I wrote The Dark of the Sun in 2014, so there was a long gap between the writing of the first book and the second, and some definite changes in my level of life experience, which I think the second book reflects. I wanted to create a world based on the natural ecosystems of wild California; to examine, twist, and possibly abuse some of the tropes of classic high fantasy; and to create a nonhuman species who would be not only intriguing but at least somewhat scientifically believable (if you take epigenetic theory a bit beyond the beyonds). After I had written the first book, a character who had been somewhat of a villain was dissatisfied with how he had been portrayed, and insisted upon having the next volume told from his point of view. Whether he remains a villain is up to the reader to decide.
It would be possible to start with this book and understand the world and the plotline, but starting with Stealing the Sun is recommended.
There is no human POV anywhere in this series, as it is entirely from the point of view of the People -- and to find out who and what the People are, start reading. Readers have praised the drama and narrative drive of these books, finding them hard to put down once started!