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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 (1591d ago)
v.12 c.7 by Baka-Tsuki (1651d ago)
v.11 c.Author's Notes by Baka-Tsuki (1767d 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
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User Rating
Average: 8.4 / 10.0 (534 votes)
Bayesian Average: 8.29 / 10.0
 49% (261 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 #713 increased(+68)
Monthly Pos #1378 increased(+84)
3 Month Pos #1733 increased(+146)
6 Month Pos #1871 increased(+93)

List Stats
On 1801 reading lists
On 847 wish lists
On 75 unfinished lists
On 524 custom lists

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Forum Posts
Do you think it's actually possible? 842 days, 7 hours, 20 minutes ago
Where to read Sword Art Online (Light novel)? 1209 days, 22 hours, 0 minutes ago
Sword Art Online and Accel World 1399 days, 18 hours, 50 minutes ago
Swordt Art Online dropped 1499 days, 12 hours, 50 minutes ago
does it get better? 1651 days, 9 hours, 49 minutes ago

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User Comments [ Order by usefulness ]

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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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Rating: N/A
by Astral100
May 24th, 2010, 2:32am
Having seen a bunch of good reviews I started reading it, but now I regret it

I am so tired of those stories in anime and manga.
The main character is once again a weak loser (character-wise), has no confidence, has tons of insecurities, makes stupid mistakes that a 3 year old would not do, always is led by others and agrees with whatever decisions other people make and is a total and complete looser.
In other words, your typical harem hero. Thankfully there is only one girl so far, but she also feels attracted to the wimpy main character for no reason at all.

By the way, the real world girls would be be turned off by such behaviour faster than you can say snap.

It started off well, but the further I got, the worse it became. I had to stop reading halfway through the first volume, because it has become simply disgusting to me.

I mean you would expect a person who has been fighting every single day with his life at stake for 2 years would be more mature than this... this... looser.

If you are still a male virgin teen that has no experience with girls you might like it, but me, I afraid I am too old for this kind of bullshit anymore.

What are the japanese authors that make such novels are thinking?
Ugh...I now have a very bad aftertaste in my mouth after reading this.

... Last updated on May 24th, 2010, 2:44am
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@.@ wow   
Rating: N/A
by Elairz
May 17th, 2010, 5:50am
totally unexpected.
id seen this novel link in baka-tsuki page long time ago, but stayed away from reading it thinking it a novel based on available online game right now. most of manga based on online game doesnt really interest me since it feel flat.

im glad i read this novel today though..very good story. u could read the vol 1 for stand alone story.
vol 2 is more like sidestory which fill the gap between the two years that the 1st vol skim by.
which i dont really care.

Vol 3 is the real sequel. which pick up after vol 1 ended. quite a twist to the story though. im looking forward to kirito's new adventure.
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Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by iamin7ove
May 5th, 2010, 2:12pm
9.9/10 (read below)

Since others have already said i wanted to say i will only say on little thing
Had the waking-up scene been Asuna's then its 10/10 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

... Last updated on May 5th, 2010, 2:14pm
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@_@ epic win!!! then meh. .   
Rating: 3.0 / 10.0
by shmigelpuf
April 27th, 2010, 4:37am
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
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Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by callmebaboon
February 19th, 2010, 11:55am
OMG!!!! this is wat im looking for!!!! whole in one package!!!!. action, romance,and of course great plot.highly recommended .Hope this will turn into anime or manga..

... Last updated on February 19th, 2010, 11:56am
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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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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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