Wow, so much better than the first book. There is a major plot change about 25 pages in, one designed to make you gasp, since it changes EVERYTHING. By the time you get to the end of the book, this also shows Turner's deftness as a writer. She is able to radically change your thinking with regards to one major character, and that is no small feat, I don't care what kind of book you're writing.
There is also no way you can do something on that level and not make some holes. Case in point: Eugenides' emotions and facial expressions run the gamut towards the end of the book, in particular in how he interacts with Attolia (and to some extent Eddis). This feels false. The book would have been better without some of these rapid changes.
My problems with the first book (mostly its slowness) still exist, but less so. While oodles of time are still spent on political intrigue and geographical features of the 3 countries, it feels like it fits better. I'd guess this is due to the fact that we finally meet and learn about the people directly involved in these machinations.
My friend's pre-teen daughter has read all these, and I am wistful. It is beyond clear to me at this point in my life that complex adventure and/or mythology stories are much harder for me to parse than when I was a kid. I adored The Silmarillion then, which I tried picking up again last year: nearly choked within the first 10 pages. I guess I was smarter as well as more patient then.