Darn it, sophomore efforts for writers of published series have to be just about the most difficult to achieve well. I so very much loved Chambers' first one - the reason is that it was a breath of fresh air for space operas in general - but in this one, she telegraphs her points too early and too hard.
Chambers' themes are all about celebrating difference in others, instead of falling prey to the "us vs. them" (very) human mentality. I appreciate that, don't get me wrong (it's what I liked about the first novel). But in this novel, she goes out of her way to make those differences both obvious and forthright. Now, it could very well be that I'm put off by how uncomfortable she's making me feel - the new AI from the Wayfarers ship is now in her own body, and it is an extremely difficult transition - and wasn't happy with being made that uncomfortable. Or it could be that I was having a hard time trusting that Chambers would bring this story to a resolution that I could get behind. (Hey, it's fantasy, I was having some trouble thinking of alternatives in a world I don't live in.)
Regardless, while I flew through this one as quickly as before - the parts with Jane are hands-down the best, albeit also extremely unnerving - it wasn't as enjoyable. So, I'm very glad there's a third one coming out any day now because I have extremely high hopes for that one.