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Sword Art Online, Vol. 01: Aincrad

(Sword Art Online Light Novels #1)

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  7,335 ratings  ·  428 reviews
Read the novel that ignited the phenomenon!

In the year 2022, gamers rejoice as Sword Art Online - a VRMMORPG (Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) like no other - debuts, allowing players to take full advantage of the ultimate in gaming technology: NerveGear, a system that allows users to completely immerse themselves in a wholly realistic gaming
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 22nd 2014 by Yen On (first published April 10th 2009)
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Lengyel Csaba If her an advance reader, then give her the light novel. After this, he like the anime series more, I think. But, don't add volume 9 and up content fo…moreIf her an advance reader, then give her the light novel. After this, he like the anime series more, I think. But, don't add volume 9 and up content for her, that's a pretty quick change in mood, unlike the previous arcs. (blood, head slaughter, and after volume 14 much more.)(less)

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Average rating 4.32  · 
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Wart Hill
Aug 12, 2016 marked it as gave-up
Diane ϟ [ Lestrange ]

"A huge castle made of stone and steel floating in an endless sky.
That was all this world was.

Above, there were 100 floors stacking straight upwards; its sheer size was unbelievable. It was impossible to even guess how much data it consisted of.
Inside, there were a couple of large cities along with countless small scale towns and villages, forests and plains, and even lakes. Only one stairway linked each floor to another, and the stairways existed in dungeons where large numbers of monsters roam
Trung Phạm
Jun 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1-children-s
It's 4:30 A.M now and that means I've waken up all night to complete this book.
This is the second light novel I've read ( the first is 5cm/s and I dont like it ) and I totally love it!
I'm a RPG player so I completely got into the idea of this book after several sentences. I love the way author developed the main story, love the bond between 2 main characters, love the ending and the world that author created.
For a long time after reading Harry Potter that I have this feeling again. The desire fe
Alexandria Tale

I watched the anime first, and I was instantly hooked. Thanks for my bro for showing me this awesome light novel, or more likely, the anime. The anime was well-made, with just a few scenes being omitted. I hope there would be second season of the anime!

Anyway, the story is set in the future. On 2022, Japan had finally developed the first VRMMORPG (Virtual Reality Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game), with the technology of Full Dive, which allowed the player to fully
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, light-novel
I loved the anime when I first watched it and along with Ready Player One gave me a strong interest in LitRPG. So for me this was the starting path of that new genre, other much older books deal with similar subject matter but for me this is the best. 4 1/2 stars.

I'm fortunate in that I have a copy of the audio book Peter Lucky, a professional voice actor released on Youtube before he forced to take it down. DreamstoryTheatre

If you are a fan of the anime or just looking for a good solid advent
Grace, Queen of Crows and Tomes
So, I watched the anime first and I liked it. It wasn't the greatest anime ever as people claimed it to be, but I enjoyed it. Then someone recommended the books to me and said that the books were better. Now that I have read this one, I gotta agree that the books are better!!! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book plus I really liked finally having some of the game mechanics better explained! It also helped answer some questions that I had that the anime just kind of glossed over. I will probab ...more
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm a huge fan of Sword Art Online having seen the anime (both SAO and SAO II and SAO Ordinal Scale), and having read parts of the SAO manga. I still find it a bit difficult to navigate between the manga and light novels of SAO.

I love the concept (regardless of how horrible it is) of SAO, seriously, it is so interesting. My favourite arc is definitely the Aincrad arc, as that arc is the most intriguing for me. I do want to acknowledge the criticism that SAO have received, a lot of it I agree wi
Jan 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely LOVED this light novel! If i could give more stars i would.

What i like most about this story is it wasnt even written to be a published title. But it was written with 100% heart and imagination.

Beautiful and sad tale of a large group of people being stuck together in a virtual reality world where they have to fight for their lives. It shows compassion, fear and love.

The main characters are both very likable and all you can do is wish and hope that they escape the virtual living hell t
Mar 22, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: manga
The start of this series is really 5 stars. I really had high hopes for it, but as it goes on it really gets poor. That being said, I still enjoy it.

Worth reading & watching
Jun 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi, fantasy
Sword Art Online is one of those where I absolutely love the idea but am really disappointed by the execution. I probably should have known better because I didn’t really like the anime when I tried to watch that, but I thought maybe I’d get on better when the novel. The novel pretty much reads like a description of the anime (I know the novel came first), although I’ve not read anything Japanese before so I don’t know if that is the style to exaggeration emotions and psychical responses. I disl ...more
Aug 14, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really like the premise of this story. I am really loving the anime so far (my impatience to see more episodes is what led me do finding the light novel). I was surprised by how well done the translation seemed - for the most part reading this in English seemed really natural. For some reason that I just can't quite put my finger on, I can't give this more than two stars. The way Kirito and Asuna's relationship developed kind of annoyed me. It seemed a little rushed and forced. Perhaps it was ...more
Shayan Kh
Aug 23, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

Like many others, I watched the anime first. I didn't even know there were such things as light novels. I thought there are manga and anime. And anime takes a lot of time, and I don't really like reading graphical novels, in fact, I didn't count any of the manga series I read in my "read" group on this site.
But light novels are great in my opinion. So after I found out about this light novel, it only took me a couple of hours to start it.
It was good. Nice characters, beautiful wo
Apr 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
My recommendation would be to watch the anime first. I was surprised to find that this two volume story arc was really just one volume of the overall arc and then another volume of side stories and character development. So, this book covers the first episode, but then jumps to the 74th floor and finishes at the end. Kirito and Asuna already know each other and characters such as Silica and Lisbeth don't make any appearance in this volume. The most startling absence was Yui. It seemed strange fo ...more
Sean O'Hara
Sword Art Online: Aincrad (available in English through Baka Tsuki)

Imagine that there's a revolutionary new VR game platform -- not one of those lame things from the '90s where you strapped a low-res LCD over your eyes and used a primitive motion controller to play. No, this is the real thing, a helmet that taps directly into your brain, giving you a fully immersive experience in a virtual world that stimulates all your senses.

Now imagine that all the games for the platform suck -- it's a new sy
Jul 18, 2015 rated it liked it
The prologue was good in centering the reader in this YA/shonen world, but the explanations of in-game mechanics--which were for the most part basic for anyone who's played RPGs--could've been left out or shunted to an appendix. Lots of lackluster, static description of the game world.

Great poetic description of (view spoiler) game death, but overall there is not much characterization nor character background. Kawahara could've put Kirito's motivation for not joi
James F. Evans
Oct 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: boss
First off, have to say, that the Anime brought me here... anyone who wasn't draw to the light novels after the anime is either lazy/dumb or both...

SAO #1 follows the story of Kirito inside a futuristic virtual game in which a person becomes the avatar in the game and is fully set inside the game, to the point in which a few software modifications can leave you trapped inside, without any way out, except the game's developer overwriting the code... *wink*

The story develops beautifully and takes y
Nerdish Mum
Sep 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2015
I had watched the anime first earlier this year and I wasn't aware that it was based on a book as I'm fairly new to the manga and anime scene. When I found out there was a book I needed to check it out to see if the anime had done it justice.
Though the anime is absolutely excellent, I definitely preffeed the book. I feel that the whole story developed better and in a more natural way than it did in the show. The character development was more detailed and you learnt extra snippets of informatio
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challenge-2016
OMG, what a great story, it made me yell! I love how Japanese people are always so drastic with their stories, this is about a virtual game where people log in, and then they get stuck in there, no log out function... and the worst pad is that if they die in the game, they die in real life. Only way out is clearing out all 100 floors. It seems simple enough of a story, but I gotta give it to the author, it's an amazing story, with enough twists that kept me interested, made me yell and didn't se ...more
Sir Sorrow
Sep 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
As a fan of the anime I was worried about reading it (I know the novel came first) in case my opinion changed and it did while its still mu favourite anime the book is intense and gives a broader scope of the story and world.

The love story in the book is deeper and is explained well. The fights are intense and is funny all at the same time I cant wait for book 2!!
Jul 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed the ending, but I enjoyed the anime much more. I will probably pick up book two because I hear it's better than this one, and it contains some of my favorite arcs from the anime.
Angel 一匹狼
"ソードアート・オンライン" is probably the most famous (or at least one of the most) series of light novels to have come out of Japan. 10000 players get stuck into a virtual reality role playing game after its creator decides to go all evil and make the game into just more than a pastime. If you die in the game you die in real life, you cannot disconnect, and till someone passes the game, everyone is stuck there. Our hero, a loner, is Kirito, your run-of-the-mill hero in Japanese novels for boys: on top of ...more
Dimitri Gomes
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
Let me preface this by saying I was a big fan of SAO's anime adaptation. Because of that, I wanted to delve into its original source material and see what other adventures awaited Kirito and Asuna. Unfortunately, there wasn't much on offer.

To be clear, this book is not badly written. In fact, I thought some of its descriptive moments were very enjoyable for such a narrative-focused book. The structure of the light novel is different from the anime in that it starts off further into Kirito's time
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: have-it
Let me begin by saying I watched the anime first. Anyone who has seen the anime but hasn't read the light novels is obliged to start reading them now, in my opinion.

The first light novel of SAO is all about the life of a player, Kirito, in a virtual world. The game is called Sword Art Online and it's a VRMMORPG (Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game).
An impossibly huge castle of rock and iron, floating in an endless expanse of sky. That is the entirety of this world.

Apr 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Well, that was fun.

Quite enjoyable. This book was my reward for being faithful to track my calories and exercise for a week. It was a good reward, especially seeing as how it got me through almost a whole week of doing the same thing.

On to the story. Hmm. I enjoyed it, don't get me wrong. It was cute...but...I think I like the Progressive series better! This was just a tad too fast paced for me. The sequence of Asuna and Kirito falling in love was...well...unbelievable. There wasn't enough cont
Apr 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've had this on my shelf for about 3 years because it was bought for me when I watched the anime. Reading the book brought back all the warm fuzzy feelings about Kirito and Asuna and I'm so glad I finally got around to it.

The book is a bit light on the details and I would love to see more of Aincrad because it's my dream game but I'm looking forward to the next book and the next game.
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Never really gave the anime much of a chance, but this light novel was great. I'm definitely going to be getting more volumes.
Jul 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
2.75 STARS

When my friend begged me to watch the Sword Art Online anime prior to me purchasing this book, I was a bit sceptical. I've heard many great things about Sword Art Online, but the series has been criticised as well. I decided to buy the light novel first because in my experience, the manga/light novel has almost always been better than the anime.

The premise of the story greatly interested me at first: thousands of hardcore games trapped in the very game they thought would help them esca
Stephanie Allen
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
I didn't know what to expect when I picked up this book. I'm a huge fan of the anime series and I wondered if the novel would be better. I'm honestly shocked at how few details were in this first book in comparison to the show. However, after reading Reki Kawahara's explanation on how SAO came to be, it makes sense. I really enjoyed this.
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Short survey on light novels in the US 1 2 Apr 11, 2020 04:20PM  
Japanese Novel an...: Lissa's Favorite Light Novel 19 41 Apr 29, 2015 06:19AM  
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All Anime Group: Sword Art Online 1 11 Feb 14, 2013 03:33PM  

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Kawahara Reki (川原 礫) is the writer of Sword Art Online and Accel World. He also uses the pen name Kunori Fumio. His hobby is cycling.

Other books in the series

Sword Art Online Light Novels (1 - 10 of 25 books)
  • ソードアート・オンライン 2: アインクラッド [Sōdo āto onrain 2: Ainkuraddo] (Sword Art Online Light Novel, #2)
  • ソードアート・オンライン 3: フェアリィ・ダンス [Sōdo āto onrain 3: Fearyi Dansu] (Sword Art Online Light Novel, #3)
  • ソードアート・オンライン 4: フェアリィ・ダンス [Sōdo āto onrain 4: Fearyi Dansu] (Sword Art Online Light Novel, #4)
  • ソードアート・オンライン 5: ファントム・バレット [Sōdo āto onrain 5: Fantomu Baretto] (Sword Art Online Light Novel, #5)
  • ソードアート・オンライン 6: ファントム・バレット [Sōdo āto onrain 6: Fantomu Baretto] (Sword Art Online Light Novel, #6)
  • ソードアート・オンライン7: マザーズ・ロザリオ (Sword Art Online Light Novel, #7)
  • ソードアート・オンライン8: アーリー・アンド・レイト (Sword Art Online Light Novel, #8)
  • ソードアート・オンライン9: アリシゼーション・ビギニング (Sword Art Online Light Novel, #9)
  • ソードアート・オンライン10: アリシゼーション・ランニング (Sword Art Online Light Novel, #10)
  • ソードアート・オンライン11: アリシゼーション・ターニング (Sword Art Online Light Novel, #11)

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