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Sword Art Online (Novel)  
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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...


Related Series

Associated Names
Сворд арт онлайн
刀剑神域 (小说)

Groups Scanlating

Latest Release(s)
v.12 c.8 + Author's Notes by Baka-Tsuki over 4 years ago
v.12 c.7 by Baka-Tsuki over 4 years ago
v.11 c.Author's Notes by Baka-Tsuki over 4 years ago
Search for all releases of this series

Status in Country of Origin
20 Volumes (Ongoing)

Completely Scanlated?

Anime Start/End Chapter
Starts at Vol 1, Chap 2
Ends at Vol 4, Chap 9

User Reviews

8 topics, 51 posts
Click here to view the forum

User Rating
Average: 8.4 / 10.0 (535 votes)
Bayesian Average: 8.29 / 10.0
 49% (262 votes)
 19% (100 votes)
 10% (56 votes)
 7% (35 votes)
 4% (22 votes)
 1% (5 votes)
 2% (10 votes)
 2% (10 votes)
 1% (8 votes)
 5% (27 votes)

Last Updated
December 19th 2017, 5:13pm PST



Category Recommendations





Original Publisher
ASCII Media Works (Dengeki Bunko)

Serialized In (magazine)

Licensed (in English)

English Publisher
Yen Press (12 Volumes - Ongoing)

Activity Stats (vs. other series)
Weekly Pos #532 increased(+172)
Monthly Pos #1068 increased(+264)
3 Month Pos #1618 increased(+298)
6 Month Pos #1979 decreased(-15)
Year Pos #2016 decreased(-271)

List Stats
On 1798 reading lists
On 848 wish lists
On 74 unfinished lists
On 528 custom lists

Note: You must be logged in to update information on this page.

Forum Posts
Do you think it's actually possible? over 2 years ago
Where to read Sword Art Online (Light novel)? over 3 years ago
Sword Art Online and Accel World over 3 years ago
Swordt Art Online dropped over 4 years ago
does it get better? over 4 years ago

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User Comments [ Order by time added ]

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[Holodeck Malfunction + Win To Exit] done right.   
Rating: 8.0 / 10.0
by Yousuke
June 14th, 2010, 8:00pm
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.

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.

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.

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)"

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
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Disagreement and Warning   
Rating: 9.0 / 10.0
by Sorcha
March 14th, 2012, 12:54am
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
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very very good story   
Rating: 9.0 / 10.0
by B3rKuT
April 26th, 2013, 2:55pm
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...
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Rating: N/A
by Grienson
August 31st, 2012, 6:25pm
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
I came upon this novel by a chance and fell in love right away, the main reason being that I'm a gamer and have wished for virtual reality games for a long time. The romance aspect of a single pairing with no interference of a harem was also very attractive to me.

With that said, I read through the first 2 volumes at an astonishing rate and absolutely loved it. I like loner characters like Kirito and when he later finally got together with Asuna I was delighted, the getting together part was a bit hurried I think, but overall it was an awesome novel.

After reading the first two volumes I was curious what happened to Asuna so I continued reading. I was shocked by how much the main character changed from the first arc, it's obvious he would change after his experiences in SAO, but not this much - an introverted, gloomy loner became a cheerful and carefree playboy.
Another disappointment came with the introduction of a new heroine madly in love with Kirito and the first hint of a possibility of a harem, but because of the situation Asuna found herself in he didn't pay any attention to it so it was still ok.

With a lot of skepticism, hoping it would improve, I moved on to GGO arc. How great was my disappointment when I found out Kirito not only further developed his horrible character from ALO (with the hint of a brat and a crybaby) but also became a womanizer with a "soft spot for beauties" as the author himself describes. After finishing half of this arc I decided to stop reading this novel for good.

As a final verdict I have to say that this novel should have ended with the first arc and it would absolutely deserve a rating higher than 9/10, the way it is now however I'm so disappointed with it that I won't even rate it.
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I recommend vol 1 for everyone. After that it depends   
Rating: N/A
by intemango
June 2nd, 2011, 5:37am
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
Regarding the romance, it developed at the speed of sound for a shounen, though it is perhaps understandable since some parts have been left out, there is mutual attraction and flirting with death every day kinda does that to people (they tend to say some incredibly corny things).

Vol 3+4 is about another game where in-game death doesn't mean death in real life, it's like every other normal MMO game (except for the 'sinister' plot of the main villain). As the author himself explained, he tried to tell a different story without the convenient 'permanent death' plot device, since such an evil game doesn't exist in real life and relying on it would mean all the emotions the author felt while playing normal MMORPGs were fake. While I certainly applaud his noble intentions and greatly enjoyed the almost surreal Jötunheimr arc in vol 4, it is evident that the main story and the MC's efforts would have amounted to nothing of note but for the unrealistic plot of the main villain. It would have been just another tale about gamers competing in an online game among thousands of online games (and truthfully people have gotten fed up with such things). So here is an author trying not to use an unrealistic trope, while still opting for another.

Tropes aren't inherently bad, that 'permanent death' plot device he avoids makes the drama and tragedies real, and arguably even more real than all the 'disney deaths' in stories with real-life settings, since dead characters in SAO never come back. The trope makes every fight the hero undertakes a heroic, selfless and perhaps reckless course of action. And I dig that. But he chose not to reuse it, to vindicate his own belief at the expense of suspense and significance of the characters' struggle, whose only meaning then was to thwart the villain's plan. There was still nothing wrong at that point. But the villain turned out to be predictable and unsympathetic, his plot was simply depicted as a gesture of madness. It could have been much more.
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
Researching into memories, thoughts and feelings is an absolutely grand project that we're doing even today. Understanding how the brain works has so many great applications when you have the right regulations. Without lies we can solve every crime case, put fraudsters, and many politicians (maybe they are no different from the former) in jail. We can back up our memories and recover lost ones. We can help fight depression, and so many other things... Knowledge does not commit crimes, humans do. How we use it is up to us. Turning people into research subjects without their consent is bad, but since they don't remember anything after the fact and aren't directly harmed, the villain could have at least tried to appear a sympathetic martyr, accepting all kinds of condemnation for the sake of rapid progress (he'd grow old and die before people could agree on such matters, for example). Instead all he could say was that he wanted to be god blah blah blah. Tell me another story where 'science' doesn't try to overcome 'god', whatever that is.

The villain and his plot in vol 1 were much better. He didn't try to justify himself, and while it appeared to be simply madness at first glance, the characters eventually discovered a hint of sense to what he was doing. He was a villain you couldn't hate.

... Last updated on June 2nd, 2011, 5:48am
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The first volume was amazing but the story should have ended there   
Rating: 9.0 / 10.0
by claudiofd
May 2nd, 2011, 10:51am
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 endconfused". 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.
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Rating: 8.0 / 10.0
by caitnap
July 21st, 2012, 11:52pm
I am totally absorbed, I can re-read this book everyday and still enjoy it O.o
Guilty that I don't put this book down except doing daily need when I 1st started until i read all avaiable volumes.

It scored the highest rating I ever give, I never give 10 to anything, so 9.5 is the highest.
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Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by FrostLord
December 29th, 2010, 12:21am
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
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really good   
Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by swiftstrike
January 16th, 2010, 4:30pm
A nice way to put MMORPG's into a more "real life" setting (lol but if that happened that would be sad)
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really liked it   
Rating: N/A
by Ryougishikifan
January 16th, 2010, 10:49pm
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
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