Sword Art Online Progressive 001 by Reki Kawahara

Okay, confession time: I’m not really into Japanese anime and manga, or things like that. That is, until I read SAO, or Sword Art Online by Reki Kawahara.

To be clear, there are basically three adaptations of this book. One of them is a graphic novel, but this book, SAO Progressive 001, is a fictional chapter book that’s about 300 or so pages long.

To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have picked up this book if it hadn’t been for my friends, who are obsessed with Japanese manga and stories. The cover art is really cool, but personally, I just wasn’t that interested. One of my friends, who had read the book cover to cover about thousands of times, allowed me to borrow it. At first I was doubting it, but since the cover looked awesome (I know, don’t judge by a book by its cover! Sorry!), I decided to open it.

And then I pretty much didn’t put it down. The story is centered around the main character, a dark-haired swordsman named Kirito, shown on the cover. Next to him is a fencer, named Asuna. Sword Art Online is a a “virtual-reality” world game, where the player is transported into the gaming world, filled with monsters on each level of the hundred floors of a floating, chambered castle: Aincrad. However, there is no escape. Once you enter the game, there’s no way you can leave it. And the death toll begins to rise. 2,000 players are dead, killed by the monsters in the game.

As Asuna the fencer says, “There’s no way to beat this game. The only difference is when and where you die…”

Kirito meets Asuna in the beginning of the story, and over the events happening throughout the book, they form a sort of friendship. They’re not exactly a team, for they are both solo players, only working to strengthen themselves. But when fighting alone means certain death, will Kirito and Asuna overcome their differences and fight together to survive?

I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for high-action, intense combat scenes against bosses, and a story that keeps you hooked in every page. Would you wish SAO was a real-life game that we could play? Anyways, I can’t wait to read Sword Art Online Progressive 002! I’m sure Reki Kawahara won’t let me down!

-Katharine L.

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