I don't know what happened between 2003 and 2005, but something obviously did, because this book is muuuuuch better.
There are still things that get on my nerves, like repetitions (the same phrase repeated thrice on one! page) or the POV hopping. But overall the story is compelling enough that I don't mind, or only pause for a second or so.
I definitively didn't want to throw it against the next wall like I did the first one.
So I guess my endurance paid off.