The story revolves around protagonist "I" and the murders and mysteries he encounters. He tries in vain to stay out of the story, but instead he always gets dragged into the center of everything. Even though it seems that he contributes a lot, he always finds out that whatever he did was meaningless in the end.
Zaregoto Series placed 1st on the Kono Light Novel ga Sugoi! in 2006. The first volume of series, The Kubikiri Cycle, won the 23rd Mephisto Prize in 2002.
The Kubikiri Cycle went through a number of drafts. Tomo Kunagisa was originally intended to be the series' protagonist, but during the rewriting process, Nisio Isin realized that "Boku" had become more important.
Del Rey published the first two novels in English from July 22, 2008 to June 22, 2010. Vertical Inc. republished the first novel on January 24, 2017.
First off let me start by saying that this is series of light novel author Nisio Isin (Bakemonogatari, Katanagatari and Death Note Another Note: The Los Angeles BB Murder Cases). There are are a total of nine novels but only the first two have been translated and licensed by Del Rey with no plans for future release.
The story is a murder mystery that takes place on a isolated island. The protagonist "Ii-chan" and his friend computer genius Tomo Kunagisa are invited to the island by the it's wealthy owner who has invited female geniuses from all over the world for her own entertainment.
One of the guests is found murder in a "locked room" scenario and the story unfolds...
If you do not like mystery novels don't worry I don't either. Personally, I thought the story was the the weakest element, but it entirely makes up for it with the main character "Ii-chan."
The story is told from his perspective. His thought and actions strongly resemble the main character in the novel The Stranger by Albert Camus or possibly the main character from Onani Master Kurosawa except less malicious. The main character is very indifferent of the world around him. He is the kind of person that makes you think "What the hell is wrong with him."
People must have caught on that the series is great because I bought the first book back in 2010 when the second novel came out for about $5 new. Now it sells on amazon for about $50 used. I would still recommend it even for that price you will not be disappointed.
The first book's concept is very similar to a standard mystery novel, and is executed very well. It just allows you to work things out enough that you can piece together clues and figure out flaws within character logic. However, it will be impossible for you to work out what actually happens unless you are an ace detective.
The main character- Ii-chan plays the role of Watson in the novel. He isn't really solving the mystery completely and is only filling in gaps in what actually happens. This of course means the reader is also left unaware of what is truly going on
until the very end, where the character that has been foreshadowed all along to be an ace detective finally shows up and results in some great interaction between the main character and them.
The cast of characters is absolutely great, each have their own nuances and are clearly defined in a short space of time. One of my favourites is the mind reader character. She has some of the best interaction with the main character and sets up the second novel. Pretty much all the interactions between her and Ii-chan is a build up and foreshadows the events of the next book and the rest of the series.
It's a murder mystery that's well executed, I can't describe it due to spoilers though.
The second book is where is picks up immensely. Ii-chan's character is so clearly defined here that he no longer becomes a viewpoint for the reader but an unreliable narrator for the story. The characters that are introduced in this book are very interesting, and 2 of them are actually quite strange complex characters on the inside but aren't elaborated on for reasons.
The the second book is better than the first and slowly bridges the way out of the mystery novel genre and into something new in the third book.
I highly recommend this series. Currently 2 books have been published in the west and the rest are being fan translated.