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Sword Art Online: Progressive, Vol. 1

(Sword Art Online: Progressive Light Novels #1)

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  1,837 ratings  ·  129 reviews
"There's no way to beat this game. The only difference is when and where you die..."

One month has passed since Akihiko Kayaba's deadly game began, and the body count continues to rise. Two thousand players are already dead.

Kirito and Asuna are two very different people, but they both desire to fight alone. Nonetheless, they find themselves drawn together to face challenges
Paperback, 368 pages
Published March 24th 2015 by Yen On (first published October 10th 2012)
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Start your review of Sword Art Online: Progressive, Vol. 1 (Sword Art Online: Progressive Light Novel, #1)
Sep 09, 2015 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this one. It's fleshing out a bunch of the first time skip from the first novel.
I hope book two gets delivered today so I can see what's going to happen on the third floor.
Jun 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Sword Art Online Progressive 001, by Reki Kawahara

The first time I heard about Sword Art Online was from a buddy I play MMOs with. He recommended SAO and the rest is history. I love Sword Art Online – I think the animation is beautiful, I thought the idea was clever, but, especially after reading the original short story, I thought it was lacking in the narrative part. Progressive 001 fixes this. This first book covers floors 1 and 2 – the bossfight with the Kobold Lord and Taurus King (a boss
Mar 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I feel like an idiot.


I was wondering why there was so much happening in this novel that I didn't remember. Because this is a spinoff of the main series!!!

Well, not quite a spinoff, more like a backdrop. Side stories. Embellishments. Hard to believe a 300+ page book is just the embellishments of the first two episodes of the main series.

You know what the worst part is? I don't think my library has the main series!!! GAH! Must go do some research.

But yeah. Awesome book. Great for fans and non f
Oct 22, 2020 marked it as gave-up-on
I couldn't after 3 chapters.
This is the re-edited version and it feels like it's still in the drafting process. Sentences just have too many adjectives, like bro, why are you giving me fuckin square meter measurements of the world. You want me to draw a map?
Brian Wilkerson
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Progressive series goes back to the beginning. This is the first floor of Aincrad, and we see the details of Kirito's life there, how he met Asuna and the start of the march through the floating castle. This is SAO the way it was meant to be.

The original volume had to end with the game being cleared due to real life context i.e. a contest's deadline. So Reki Kawahara didn't have space or time for really digging into the mechanics of the game or the relationships of the players. This volume d
Araceli Schlosser
Jun 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"The image of Asuna racing, hair rippling in the wind, was like a shooting star in the midst of the dungeon.... ...she could have one day led an enormous guild and been a leader to the player population. Like a shooting star, endlessly lighting up the sky of this dark, hopeless game of death."

I first got into SAO at my husband's suggestion. He explained the premise: the players of a virtual reality game get imprisoned inside the game. Their lives are tied to their avatars. If they die in the gam
Russell Gray
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: litrpg, reviewed
I'm a big fan of Sword Art Online. While the anime was very scattered and rather quickly shifted gears into areas I was less interested in, I couldn't help but fall in love with the Aincrad arc. Despite how over half of the 15 or so episodes in the arc were side stories, the initial couple episodes did such a great job setting the hooks in me that I couldn't help but still enjoy things.

That being said, the SAO: Progressive light novels to me represent the story as it was meant to be told. Starti
Second Read-through: March 2019

I really do love all of the little details and game mechanics we get in this light novel series, compared to the original. The new characters are super interesting as well. Also - the food! I don't know why but it really stood out to me this time around. I want to try all of it! *grabby hands*

First Read-through: July 2015

I loved this even more than the original series! (Though that may very well be because o
John The Mage
Sep 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I think this is a really awesome book. This book sends me into that world where the story takes place. This book's is genre is probably Sci-Fi, Romance and Adventure. The book is about a 16 year old (about) teenager called "Kirito"who was trapped in a game called "Sword Art Online" eith other 10,000 players. He has to survive, clear the game up to the 100th floor and if a player dies in the game, well no respawn for you in game and you die in real life.

The story takes place in the world of Aincr
May 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Although the relationship between Kirito and Asuna is developed a bit more quickly than it is in the original SAO novel, I really love that Kawahara is retelling the story of SAO floor by floor. I felt like both in the novel and in the anime it was a bit rushed, that there was more to this story then what we were reading/seeing. I mean to be trapped for two years in a virtual world I couldn't help but feel like there were more moments that could have been revealed to us to really give us a large ...more
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Omgs what can I say about this manga , I absolutely adore it , the way Kirito and Asuna are portrayed as characters is really empowering, and they just make the perfect team. They really are a piece in a pot I love the sarcasm in this manga, I for one am fluent in sarcasm lol , I have red and watch the series, and yes manga is way better than the series. One difference I have to point out between the two is the way kirito is in the series and on the manga , in the series he's more of a badass, t ...more
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
So this goes into more details of the early floors that were skipped in the original story line - namely the first two floors. It gives a little more characterization for Kirito and Asuna which the first book desperately needed though it does lose a few points for retconning their relationship. We weren’t told specifically how the two met in the original SAO but it was clear their relationship was way more casual than Progressive makes it appear to be. I get why the author chose to do it that wa ...more
Ricardo Matos
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: light-novels
This book is divided into 3 parts:
1st floor - 5*
Origin of the Rat - 2*
2nd floor - 3.5*

At first I considered skipping these books as I have read the original SAO books, but to be honest, SAOP adds a lot of world building. Kirito isn't OP at this point, and it's interesting to see what the other players were doing and how they impacted Kirito's progress.
Also, we get some more chapters from Asuna's point of view which is also fresh.

So, is it the BEST SOA book? No
Should you skip them if you read SAO
Raphaël Chantigny
Hard to get a translation of these ATM, glad I read them on baka tsuki when they where there!
Lauren A
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
People around the world are playing the highly virtual reality game, Sword Art Online. The story starts off with Kirito just roaming around the digital fantasy lands, while in reality his body is laying on his bed. All of a sudden, the game master calls for everyone's attention in the game. He announces that your actions in the game count in real life. You die in the game, you die in real life. Taking the head set off would be the most logical solution, but unfortunately the removal of these hea ...more
Edward Joseph
Some 16 months ago, I gave Sword Art Online Volume 1 an unforgiving 2-star rating. Not an inch of regret there, it had a rushed story that even the author knew it - considering its history. But I gave the series a chance considering its premise that I found interesting.

This particular series opened in a slower pace, tackling the game's elements little by little. A third of the novel contained events that occurred on the first floor, followed by a short interlude featuring the character Argo, the

I’m super late to realizing this retrograde series was a thing, but I’m really stoked. Honestly, I think I enjoyed this more than SAO-original, simply because we finally get a more in-depth look at the individual floors of Aincrade. Kaiyaba was a brilliant, if insane, man pioneering VRMMORPG’s in the world of SAO, so it’s somewhat fascinating to see more of this world he was so fixated on creating. I also really enjoy edgy Asuna. I mean, is it just me or does she seem a little more dark and
Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
What can I say, I love SAO (Gun Gale not as much). Whatever issues some people have with it... I love Kirito and Ausna and so I'm happy when they're together.

Progressive takes a slight twist on the original with them meeting a bit *cough* earlier than in the original, but again that's okay with me. This volume ends with clearing floor 2! Considering the original was floor 75 I can only imagine we're in for a very long ride to retell the whole story. But as I thoroughly enjoyed it and did not wan
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
An entertaining retelling of the Aincrad arc from the original light novel series. Sometimes it goes into over-explaining certain plot elements, that the protagonist just happened to know. Reki Kawahara matured quite much as a writer ever since his first take on the SAO franchise, in web novel form which reflects in the massive difference of storytelling. The only character who is a little different from the original (I just cannot recall if she was really like this in the core series) is the ma ...more
Jan 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2021
I genuinely don't care about your feelings on the anime, because I love it. I read the first SAO light novel and enjoyed myself almost as much as I did watching the anime. I just love Kirito and Asuna. The thing about this novel is, it adds so much more to the story and deepens my love for the world and characters. I'm glad that the author decided to write the story how he wanted to write it despite conflicting with the original story.

I really enjoyed the time I spent reading this book and can'
Laura Adler
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sao, japan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
I like the artwork, story is not to bad as well. I like the new characters, boss fights, quests and floor outline. It's the constant man-bashing Kirito and making Asuna a mary sue I cant stand. Kirito is treated like her servant or her lesser and for no reason at all Kirito worships the ground that Asuna walks on. Asuna Constanly belittles, threats and attacks Kirito through out this novel. They have change the dynamics of the two main character way to much. Makes reading this series not so enjo ...more
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ywca-4, year-7
This is like reading a book with my fourteen-year-old self. It’s juvenile in parts, but that makes it fun, too. Sure Kirito’s act gets tiresome and Kawahara would’ve been better served continuing the third-person perspective from the first part.

This is for anyone who read through the Wikipedia plot of a video game rather than play it. It’s for anybody who enjoys the rules created in world building.
Lulu Bennett
Jul 05, 2019 rated it liked it
It was so fun driving back into a world from my childhood. Experiencing it again but in an entirely different formant with slightly different story.

I like how there was a large focus on the virtual reality/game side, really delving deep there.

Kirito is such a nerdy 14 year old, what a dork. Also totally in love with Asuna but is utterly oblivious. While Asuna can see through his dumb aura, & completely loves him back, in her own special way.
Riri Kazami
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: completed
Really love this book! as KiriAsu Lover, I craving for their interaction.
I think their relationship in the main LN was better explained than anime and manga.
but in this book, we can see that Kirito and Asuna love each other not only because of the appearance, but they also have good chemistry, Asuna fast learn so can keep up with Kirito.
Oh, we can see the Naughty-Brat-Kirito!
I waiting for the next volume~
Jun 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: japanese
Reki Kawahara has this painful habit of repeating things over and over a million times but at least this gives me hope for a not-bad version of SAO. I’d give it a 5/10 but I’m stuck between a 2 or 3 stars so for now I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt, may change later. In any case, there was enough to enjoy about this that I didn’t mind the fact that it was 500+ pages and even went to buy the next four or five volumes of Progressive. I might subconsciously be a closet SAO fan
Zack Krasney
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was exactly what I was hoping it would be. I loved SAO the show but I was hoping for something that gave more details and filled in the time gaps. This does exactly that with great stories and details into the first 2 floors. Can't wait to read the rest of the Progressive stories that are out now. ...more
Tri Quach
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-new
Hmm since I'm a fan of SAO, I was definitely interested in this book. I have watched the anime several times, but in the book we have more stories and I love the way Reki Kawahara built his characters. The more I read, the more I understand Kirito as a character, and yes as a human.
By the way the stories sometimes are kind of long.
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Much much better than sao 1. Which the writer also admits is hastend and somewhat rushed.
The writing and the story is great, I love the new details. But sometimes he can repeat himself a bit, probably because he wants to make sure eveybody keeps tagging along. But it’s unnecessary.
Nice book for sao fans :)
Sep 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A strong start to a revamped SAO, this story is a fistful of action, mystery, and characters.

I wasn’t a fan of the original SAO light novel, though I did like the anime, thanks to the nature of the way it was structured and its time skips. This, however, is just my thing.

The prose and writing is excellent, and the characters felt real in their setting. The game is more fleshed out here with its mechanics explained more thoroughly. There’s little to complain about in this novel.
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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: Progressive Light Novels (7 books)
  • Sword Art Online: Progressive, Vol. 2 (Sword Art Online: Progressive Light Novel, #2)
  • Sword Art Online: Progressive, Vol. 3 (Sword Art Online: Progressive Light Novel, #3)
  • ソードアート・オンライン プログレッシブ 4 [Sōdo Āto Onrain Puroguresshibu 4] (Sword Art Online: Progressive Light Novel, #4)
  • ソードアート・オンライン プログレッシブ 5 [Sōdo Āto Onrain Puroguresshibu 5] (Sword Art Online: Progressive Light Novel, #5)
  • ソードアート・オンライン プログレッシブ 6 [Sōdo Āto Onrain Puroguresshibu 6] (Sword Art Online: Progressive Light Novel, #6)
  • ソードアート・オンライン プログレッシブ 7 [Sōdo Āto Onrain Puroguresshibu 7] (Sword Art Online: Progressive Light Novel, #7)

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