Quick-take: Book 2 is like book 1: A 1000 page fantasy epic with nothing particularly meaningful happening.
This book amazing. It is amazing how so much content can be put to paper and not have a damn thing happen. I was frustrated by my experience with book 1, so I looked online. Apparently, this is a series (which I knew). The series is intended to be 10 books and only up to book 3 is published (which I did not know).
That explains a lot. That is why there is so many backstories and interludes. That is why nothing gets resolved. I think this is a good story. It is worthy of a couple thousand pages. I just do not think it is worth 10,000 pages. I won't be diving in to Oathbringer (book 3) anytime soon.
On to the review...
In my last review, I said the Shallan story should be dropped. It did not serve much purpose in book 1. In book 2, she eclipses even Kaladin in focus. She is actually developed a bit more and becomes more interesting. Her teacher, Jasnah Kholin, is killed in a pirate raid on the way to the Shattered Plains (the only event of real importance in this book --and it happens very early). Shallan's abilities start to really shine as she makes her way to the destination by herself.
Kaladin loses his powers by not following the rules. I find myself enjoying Shallan more than Kaladin. He is just so angry and bitter all the time. There are a few chapters where Kaladin and Shallan are traveling together. Her tongue sometimes moves faster than her brain, and she manages to drop some nice insults on him. It seems Brandon Sanderson knows flaws given to his characters.
Dalinar plays a lesser role this book. Basically, the story revolves around him being High Prince but everybody sees him as the real king anyway and the dynamics that causes. He plays politician and warrior and I find him quite boring, really.
I described book 1 as a dragging sci-fi series. The goal of a dragging series is to stretch the big reveal of each character is as slowly as possible to not force closing out the series too soon. Book 2 is like a dragging anime series. Nothing really happens except already epic powers become even more epic.
After 1/3 of the way in to the book, I predicted everything that happened. Kaladin suddenly loses his powers early on. This is such a cheap plot mechanic. Of course, he is going to get his powers back at a critical moment. I immediately predicted Jasnah Kholin not really being dead when she died. I was pleasantly surprised when the book ended and she stayed dead.... bravo, something happened.... except... Jasnah Kholin is brought back in the epilogue!
Nothing happens in the book. Even Szeth, the powerful assassin, that was killed by Kaladin was brought back to life. Now, as we enter Book 3, all the important characters are promoted to Radiants. And, we set to continue on, just with different scenery. like before...
With everybody dead coming back, Book 2 is basically a waste of time. Seriously, something PERMAMENT badly needs to happen in this story. With 8 more tomes to go, I am not going to bother anymore with The Stormlight Archive.