Book Review: Sword Art Online Volume 1


As I mentioned before in my previous review, I had received the bulk of my recent preorder earlier than I had expected, since my preorders usually only get shipped when all titles have been released.

So far, I have covered one and only two remain.

Today, I will be reviewing another one of those titles, which is called Sword Art Online Volume 1 by Reki Kawahara.

As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post and that also work as a synopsis for this book, I will not give any synopsis.

I am not too sure about this one. While I did like the anime, whose first fourteen episodes were adapted from this work, I cannot really say that I liked this as much. I liked how some things were explained, like how the players of Sword Art Online could be transported to the hospital, if forcibly remove the headgear caused people to die. I never really understood how that was possible, because the players lives depend on the headgear having both power and an Internet connection, considering that Sword Art Online is an MMORPG. I also liked a few of the fights that occurred, like the one between Kuradeel and Kirito, which ended differently than it did in the anime, and first battle between Heathcliff and Kirito. However, aside from that, I cannot really think of very much that I particularly liked. The fact that some things were explain and that there were some good fights did make this book somewhat decent.

Although there were things that I did like, there are some issues. First, I did not feel like I got to know the characters, namely the two the protagonist Asuna and Kirito. Part of what draws people into a story is that they want to know the characters, so that they can feel for them. Unfortunately, because I do not get to know the characters, I cannot understand what they are going through. Honestly, for as much hate the anime gets from people, I felt like I actually knew the characters. If I had to point the reason why, I think that it was because the anime did not start right off at floor 74 and we did get to see many of the things Kirito went through, such as the death of the members of guild that he joined before he entered Asuna’s guild, which was only briefly mentioned in the novel, as if it were nothing. Another thing that I did not like was that the book itself seemed to be tedious, despite starting on the last two floors of the Aincrad arc. Even though I did have company around while I read this title, I felt like I would have wanted to do something else even if they were not around and many of the fights did nothing to change that opinion. However, with the anime adaption, I feel like I do want to continue until I finished. If I knew the book was going to be like this, I would not have considered getting it. The thing that I hated the most though was the relationship between Asuna and Kirito. Because we did not see how they met and seen many of the things that they went through prior to the Ragout Rabbit incident, I just did not find it believable and I was not really rooting for them to get together like I would have been with the anime, nor did I find myself feeling any bit of emotion when Asuna sacrificed herself for Kirito. These are the kinds of things that I think that people want in a story, in order to be able to enjoy it, but because things did not work out that way here, I feel completely dissatisfied. The fact that I did not get to know the characters, mainly because the book started at the 74th floor, and the we did not really see the things that Kirito and Asuna went through did not make their relationship seem to be believable, as well as the fact that this book felt tedious, made this one of the worst books I have read.

Considering that I could not think of much that I liked and that there were some issues, this book was a waste of time. I recommend that everyone, including fans of the Sword Art Online anime, avoid this book at all costs.

What are your thoughts on Sword Art Online Volume 1? If you saw the anime, were you as disappointed as I was or did you enjoy the book more? If not, did you hate this book anyway or did you enjoy it?

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