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Sword Art Online: Progressive, Vol. 1

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"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 "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 from both within and without. Given that the entire virtual world they now live in has been created as a deathtrap, the surviving players of Sword Art Online are starting to get desperate, and desperation makes them dangerous to loners like Kirito and Asuna. As it becomes clear that solitude equals suicide, will the two be able to overcome their differences to find the strength to believe in each other, and in so doing survive? Sword Art Online: Progressive is a new version of the Sword Art Online tale that starts at the beginning of Kirito and Asuna's epic adventure--on the very first level of the deadly world of Aincrad!


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"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 "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 from both within and without. Given that the entire virtual world they now live in has been created as a deathtrap, the surviving players of Sword Art Online are starting to get desperate, and desperation makes them dangerous to loners like Kirito and Asuna. As it becomes clear that solitude equals suicide, will the two be able to overcome their differences to find the strength to believe in each other, and in so doing survive? Sword Art Online: Progressive is a new version of the Sword Art Online tale that starts at the beginning of Kirito and Asuna's epic adventure--on the very first level of the deadly world of Aincrad!

30 review for Sword Art Online: Progressive, Vol. 1

  1. 5 out of 5

    Elspeth

    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.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jaime

    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 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 fight not seen in the original series or the anime). Mechanically this book has a few problems, but most of these can be chocked up to the translation, something that can never be done perfectly. First, there are times where the translation is awkward as if the words are out of place. For a translation, this is something that often can’t be avoided and thus must be forgiven because I can’t read Japanese. Secondly, and this is just a pet peeve of mine. POV is changed from Kirito’s 1st person to Asuna’s 3rd person. I have never liked that kind of transition; I perceive it as sloppy and amateurish. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t great stories out there that are written this way that I don’t enjoy, because I do. In this case, it bothers me, but not enough to take away any enjoyment. Progressive expands the game of SAO. Kawahara gives us a better picture of what the game is like. The world building is solid and visible in a way it wasn’t in Aincrad 1&2 or the anime. Some of the game mechanics are explained without diving so deeply into them that I get bored. Here, we also get the chance to see how being a beta tester effects Kirito. In the show there are 2-3 episodes where being a “beater” is mentioned, but it quickly becomes and unimportant factor as we get to the higher floors that even the beta testers haven’t seen. In this way, Kawahara is doing a better job of writing a fantasy/sci-fi than any American author I’ve read in the past two years. Now, let me make this very clear: the Kirito in the show is not as good as the character in the books. In the books, Kirito is a snarky dork. I love this Kirito. This character seems like a closer approximation to what Kawahara originally intended; a gangly teenage nerd whose dominate emotion is sarcasm. While I’m not a gangly Japanese teenager, I am a nerd whose dominate emotion is sarcasm so I identify with him. Kirito’s observations are funny and I found myself smiling and chuckling every few pages. He’s an interesting character trapped in a situation where his only choice is to make the best of it. The dynamic between Kirito and Asuna are a joy to read: there is nothing better than 2 snarky characters being snarky together. As in the anime and the original series, they work well together. I honestly can’t remember the last time I had this much fun with a book. At the end of the day SAO wins a lot of its point on just how enjoyable it is. However, make no mistake, SAO is a dark story, it’s just hidden behind bright colors and snark. I look forward to the next books. I hope to see some of that darkness come to the forefront. GG, Kawahara. GG. PS. Kirito makes some of the best eye-rolling, stupid grin worthy puns and they warrant mentioning.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Khari

    I feel like an idiot. Ha. 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 I feel like an idiot. Ha. 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 fans alike.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Brian Wilkerson

    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 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 does both. For instance, there is the distinction between safe zones in a dungeon and inns within the town limits. While both are clear of monsters and allow players to rest, the former is still an area within a dungeon. It is dimly light, the surfaces are stone-hard and the monsters can still be heard prowling and growling. So while a player can technically rest they won't be truly rested. This tidbit is used to develop the character of our leading couple. Kirito, the VR nerd, fully buys into the reality of Aincrad. He considers it to be reality as far as day-to-day living and surviving go, and so he is surprised when Asuna tells him that she is camping out in the dungeon. As the academic achiever who has never touched a game before using her brother's copy of SAO on a whim, she fully rejects the reality of Aincrad. She considers everything to be fake except for sleeping, which she isn't doing much of anyway because of the camping-in-a-dungeon thing. Thus the stage is set for the beginning of their relationship. Despite being from vastly different backgrounds, Reki Kawahara quickly draws a parallel between them. Whether it is competitive gamers or ambitious students, both want to reach the highest score and neither wants to fall behind their peers. There is also mutual admiration of each other's skills. Kirito immediately compares Asuna's agility and grace to that of a shooting star while Asuna is amazed by the finesse and efficiency of Kirito's combat maneuvers. But this book is not solely about Kirito and Asuna. Reki Kawahara has other nicely developed characters to interact with them and push the plot forward. Diavel is a set up as a counterpart to Kirito, a beta-tester who is focused on surviving and scoring L.A. bonuses but there is a key difference. Diavel presents as a knight, a classic knight in shining armor, while Kirito is totally into his solo selfish swordsman identity. By his confidence and charisma, Diavel pulls together and leads the first floor-boss raiding party. In contrast, Kirito totally freezes up in any social situation that is not pure game based (the first thing he says to Asuna is about monster-overkill). Then, of course, there is Argo, the information broker with a teasing sense of humor. Also a beta-tester, she contrasts the two boys with her different approach to the game, sneaking and spying instead of slaying monsters. She contrasts the aloof-and-proper Asuna in a similar way in their interactions with others. Back to the game mechanics now, only one of which is the focus of the third "arc" of this volume. It is the weapon upgrading system. I didn't know anyone could make reading about two people grinding for monster drops exciting, nor create so much suspense rooted in manipulation of a player's menu window. Trickster Eric Novels gives "Sword Art Online Progressive volume 1" an A+

  5. 4 out of 5

    Araceli Schlosser

    "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 "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 game, they truly die. The only road to freedom, is to complete the game; 100 floors of a world sized dungeon. I was instantly intrigued. I watched the anime series for the story of a VR death game, and I was riveted by the love story. Kirito is a lone wolf and a gamer. He avoids personal connections. However he has a very innocent sense of humor and tries to be a gentleman. He is determined to make himself strong enough to survive this game of death, even if that means leaving all others behind him. Asuna has never been defeated, by either school or life. Here in SAO, she is out of her element and she feels like all her scholarly knowledge is useless to her. She fights because she wants to control how she dies. When they meet, Asuna begins understand that her life does have meaning and there are ideas worth fighting for, while Kirito learns that there are people to fight for and protect. This novel (as admitted by the author) is slightly different from the anime and manga. The progressive novels are her opportunity to write the story she wanted from the beginning. Kirito is more adorable and honorable than he is shown to be in the anime, and Asuna with all her sorrow is one of the strongest feminine heroes I've read about in a long time. Kirito and Asuna are becoming my favorite anime romance... and at this rate, with the novels, they will be my favorite literary romance as well. I definitely suggest this story. Especially to those that love the romance plots in RPGs. Gamers of all sorts: console, PC, table top: will all appreciate this story. I strongly suggest this book to teen readers and anyone else that love stories of inspiration and the strength of the human spirit.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Russell Gray

    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 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. Starting at the beginning, working its way through the Aincrad arc, and putting more focus on the mechanics of the game, the characters, and the daily tribulations. Finer points of characterization and prose aside, I think this series represents the pinnacle of the litrpg genre for me in that the game itself takes center stage and there is rarely a decision or a plot point that isn't directly impacted by game mechanics that are described to the reader. All of the things that nearly every other litrpg doesn't do are done here. What level is the character and what are his skills? These things are mentioned but not detracting from the story by bloating the book with tables and character sheets constantly. How much health does the character or enemy have at various points during the battle? This is mentioned by way of a simple green, yellow, or red health bar. Nothing overly complicated, but to me kinda vital information so when the opponent dies from a particular blow you are expecting it versus author shenanigans happening. Very few of my litrpg gripes are present and nearly everything I want is present. What more can I ask for?

  7. 4 out of 5

    Becca

    Second Read-through: March 2019 THIS WAS STILL SUPER DUPER AWESOME! xP 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 THIS WAS AWESOME! :D I loved this even more than the original series! (Though that may very well be because o Second Read-through: March 2019 THIS WAS STILL SUPER DUPER AWESOME! xP 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 THIS WAS AWESOME! :D I loved this even more than the original series! (Though that may very well be because of how many times I've experienced the main storyline now... Which is about 5 or 6.) It was awesome getting to see Kirito and Asuna from pretty much the very beginning of the game (in this series, Asuna reeeeeally reminds me of Taiga from the manga/anime Toradora... >>), and I really love how much detail Reki puts into his light novels. I'm a pretty big video game lover, so I eat all the "gamer talk" and descriptions of the SAO mechanics right up. And you get SO much more of them in this series! ;P I didn't realize that Reki was actually planning/hoping to write a story for every floor when I first started reading this though... I only thought there was going to be three or four volumes for some reason?! But I will read and love ALL of those volumes, if he actually decides to do all 70+ floors. *__* It's going to suck having to wait for all of them though... Luckily the second volume's out already! ;P

  8. 4 out of 5

    John The Mage

    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 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 Aincrad (The name of the world of Sword art online) where all the 10,000 players were trapped when the game was released. Kirito was also trapped and as he was a beta tester he knew most of the game but he hasn't cleared it. He is a solo-player meaning he plays alone with no friends whatsoever. Soon, he meets a girl like him called "Asuna". She also is a solo-player and only cared about clearing the ame. They make a party and go on their quest to clear all 100 floors. Will they make it? Or not? Well, read the series and find out! This a must-read for people who like Romance and Action genres. There's also an anime series which is slightly different but most of it is the same. So you could go watch that too!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Paige

    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 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 larger perspective on what it was like in there. Fighting every day to try and clear each level but also eating, sleeping and just practically starting a new life in another world. We don't have the nerve gear that they use but I still tried to imagine what it would be like if I had found myself in their position and I'd like to say that I'd feel a bit like Asuna but who knows. I can't wait to buy the next volume and continue reading about each level of Aincrad.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Obvi_itscece

    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 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, then in the manga but that's ok because the one thing I love about kirito most as a character is still shown in both , and that is the fact that Kirito is one of the best if not the best SAO player in the game but he doesn't try to show off he is humble about it and is just try to help everyone to get out of this horrible nightmare of being stuck in SAO. I love the story line this is Definitely one of my favorite manga. And of course the love story in it is great. Also really love Yui.

  11. 4 out of 5

    emily_oriley

    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 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 way (I’d have probably done the same) but it’s still a retcon that cant be explained away by saying Bilbo lied to Gandalf. The beginning of part two is very slow so be ready for that. Otherwise, I liked the twist for the second floor boss. Oh man, if that nonsense actually happened in an RPG I was playing, my controller would be embedded in the wall. Bottom line, if you like SAO, you’re gonna like this.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ricardo Matos

    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 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? No Is it a fun read? Totally! :D

  13. 4 out of 5

    Raphaël Chantigny

    Hard to get a translation of these ATM, glad I read them on baka tsuki when they where there!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lauren A

    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 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 headsets results in instant death by electro shock. The only way to escape is if you beat the game, which was nearly impossible. Kirito plans on getting out of here by setting up raids to defeat all the bosses in the game. On the way, he meets his first love interest, Asuna. Throughout the story, they count on each other for survival. Who knows if pixelated worlds are the last thing they'll ever see. I definitely prefer the manga to the anime because it showed the perspective of Asuna more than it did in the anime. It also included more scenes there weren't shown in the anime. It really showed more of Asuna's home life, which is a pretty big factor as to why she's in the game. The fight scenes were epic and the art was nothing less than excellent. The chemistry between the two characters, Kirito and Asuna, was cute and made me wanna follow them along in their relationship. If you're a big video game nerd yourself, you'll definitely appreciate this manga.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kleeser18yahoo.Com

    Yay! 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 Yay! 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 tortured this early in the game than when Kirito comes upon her as the vice captain of the KotBO two years after the fact? I’m totally fine with the little inconsistencies that the original series and this one have if it means Kirito and Asuna get to know each other earlier. Kawahara explained all this in his afterward and I think it’s vey fair to say he knows his audience well. Anyway! I’m off to buy book 2! If you like SAO, the anime, the movie, you’ll probably like this a bunch too. You should also check out the SAO-Progressive manga, which seems to focus more on Asuna’s POV.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Casey

    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 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 want to put it down I'm okay with that. As I'm only 7 volumes into the main-line so far I know juggling the two will be interesting. But if you are a fan of SAO and want to know more about the world and the characters then Progressive should be right up your alley. As I didn't start with it my view is skewed, but I'd say read/watch the original first. But I'd be curious to see how someone who hasn't would react. Anyhow -- if you a fan -- Definite. If not, it's still a fun read but I'd start with the original.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ren

    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 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 main heroine/love interest Asuna. She is more of a tsundere in this series, a character archetype I cannot fathom. If you found the arc interesting, and you had a lingering wish that Reki wouldn't have rushed through it, then you are gonna enjoy it. However, it has to be noted that it is still Sword Art Online.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Laura Adler

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. What can I say, as a fan of the anime and the light novel, I didn't realize that not only did I want to the read the Progressive novels but that I needed to. Reading the first one of them has awaken feelings that were sleeping since reading the first SAO novel of them all. Although knowing until some point what the end outcome is, it is really entertaining to read about the frst days of Asuna and Kirito, despite of changing some things from the original source, but as the author states, he had to What can I say, as a fan of the anime and the light novel, I didn't realize that not only did I want to the read the Progressive novels but that I needed to. Reading the first one of them has awaken feelings that were sleeping since reading the first SAO novel of them all. Although knowing until some point what the end outcome is, it is really entertaining to read about the frst days of Asuna and Kirito, despite of changing some things from the original source, but as the author states, he had to do it, and honestlt I don't care. Moreover, this is the way how it should be. It is really hearwarming coming back to Aincraf and feel again what these characters are siffering being trapped inside the game and how they met each other, and how they evolve personally. Honestly, since Fairydance I was missing this Asuna, who is no longer a damisel in distress but who is growing up and who will become the 2nd in comand of The Blood Knights at some point in the story. Now I am just hopping that we will manage to reach the 75th floor in the Progressive novels.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    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 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 enjoyable.

  20. 5 out of 5

    H.

    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.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lulu Bennett

    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. 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.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Riri Kazami

    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~

  23. 5 out of 5

    Carson

    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

  24. 4 out of 5

    Zack Krasney

    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.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tri Quach

    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.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    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 :)

  27. 4 out of 5

    LotsChrono

    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.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Xavvy

    I think if I wouldn't have watched the first season of SAO, then much of the book wouldn't have made sense—but I did watch the first season. With that in mind, I really enjoyed this light novel. I enjoyed the extra depth on various processes and topics. I won't be reading past this book, however.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Logan

    This was a great book. Though it does not come aligned with what is previously written by Kawahara, it is much more satisfying. If you are looking to see how each floor was cleared, one by one, this is the book for you.

  30. 4 out of 5

    John McCarthy

    Amazing Page Tiurner This is my first light novel. I could not put it down. Having watched the entire anime series this did not disappoint. No time to write as I want to start the next book - Now...

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