I enjoyed the first book a great deal and relished all the hints and suggestiveness that was nodded at in it. A whole world continuing to unfurl in my imagination.
To say I was disappointed is maybe an overstatement, slightly deflated is maybe more accurate. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a fine children’s book, with all the good morals, fine story telling and warmth of friendship and belonging driving it along nicely. It also retains the dual layered elements that J.K. Rowling does so well, appealing to the young and old alike. It just “feels” like a second book. If you can appreciate what I mean. It feels as though after the success of the first book the publishers were pushing for the sequel. Rushed almost. Not “that’ll do,” it’s nowhere near that bad, but just slightly lacking from the first book. After all, at this stage in her career, J.K. didn’t hold the obvious power and control that she so richly deserves these days.
But don’t dismiss this as being a bad book, or an unworthy edition to the series. It’s still very good, and far above most children’s literature. Once again we see the good versus bad, and once again our three lead protagonists balance and enhance each other perfectly. We also get further into their characters and a real picture and feel for our heroes begins to develop. You care about them now. You still want to learn and hear more about them. All the peripheral characters also become part of the whole too. It’s a nice progression. And once again the story is moved along nicely with even more details, references and hints at things to come.