The first book only took me about half an hour to complete, since I got through it in one attempt, but this one consumed more than two hours. There are only two ways to succeed in this book: you must either take Animal Kinship, or take the correct path to get to the Magic Spear and then win an extremely difficult fight. I tried the latter repeatedly, but I got tired of going through the whole book over and over just to die, so in the end I restarted and took Animal Kinship. Things went smoothly, after that.
This is basically not a good design choice. The spear is both missable and very difficult to acquire, and not everyone will have Animal Kinship. It's just too easy to make the book unwinnable.
Besides that, it's disappointing that you lose your items at the beginning. Having worked hard (in principle, anyway) to carry them forward from the first book, it's a shame to have that history just thrown away.
There's also a bit too much randomness. It generally doesn't amount to anything but flavor, but it's a little annoying.
That said, the book is still really fun, and feels much more like an adventure than the first book did.