add to the story. I especially liked the pictures of the different types of dragon eggs. The world of Harry Potter is magical and fascinating. The movies brought the magic into life with amazing visual effects. The illustrations do the same in this book format.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%. 

Marshmallow rates Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay, 100%.
Marshmallow rates Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay, 100%.

Marshmallow reviews The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher

This week Marshmallow reviews The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher.

Marshmallow reviews The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher.
Marshmallow reviews The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about mythology, and if you are open to being a little scared, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Seren Rhys is an orphan and so has been alone without a family for her entire life. Now that is about to change. She is now going to go live in Wales with her godfather, Captain Jones, and his wife, Lady Mair, and their son, Tomos, in their large house called Plas-y-Fran. While she waits at the train station, a tall, thin man comes and asks her if she can hold on to a package he is carrying, and that if “They” get him, she should not, no matter what, leave it there. When he doesn’t come back, she takes the package with her to Plas-y-Fran.

When Seren arrives at Plas-y-Fran, there are not many people, and the people there are not very welcoming. Seren senses that something is wrong but cannot tell what. On top of this, Captain Jones has gone somewhere to do something, Lady Mair is in London, and Tomos is nowhere to be seen. No one is talking about him, but it is clear that he is not with his parents.

Life in Plas-y-Fran is not turning out to be what Seren imagined. She is alone again: she doesn’t have anyone to play with, and her godfather and his wife aren’t there. And there is something wrong: whenever she tries to learn anything about Tomos, she is scolded or the topic is changed. As she investigates more, she thinks that “They”, magical creatures that steal children from people who took “Their” land, took Tomos. Whatever happened, it is clear that Tomos is gone, and no one is looking for him anymore (because they already looked and couldn’t find him).

Marshmallow is reading The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher.
Marshmallow is reading The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher.

Marshmallow’s Review: I think that this is a great book, but I must say that I think it is best for ages 9 or 10 and up. This is because, first of all, the plot might confuse younger bunnies, and second, this book is a bit creepy. I, myself, was kind of scared reading it. It would be especially scary for younger bunnies because the bad guys, the magical people or “faeries” who take children seem to do bad things to them, like taking their soul. This is one book I would NOT recommend reading at bedtime, or when it is dark, or any time close to night, as apparently that is when the bad guys (“faeries”) try to steal the children. In fact it might be a good idea for parents to read it first to see if they want their child to read it. 

The characters are very well developed, they are very realistic, and they are relatable. The author, Catherine Fisher, is very good at creating suspense at the climax of the book. I was not able to put the book down until I had finished it, thus the reason I read part of it at night, and I really do not recommend doing that.

The Clockwork Crow is part of a series, only the first book of a trilogy. However, I think that it also works well as a stand-alone book, as there isn’t really a cliffhanger at the end. Still I think I want to read the second book in the series just in case. But first of all, I look forward to rereading The Clockwork Crow

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher 100%.
Marshmallow rates The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher 100%.

Marshmallow reviews The Unofficial Ultimate Harry Potter Spellbook by Media Lab Books

Marshmallow began this blog with a review of Harry Potter and The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling. So it was only natural that eventually she would come back to one of her favorite fictional worlds: the magical world of Harry Potter. This week she tells us about a fun book she has been carrying around with her for a while now: The Unofficial Ultimate Harry Potter Spellbook: A Complete Guide to Every Spell in the Wizarding World by Media Lab Books.

Marshmallow reviews The Unofficial Ultimate Harry Potter Spellbook: A Complete Guide to Every Spell in the Wizarding World, by Media Lab Books.
Marshmallow reviews The Unofficial Ultimate Harry Potter Spellbook: A Complete Guide to Every Spell in the Wizarding World, by Media Lab Books.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you liked the Harry Potter series, or more generally if you like books about magic, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary: This is not really a typical book. It is an amazing guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Every single spell that you heard in the movies or read about in the books, even the ones that are barely mentioned, are included in this book. It also lists where the spell or charm was used or mentioned, whether in the books, the movies, the video games, or somewhere else.  Each entry describes the gestures you need to perform the spell and how to pronounce the incantation. On top of that, it also has the different wand cores and woods. Also it tells you which wand types the main characters had. It also informs the reader about Enchanted Objects like the Goblet of Fire and Candy. 

The Unofficial Ultimate Harry Potter Spellbook is great for bunnies who want to learn the spells that are used by the wizards and witches in the Harry Potter world. It also teaches the reader more about the World of Harry Potter. My favorite spell in the book is “Dragonifors”.

Dragonifors
Type: Transfiguration
Use: Turns small objects into dragons
Etymology: In Latin, draco means “dragon” and forma means “shape”
Magic Moment: Minerva McGonagall teaches this spell in third-year Transfiguration class
Note: This spell is only seen in the Prisoner of Azkaban video game.
Produces much smaller, less powerful creatures than true dragons.

Marshmallow is reading her favorite spells in The Unofficial Ultimate Harry Potter Spellbook: A Complete Guide to Every Spell in the Wizarding World, by Media Lab Books.
Marshmallow is reading her favorite spells in The Unofficial Ultimate Harry Potter Spellbook: A Complete Guide to Every Spell in the Wizarding World, by Media Lab Books.

Marshmallow’s Review: This is a very good book that is meant for Harry Potter fans. The comments in the book like “Swish and Flick” remind you of the movies. It has every spell and is very interesting to read. The comments on the back are also very interesting.

Who needs The Standard Book of Spells when you have this?

Horace Belby,  former Hogwarts student

The book does not tell us a new story from the Harry Potter world, but it is a book you would expect to see at Hogwarts, similar to the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander (which was of course actually written by J.K. Rowling). This book also contains incantations from that story.

Readers of this blog might recall that my very first review was of Harry Potter and The Cursed Child. So obviously I am a Harry Potter fan. Years ago, I began trying to write a notebook on the Wizarding World. I wrote down a lot of things, but I got stuck on the spells. This book was exactly what I needed!

Marshmallow’s rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates The Unofficial Ultimate Harry Potter Spellbook: A Complete Guide to Every Spell in the Wizarding World, by Media Lab Books, 100%.
Marshmallow rates The Unofficial Ultimate Harry Potter Spellbook: A Complete Guide to Every Spell in the Wizarding World, by Media Lab Books, 100%.