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From Yen Press:
In the year 2022, gamers rejoice as Sword Art Online-a VRMMORPG (Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) like no other-opens its virtual doors, allowing players to take full advantage of the ultimate in gaming technology: NerveGear, a system that allows users to completely immerse themselves in the game world by manipulating their brain waves to create a wholly realistic gaming experience. But when the game goes live, the elation of the players quickly turns to horror as they discover that, for all its amazing features, SAO is missing one of the most basic functions of any MMORPG-a log-out button. Now trapped in the virtual world of Aincrad, their bodies held captive by NerveGear in the real world, users are issued a chilling ultimatum: conquer all one hundred floors of Aincrad to regain your freedom. But in the warped world of SAO, "game over" means certain death-both virtual and real...
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Disagreement and Warning
Like kiari7!!!, I've also read Yu Wo's novel and The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor, and think that Asuna is shallow compared to other character, especially when compared to Sinon (or maybe it just because I worship Kirito x Sinon pairing)
However, I can't agre with one thing. SAO is not, in any way, boring. It is true that SAO is not as funny as 1/2 prince (remembering that SAO, unlike 1/2 Prince, isn't a comedy genre), but you could actually relate to character in SAO. I wouldn't explain how good is SAO, because there's already tons of comment that explain how awesome SAO was in a better and easier to understand way than what I could ever type.
As for the reason why Kirito feel guilty about becoming beta tester, it was explained later in the story, and explained further in SAO: Aria. Current fav arc: Aincrad (first volume) and Phantom Bullet (5th and 6th volume)
Warning: This novel could make the reader didn't move from the computer (even for final examination preparation, (or maybe it just me who's lazy)), addiction, and constant daydreaming about SAO.
... Last updated on July 14th, 2012, 7:20am
[Holodeck Malfunction + Win To Exit] done right.
VOLUME 1 "(8/10)": I'm serious. I was quite surprised with the first volume. The concept itself isn't new (see .hack//, Detective Conan Movie, Yu Gi Oh, Digimon just to name a few). But compared to those I'm very pleased with the scientific approach behind S.A.O.. It's way more probable than the likes of .hack and co. It's one of the best and more importantly BELIEVABLE 'stuck in a virtual reality' kind of stories I've read or seen so far. That alone is reason enough to give this a try. Add a very interesting Virtual Reality MMORPG, a not so transparent plot, and a quite balanced cast. The result is known as Sword Art Online.
[Characters] I have to disagree with Astral100 on this one. IMHO Kirito is a great fit. He has alot of insecurities, etc etc. TRUE. But that also has a reason. While I'm usually not a fan of this type of protagonist in this case the plot depicted a very withdrawn and unsociable kind of teenager who finds refuge in gaming. That's what makes him a hardcore gamer, it's also ironically the source of his strength (being a hardcore gamer/betatester has allowed him to reach a very high level). Another thing that makes him interesting is that he's one step ahead of the reader at all times. Mainly by withholding information from the reader, but also because the plot is driven by conclusions he draws. Making the plot less predictable.
[Plot] I won't go into detail. A great read. If there's one thing I didn't like it's the intermission. You'll know when you get there. All the suspense was gone, and while you might argue this was a good break - literally 'the calm before the storm' - I would've preferred another approach.
VOLUME 2-4: I haven't finished Volume 2 yet, but so far it was a bittersweet disapointment. Don't get me wrong I enjoyed it plenty. But it's basically fanservice. Sidestories of Kirito meeting girls who end up falling for him. The characters were lovely, and I do realize that the events of volume 2 are important for the following arcs. However all things considered the events are superfluous and don't advance the story. It's merely there to satisfy the readers with fanservice and it lives out the glory created by the prequel. It's certainly nice in a way, but I have mixed feelings about it. "(5/10)"
ALfheimOnline (ALO) the successor of VMMORPG SAO and the second arc of the story (Vol 3-4). I'll give it to you straight. It's nowhere near as good or interesting as the first volume. At times it was somewhat irritating even. Damsel in Distress is bad enough as it is (I hate those..) now add a very unpleasant and boring villain and a protagonist who apparently turned into a moron. The previous calmness and intelligence he showed at times that made the plot less predictable is now replaced by impulsiveness. The story is no longer unpredictable. In the end this arc turned into a mediocre .hack// clone. "(5/10)"
VOLUME 5-6: So far GunGaleOnline (GGO) has been the best arc since volume 1. I can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe it's the thrill of anticipation you get from reading the beginning of a potentially interesting story. I can't wait to read more. (Currently @ v.5 ch.5) "(7/10)"
... Last updated on October 19th, 2011, 9:40am
very very good story
SAO 7 (Mother's rosario) novell touched me in a really powerful way. I read really many book in my life, but for first time I've been crying. People who rated those novells low , please try to read little firther then prologue...
A nice way to put MMORPG's into a more "real life" setting (lol but if that happened that would be sad)
Keep the SAO train rolling!
Volume 1 is truly a masterpiece in my eyes. Like many have said before, the idea of getting stuck in a video game is not new itself. However, KAWAHARA Reki refines the idea making it truly unique. The story is focused on "gaming" but really, the "video game" aspect is only a flavor into what SAO truly stands is, a story of human interaction.
The way the story unfolds actually makes you believe "Yes this can happen", as shmigelpuf says "the story has a perfect balance of action, adventure, and romance".
The main character main seem like an archtype to some typical protagonist, but as you read further, you get to know the protagonist, you get to understand his thought, his actions, his feelings, and brings the story much more alive.
Read this, give it a chance, you will not regret it.
Oh and as darn2k mentioned, Volume 3 and 4 are one story, one arc and only combined do they equal the length of Volume 1. You have to read both to get a good picture and idea of the overall story.
To help the confusion for new readers
Volume 1-Arc #1 Volume 2-Before/In Between Arc #1 Volume 3- Arc #2 Volume 4-Arc #2 And so on
... Last updated on May 16th, 2011, 9:50pm
really liked it
Really does make me look MMORPG's a little different as i really like the fact that the game in this novel doesnt use the characteristic magic that are in almost every RPG and in EVERY MMORPG. Which would make partying incredibly less efficient at surviving than playing solo as Kirito does.
... Last updated on January 25th, 2010, 4:10pm
The first volume was amazing but the story should have ended there
I read through the first volume pretty quickly and was amazed by how good everything was. The pace was good. Even when the main story was sort of "on hold" while going through the romantic scenes it was so good. Those scenes end up being very important because only by reading through them do you manage to understand and value their relationship.
Another thing I loved was the philosophic questions behind their situation. I clearly remember a scene where asuna and kirito are talking and she says something like: If we are here and our hearts are here and if we are living and feeling these emotions, isn't this reality in itself? Now that was beautiful and I totally agree. They were in the game for 2 years. They laughed, cried and suffered in game. Looking at that as just an imitation of reality based in lie is wrong. That was reality.
Then the amazing unpredictable end of the 1st volume left me with my heart beating faster than normal and all I could think was "What the hell? How will this end". Then I skipped the 2nd volume right to volume 3 because I honestly couldn't wait to get some closure to that cliffhanger.
And volume 3 has been a big disappointment so far. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad. It's just that after that amazing 1st volume I was expecting something equally amazing. Spoilers ahead so be careful. The new world isn't working for me and so aren't the new characters. Also the fact that it seems like it's gonna take a while to see the girl again is pissing me off. Then the whole conspiracy in the real world sounds dumb. He is going to marry a girl who is in a coma? You can do that in Japan? And her dad is all for it. Damn...
Concluding. Read it. Read the first volume and continue only if you really love it. Especially if you like MMOs or even fantasy as a whole you'll have a blast.
I have always been a fan of VRMMORPG type manga/games/novels/etc, and when I read this I immediately enjoyed the plot and the main character. I'm especially liking the world it takes place in and the characters that surround him. More recently I'm loving volume 2 with the Scilica and Lizbeth chapters and hold high expectations for more releases. I also began looking into the manga that has been released recently and I think highly of how it will progress. Baka-Tsuki I thank your group for releasing this along with all your other projects. Keep up the good work and please continue to release more chapters of SAO.
... Last updated on December 29th, 2010, 12:23am
@_@ epic win!!! then meh. .
This is really a good novel. . it surprised me when i first started reading it. . the way the author made it seem more realistic in a sense that they were really living in a different world that one can only see in one's dreams. . in just the first few chapters i was drawn in. no... i was captivated by it. . the story has a perfect balance of action, adventure, and romance. . though it was a bit ahm. . alarming when i read chapter 16.5.. of volume 1. all in all its a good novel even if I've only read the 1st volume i think the next volumes would still be as great!
(edit) um. . just read vol 1 and 2. . it should have just ended there. . other volumes are meh. . why meh you ask? its like it shifted from epic seinen to shounen. . and the fact when you die in sao you die in real life disappears in the later volumes for me makes it feel that its lost its unique feel and magic. . so yeah the other volumes are meh. . @_@
(Edit) It seems i misjudge the latter volumes. . The fact is i just didn't like the fairy dance arc. . it was just boring and very cliche shounenish. . the following arcs improved a bit and now. . i am loving the alicization arc. . hope it maintains this level of polish. .
... Last updated on March 20th, 2013, 3:56am
It's been a lone time since I've enjoyed a series like this. I love it so far, but I do fear for the romance side of it as I read more of the light novel, but the anime is doing good. Love the art work and the story line has holes, but they're liveable.