Another was originally written in Japanese and it's obvious that this version is a translation. There are riddles that lack the natural flow of language, since I'm sure that there are some words/meanings in Japanese that don't exist in English. I felt as if I was reading a water-down version of a masterpiece. That said, this must be one of the creepiest novels I have ever read. It has the aura of an old-school Hitchcock psychological horror blended with a modern Japanese horror such as Runju, which I had to DNF cause it freaked me out so much. There's a rawness to the story that makes me believe that a child dictated to the writer rather than the writer inventing it. There are some instances that felt put in for 'shock' value that didn't do anything for me. I think it was because Sakakibara was so emotionally distant from the other characters that it was difficult to get attached to them before they died.
The narrator's purpose isn't clear and first and by the end there are still many unanswered questions. I do think that some of the information presented in the narrative could have been left out, as it is re-explained in Sakakibara's POV. Of course there are other things present in the narrative that without being mentioned would make what happens to Sakakibara seem much less spooky. I do like the blend of the two. I feel that they both were definitely needed to tell this story.
There is a few things that happen in this book that remind me that I'm dealing with a different culture. I wish there was even more emphasis on the culture because I found it nearly as fascinated as the storyline.
Even though this is a series, I felt that the ending was completely satisfactory as a standalone. I'll probably read the next installment when it is translated. (B+)
(I received a copy of this book from the publisher/Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.)