Despite all the reviews saying otherwise, my personal experience with this book was that it was very similar in quality to the first. They're both slower plots with beautiful prose. I did feel a little lost when at the end Cassia's back in the society in pretty much the same place that she started.
On the other hand I really liked how Cassia's journey through the Carving was written. That connection with the beautiful in the world was pitch perfect. I'm also really over the love triangle in this series. I think that the characters would be so much more sympathetic if it was just a strait love story outside of the bonds of the Society. Then again, I'm pretty famous (in very, very limited circles) for hating love triangles period so that should be taken with a grain of salt.