I didn't expect it to be as good as the first book, but it still was a huge disappointment.
The first book had actual plot, where the protagonist was building his knowledge, putting in the work, building friendships, and eventually won through the Power of Determination and Friendship.
This has none of that.
Know what? I'll put it into a videogame simile, to keep with the theme of the book.
Reading the first book was like playing a complex game; a roguelike, or an MMO. There were failures, there was a lot of wiki-browsing and note-taking, a lot of exploration. Progress seemed earned.
Reading the second one was like watching someone speedrun a game, if that someone is just following a walkthrough, has no idea what's going on most of the time, and hands the controls off to someone else when he's too lost. It reads like a long list of outtakes from the first book - a ton of quest descriptions with no relevance or impact to the plot whatsoever. It could have been 50-60% shorter. I've only finished it because I had it in audio and could listen at almost 2x speed most of the time.
Yes, there were some decent moments, but overall, it's not worth it. And I didn't like the kind of bullshit about people's minds and bodies the book pushes as fact.
And that leads us to the last two important points. First: Wade, I think, was supposed to undergo an arc. In the beginning, he acts as a rich asshole; but then understands his errors and tries to mend things. He even acknowledges that he wasn't in the right regarding ONI, just as Samantha also acknowledges some points about it. BUT:
If you really accept the book' premise about the ONI principles (keeping it vague here to avoid spoilers): the protagonists very much commit unforgivable non-consensual violations against millions of innocent people. They do realize this. They just don't care. Their stance on the most important question on morals, volition, consent and basic bodily autonomy in their universe is "we'll figure it out later; we'll just do whatever we feel like, for now."
I think it was supposed to be a positive, upbeat ending; I found it sickening.