When the first twenty pages are a huge supposed-to-be-funny note-to-self that's all in Kaylin's head, and mostly her just whining about how awful her leave has been, you know things aren't good . . . it seems like a really clumsy way to remind the reader of what happened in the last book.
This is the first Elantra book that's actually been a direct sequel/continuation of a story/whatever to the book before it, though . . . ehhhh . . . as long as it gets better, I guess I won't complain too much. At least Nightshade is in the group somewhere, even though he's being largely ignored.