I didn't read the previous books in this series, but I wasn't too lost. I really liked the premise and the back copy was enough to bump it to the top of my TBR pile, but the book didn't quite deliver.
The pacing felt a bit uneven, because at some points I'd be totally engrossed only to completely lose interest in continuing a few pages later. I nearly set the book aside at page fifty and went to read something else. And while I'm (mostly) glad I didn't, the book wasn't as good as I was hoping it would be.