Yeah, I'm nearly done the second book now--maybe 70% done--and I'm finding it far more interesting. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that in both books I've liked Tavi best, and in the first one he just coasted along. This time he's actually doing something of his own volition, rather than being led along.
In other news, I still don't give a shit about Amara's side of things.
Jim is definitely an excellent author, however. Can't support the man enough.
UPDATE: I'm now done the entire series. Loved it, generally. Of course, by the end I STILL didn't give a shit about Amara, but you can't like every character. I think much of the focus on her should have been redirected to Kitai, who I found to be the most interesting (and therefore my favourite), yet woefully under-developed. She was just there a lot, when she could have been doing so much more. A lot of untapped potential in her, which was really disappointing to me.
I am, however, a big fan of how Butcher tells his stories. Events, separated by years, and seemingly unconnected, all coming to a head... He does it in the Dresden Files even more so, and I positively love the results in both that and Codex Alera. Eagerly await both Changes and his rumored new series.
However, as much as I liked reading the stories, I hate the feeling I get after finishing a good series. It almost without fail leaves me with an "empty" feeling; I don't want to leave whatever world I've been in for so long, and more importantly, I want to see where the characters are going afterward more. Characters make or break it for me and I have a hard time leaving them behind.