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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 #486 increased(+193)
Monthly Pos #983 increased(+349)
3 Month Pos #1916 decreased(-37)
6 Month Pos #1953 increased(+11)
Year Pos #2013 decreased(-268)

List Stats
On 1799 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 usefulness ]

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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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Rating: N/A
by kiari7!!!
September 28th, 2011, 3:13pm
The premise was good, but the story was poorly executed. I stopped reading around chapter 13 of the first volume 'cause it just got too boring.

I am VERY confused as of the reasons Kirito should feel guilty about being a Beta Tester and a Solo player (especially when said player has been helping clearing floors). I don't even get why Beta Testers are considered cheaters. They might have had 2 months of extra -and safe- gaming time, but they barely got to floor 6, and everyone's been in the game for 2 whole years now.

I play mmorpgs, and this is stupid, but WHY is the health bar blue?! :/ That's the mana bar.

The girl is a pain. Yes. She's the most shallow and boring female heroine I've read about in a while. She's there, but it's like she's not. Her personality is nonexistent. Their romance is just as shallow, just as vague, sudden and tepid. Even cheesy. It made me want to hit her.

It's not a BAD story, but it's just so grey and plain. Truly a delusion for me. But I've been reading Half Prince, Legend of the Sun Knight and The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor. Those are so good, they might be the reason I can't enjoy Sword Art Online.

... Last updated on September 28th, 2011, 3:14pm
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Rating: 3.0 / 10.0
by arkS
August 25th, 2011, 11:38am
This novel deals really well with the premise of a game that forces people from real to virtual absolutely and the imagination aspect is good but I don't think this is anywhere near a novel that can incite curiosity or emotions.I picked it up given its high ratings but i was disappointed. I am not a game addict so i cannot tell if it was unique but it was pretty unrealistic. And yes the protagonist is cliched, boring and deluded and hardly develops in that aspect.
I am not spewing nonsense. I read this to the end even against my will and i do appreciate the battle and action scenes but the character and emotions seem like a total fraud and the romance is illogical. The story could have fared a lot better if it had focused on the precarious scenarios with a bit more insight and treated the players more realistically. I mean even if being trapped for two years erases the distinction between virtual and real you would still retain a human mind. The conversations are superficial but intended to be deep and emotional, that really disappoints.

Could have been a lot better.
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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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Brilliant volume 1.   
Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by Atriel
May 27th, 2011, 10:39pm
The first volume is perfect for me. Well, not quite, there are some minor things that felt unnatural for me, but overall I loved every single part of it.

However, I can't say the same for the other volumes. I only read 3 and 4, since those are the ones fully translated, and the first part of volume 2. Volume 2 in itself seems to be a nice compliment for 1, so no problems for me there (I have yet to read all of it though), but 3 and 4... I don't know.

They were okay, but just fell to some more annoying cliches than the first volume, which managed to transform what cliches it had into a good part of its story. V1 even had a hint of seinen, while V3 and 4 felt like flat-out shounen for me and had some very ridiculous moments that killed the "magic" I felt from V1. I won't go into spoilers, but V1 actually felt like something possible and reasonable (so to say), while V3 and V4 felt like an impossible scenario given the big mount of incoherent situations.

Maybe it's just me, but the story is going downhill. If it comes down to it, I'll just mentalize myself to think that V1 was all of Sword Art Online. I'l keep my rate at 10 for now, but it's hard to do so. Overall, I agree with Claudiofd. What was written in Claudiofd's comment, is very close to what I felt when reading this.

... Last updated on May 28th, 2011, 10:14am
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Keep the SAO train rolling!   
Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by Meatbunz
May 16th, 2011, 9:45pm
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
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DO NOT stop after volume 1, it just gets better as the series goes on   
Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by darn2k
May 7th, 2011, 3:53pm
I really love this series, I'm even helping edit. But I've just got to know how much of volume 3 claudiofd actually read, because no matter how much it was, it wouldn't be enough. Volume 3/4 are all one big story so if you only read a couple chapters or even the full volume 3 you wouldn't be able to get the same feeling, but once you read all of volume 4 with it you won't be disappointed.

That is not even mentioning volumes 5/6 where you get more of what is going on outside the game and Kirito is using a light saber in a shooting-based game.
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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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Read Volume 1 - Loved It   
Rating: N/A
by Freecss
March 18th, 2011, 10:37pm
It started out real well. Protagonist is like your typical MMO grind player. Socially inept/withdrawn. Great Main Character in my book. He's neither weak or a loser. He's independent initially and able to stand by himself but later will soon have someone to depend on.

Plot was great IMO. Everything blended real well. Volume one tells the beginning and end of the whole story but the later volume will delve into Kirito and Asuna's life as well as every character they encountered in game in more detail(I've only read v01 don't quote me on this). His journey within the 2 years before the current floor 74. Where Volume had a time-skip.

Spoiler (highlight to view)
Gah! I need to know Asuna and Kazuto's relationship after clearing the game!
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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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