I can safely say the second book is less of a Robert Jordan fan fiction (and by extension Tolkein derivative), and actually steps out on its own and does some clever things. Sure, it still falls back on a number of Fantasy genre staples, but killing off a few people here and there is clever.
Much of the book was still far too predictable (Bran and Rickon? Come on), but I enjoyed it more than the first. If the trend keeps up, the third book may be halfway decent. 6/10.