I also originally read it in Dutch because Kader Abdolah was recommended on the Dutch forum as being suitable for someone learning Dutch and I found his use of Dutch very clear. But I realised on re-reading the English translation that I'd missed some of the subtleties, and that's why I rated it more highly this time.
I didn't notice a different "feel" to the English translation but I can't make a direct comparison because it's been five years since I read (and released) the original Dutch version.
I'm no expert on Dutch literature, but Kader Abdolah is an author who writes relatively short sentences and very clear prose, which is no doubt why he was recommended to me. But I do wonder whether it is this simplicity that made the Good Reads reviewers think the story was boring.