I think that this story was a little better than the rest I've read in the series (so far) just because the ending was totally unexpected. Also, they didn't continually stumble upon a castle or a caravan that had people who were initially nice but only betrayed them later.
The feel of the story does tend to be a bit juvenile, which may make people think this book is okay for young adults, but the very adult topics and situations in it make it unsuitable for less mature readers.
In truth, I don't think I care for the character Somerdai (Summer) because she tends to be an idiot often, even though she thinks she isn't. (Obviously, it's not her fault, since the author wrote her that way, but how many times do you need to get a warning from your magic ring before you actually listen to it? And how many times does the same plot device need to be used in one story before the author gets a little more creative?) The characters do tend to be TSTL because they often do the exact opposite of what people warn them not to.
Overall though, I couldn't stop myself from reading this book. I don't know why I didn't put it down because I'd get quite disgusted with some of the idiocracy in it, but there was just something that kept me going.
A real step down from the first book. The plot is hard to believe and the characters that you most love from the first book are changed- quite a bit. I'm glad I read it just to see what the author had in mind for the characters I loved from the first book, but it's one I'm glad I didn't buy new!!