I started in the middle of this trilogy, because I snapped up the second book at the library while it was still on the shelf. "Hot reads" (of which this is one) only go out for a week and can't be renewed. So, I put the first one away and started on the second.
Although the book can marginally stand on its own, that is, the romance that's the focus of this second installment doesn't need a preface, it's very much the middle chapter. You get a bit caught up on what happened in the first book, without too many spoilers.
This is one of Roberts' trips into the fantastic, for which she's well-known. The heroine of this particular book is very Buffy, while still maintaining a separate personality. The hero's a shapeshifter (no spoiler there). The overlying plot is a Chosen Circle of six people from different times and places who prepare for the Great Battle to stop a Vampire Queen. Again, no spoiler here.
We get a bit more of a look into the lair of the primary baddie here, which I like. Roberts has a real talent for storytelling in multiple perspectives. It's hard to judge a second act on its own, though. It feels like it should...that we jumped in after the first act and by the end of the book, the story isn't over yet.
Usually I like the second book in her trilogies the best. I identify best with the heroine, who's usually the most obviously flawed. This time, though, I find myself really looking forward to the final installment, not just for how the Final Battle turns out (foregone conclusion, really), but to see how the heroine and hero come together.