Book 1 is the second Zaregoto novel that I read, simply because I found Book 2 for sale at a very friendly price and I ended up buying and reading it. Although I initially did not understand some parts in Book 2 because I would have to read Book 1, I pretty much appreciated the story, characters, and the manner everything was revealed.
Kubikiri Cycle had a larger cast than Kubishime Romanticist, and that fact rather made it difficult for me to get absorbed in the beginning of the story that just briefly introduced the characters. The crime setup, the web of character relations, and the blinding alibis had me wrongly speculate on who the villain was. It was as if everyone was intelligent, which is pretty much not debatable since everyone questionable was a genius of some sort. Well, of course, I am just a terrible detective.
To be honest, I did not find this book as exciting as Book 2. Maybe it was because I immediately began reading this after completing Book 2, which left me in awe of the writing prowess of NisiOisiN. Thanks to the interesting interactions between Ii-chan and Kunagisa Tomo, I was not willing to stop reading Book 1. Obviously, I still prefer Book 2 over this one, as the author seemed to have leveled up upon the completion of the former.