TL;DR: 7th Sea 2nd edition is a strange mix of old and new content which doesn't always work but looks promising.
When you hear 2nd edition for most games, you usually expect a rules update and maybe some small setting adjustments, but 7th sea took a much more radical path. The very land has changed, as we are introduced to a new map (with a whole new country) and briefly told of new continents. Some of it is welcome - many had ponted out in 1st edition how unlikely it was for piracy to become prevalent without a New World of sorts. Other parts are baffling - when you think Swashbuckling Europe, is Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth really one of the top ten countries to come to mind? What about, say, Portugal or the Netherlands ?
Some might point at how a version of Portugal is hinted at in the Explorers Society section - but that's only what it is, hinted at. And the reason why is sadly simple - the major part of the setting section is just a rehash of 1st edition. The authors clearly have many changes in mind - and, now that Pirate Nations has come out, we can see some of these - but weren't bother to include them in the core book. And, I'm sorry to say but this just lazy. On top of this the whole history section of the 1st edition is missing, meaning you get a partially updated, not fully explained setting. A good example is "Anno Veritas", the year 0 of the Thean Calendar, which is mentioned in the introduction - and never explained anywhere. It's easy to guess even for newcomers (it corresponds to the arrival of the First Prophet) but it's still surprising not to find it explained more clearly. I think authors should have started from scratch rather than rebuilding from an edition they're otherwise trying to distance themselves from.
It's far from all bad though - for one, the book is absolutely gorgeous. It's also more inclusive in terms of sexuality and ethnicity, and the new system looks good if a bit quirky. It's just that after a record-breaking kickstarter campaign, I expected better results. Thankfully as more supplements come out I think we will see more clearly the direction the game is intended to take.
[3 of 5 Stars!]