I had issues with Dragon Keeper, the first part of what is really one giant story. I assumed I'd probably prefer this book more because it has to get to the point instead of doing a long setup, and it does. However, this book still doesn't have terribly grandiose plot developments. As Kevin Smith said about LOTR, it's a book about walking. (Or flying or boating or getting washed along by the river from hell.)
However, the thing that made this book are the personal developments the characters made. Those who were getting into bad dealings get out of it, realize their mistakes, and get over it. The bad guys get, well, what they deserve. Characters grow up in one way or another. I was particularly pleased with Sedric's developments. Alise's aren't too shabby either. I really enjoyed their storylines. The dragons are handled in interesting ways. Sintara doesn't really soften as a character, but she has her moments. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to think of the epistolary plot between the birdkeepers (eventually they get one), but it's all right.
Thymara, on the other hand, kind of continues to be blockheaded somewhat past the point of the clue bat. When someone pulls you aside and says (paraphrased, obviously), "Look, now that we're here we can all get laid, and there's a shortage of girls. Either you pick a guy to have sex with OR ONE WILL BE CHOSEN FOR YOU, DON'T YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN BY THAT?", and Thymara CONTINUES to be all, "I will not choose! I am free to stay single! We're all supposed to not have sex anyway!" and miss the point of the warning... well, I kind of wanted to throw in some more clue bat hits for her. Not that I'm saying that she should have sex--this book makes it very clear that the girls shouldn't under the circumstances they are living in anyway, and that's not wrong--but she stretches her denial of everyone else around her exploring sexuality for a pretty long time. She eventually kind of softens towards her stance on this, but her determined ignorance struck me as being a pretty bad idea, and it was irritating.
I did ah...predict the surprise at the end of the book, but anyone who knows anything about tropes probably did too. That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it, though, so whatever.
I'll give it three and a half stars. A more enjoyable book, indeed.