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Sword Art Online: Progressive, Vol. 2

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"There's no way to beat this game. The only difference is when and where you die..." Having cleared the first and second floors of Aincrad at great cost, Kirito, Asuna, and the rest of the players ascend to the third floor. Tenuous new allies await them--most crucially, Kizmel, the elven knight. Kizmel is supposed to be a minor NPC with low-level AI, but she soon reveals he "There's no way to beat this game. The only difference is when and where you die..." Having cleared the first and second floors of Aincrad at great cost, Kirito, Asuna, and the rest of the players ascend to the third floor. Tenuous new allies await them--most crucially, Kizmel, the elven knight. Kizmel is supposed to be a minor NPC with low-level AI, but she soon reveals herself to be much more. With new allies come new complications, though, and the elves of the vast third-floor forest are no more united than the players who have just arrived there. The intrigue deepens when a mysterious figure challenges Kirito, and what begins as a simple contest of skill may actually be something far deadlier! Sword Art Online: Progressive is a new version of the Sword Art Online tale that chronicles the entirety of Kirito and Asuna's epic adventure through Aincrad--from the first level all the way up!


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"There's no way to beat this game. The only difference is when and where you die..." Having cleared the first and second floors of Aincrad at great cost, Kirito, Asuna, and the rest of the players ascend to the third floor. Tenuous new allies await them--most crucially, Kizmel, the elven knight. Kizmel is supposed to be a minor NPC with low-level AI, but she soon reveals he "There's no way to beat this game. The only difference is when and where you die..." Having cleared the first and second floors of Aincrad at great cost, Kirito, Asuna, and the rest of the players ascend to the third floor. Tenuous new allies await them--most crucially, Kizmel, the elven knight. Kizmel is supposed to be a minor NPC with low-level AI, but she soon reveals herself to be much more. With new allies come new complications, though, and the elves of the vast third-floor forest are no more united than the players who have just arrived there. The intrigue deepens when a mysterious figure challenges Kirito, and what begins as a simple contest of skill may actually be something far deadlier! Sword Art Online: Progressive is a new version of the Sword Art Online tale that chronicles the entirety of Kirito and Asuna's epic adventure through Aincrad--from the first level all the way up!

30 review for Sword Art Online: Progressive, Vol. 2

  1. 4 out of 5

    Elspeth

    Not bad, though it dragged a bit in the middle. I had to take a break from it there for a while cause I can only take so much of how super awesome kirito is.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Khari

    Hmm. I am still reading pretty quickly. A 256 page book in four days is really not that bad. On the other hand. It doesn't seem like I will get 365 this year. Not unless I start reading some manga again. Oh well. I'm enjoying what I am reading, so that is all that matters. At least this way I will remember how to speak English soon. That's exciting. Anyway. This book. It was cute. We are getting intimations of how the game is coming to life much sooner than we did in the anime series. So, yay. I a Hmm. I am still reading pretty quickly. A 256 page book in four days is really not that bad. On the other hand. It doesn't seem like I will get 365 this year. Not unless I start reading some manga again. Oh well. I'm enjoying what I am reading, so that is all that matters. At least this way I will remember how to speak English soon. That's exciting. Anyway. This book. It was cute. We are getting intimations of how the game is coming to life much sooner than we did in the anime series. So, yay. I also am getting to know Kirito and Asuna better. Kirito is much cooler in the anime series than he is in here. Most of the story is written from his perspective, so you get to see him way overthinking things and getting all neurotic, but that only serves to make him more real I think. Asuna on the other hand is way snootier in the book than she is in the anime. Maybe because in the anime you have more people working on the character development and at least a couple of them are women, so they would maybe put a stop to some of the more...fantastical elements of the female character in this book. But then again, they are 14 so I guess it's possible that a girl that age would be that moody and that unpredictable. Puberty is hard after all.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Danilo Assunção

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The majority of the book focused on the NPC Kizmel, Kirito, and Asuna throughout the quests on the third floor regarding the conflict between the two elf races. On this floor, Asuna had a significant improvement in her skills and weapon. The base camp where Dark Elves temporarily resides has a unique blacksmith who crafted probably the strongest weapon in the game at the moment for her. Kirito closely witnessing Asuna's growth, ponders about her future in the game. He believes that she should joi The majority of the book focused on the NPC Kizmel, Kirito, and Asuna throughout the quests on the third floor regarding the conflict between the two elf races. On this floor, Asuna had a significant improvement in her skills and weapon. The base camp where Dark Elves temporarily resides has a unique blacksmith who crafted probably the strongest weapon in the game at the moment for her. Kirito closely witnessing Asuna's growth, ponders about her future in the game. He believes that she should join some guild to improve more quickly and exert leadership among the front line players. In my opinion, the most exciting part of the book was the fight between Kirito and Morte, this latter also a beater of which motivations and goals are unclear for Kirito and Asuna. Kawahara in the afterwords apologizes for the rush in the third quarter of the book that ended without a detailed, thrilling boss fight. All the players in the front line proceeded to the fourth floor without casualties.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jorge Rosas

    This entire book is dedicated to the third floor of Aincrad and we see a lot of character development from Asuna and kirito, I liked the attention given to her and how she’s evolving as a player and a person, kirito has little advancement as character, and get a lot of hints of what will become project ALICE, the new character here is an NPC that’s way too advanced compared to the other NPCs and A.I. at the time, almost at the level of Yui. The focus is on an multiple floor side quest and the fi This entire book is dedicated to the third floor of Aincrad and we see a lot of character development from Asuna and kirito, I liked the attention given to her and how she’s evolving as a player and a person, kirito has little advancement as character, and get a lot of hints of what will become project ALICE, the new character here is an NPC that’s way too advanced compared to the other NPCs and A.I. at the time, almost at the level of Yui. The focus is on an multiple floor side quest and the first two guild, also we get a character that could easily be a laughing coffin founder.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Becca

    Second Read-through: April 2019 I thoroughly enjoyed reading this light novel, once again! Kizmel really is a great and intriguing character, and I hadn't fully noticed how much of a planner/"deep thinker" Kirito is before now. He literally always seems to be thinking about some minute detail, whether that be about a specific aspect of SAO's gameplay (such as upgrading a weapon or PvP duels) or the various players/NPCs he comes into contact with (particularly Asuna and Kizmel in this light novel). Second Read-through: April 2019 I thoroughly enjoyed reading this light novel, once again! Kizmel really is a great and intriguing character, and I hadn't fully noticed how much of a planner/"deep thinker" Kirito is before now. He literally always seems to be thinking about some minute detail, whether that be about a specific aspect of SAO's gameplay (such as upgrading a weapon or PvP duels) or the various players/NPCs he comes into contact with (particularly Asuna and Kizmel in this light novel). It does almost seem unrealistic with how competent and skilled Reki has made our main character, the unapologetic "beater", but I suppose he doesn't have the greatest social skills, so that does, sort of, make up for his overflowing smarts and combat ability. ;P First Read-through: September 2015 LOVED this! (Though, when it comes to SAO, that shouldn't really be surprising to me at this point. ;3) The plot lines and new characters (or rather just the two new secondary characters) were super interesting in this book! I really can't praise Reki's writing and storytelling enough. I love it all! His characters, in particular, intrigue me and I always find the interactions between all of them to be super interesting and entertaining as well. Just the mechanics of the SAO world fascinate me greatly. :) And, of course, I'm super curious to see where Kirito and Asuna's journey through Aincrad takes them next (or, I guess, what goes down on the fourth floor. ;P) How will the established plot lines continue to build on each other and where will they lead to? What new characters will we meet and when will old ones come back into play? Basically: I need to know what happens next! xD On to the next volume (when it comes out...)! :P

  6. 5 out of 5

    S.P.

    OK, I admit it, I'm a complete SAO fanboy. I love this series of books, apart from anything else, Kawahara is completely nuts. He really does intend to go through each level and tell of the adventures of Kirito (and Asuna) - trouble is, progressive 2 is just about floor 3! How many books will that make then? I suspect I will be long-dead by the time Kawahara's great-grandson puts the finishing touches to SAO Progressive 100... The story itself is great, Kirito and Asuna reach floor three, and imm OK, I admit it, I'm a complete SAO fanboy. I love this series of books, apart from anything else, Kawahara is completely nuts. He really does intend to go through each level and tell of the adventures of Kirito (and Asuna) - trouble is, progressive 2 is just about floor 3! How many books will that make then? I suspect I will be long-dead by the time Kawahara's great-grandson puts the finishing touches to SAO Progressive 100... The story itself is great, Kirito and Asuna reach floor three, and immediately engage in a series of quests to aid the 'Dark-Elves' in their battles with the 'Forest Elves'. In addition to a cool new character, Kizmel - an attractive female Dark-Elf, there is development of the two first guilds, and (view spoiler)[the beginnings of Laughing Coffin (hide spoiler)] . The latter parts of the quests are very rushed, but that is my only criticism. It seems (from his Afterward) that Kawahara got a bit carried away with his new character and thus spent way too much time on her (not that I am complaining about that) and compressing the last few chapters was the only way to hit his deadline/word limit. By about 3/4s the way through, I thought floor 3 might cross several volumes, and I can't say I would have minded if it did. The final scene is (view spoiler)[Kirito and Asuna setting foot on floor 4 (hide spoiler)] - as it should be. Anyway, now I await Progressive 3. Come-on Zen Press! I wants it!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ricardo Matos

    Starts really slow, and has some mild atempts at humour. Would 2 star it if it weren't for Kirito's duel with Morte and the story developments that come after it. At this point, I think the storyline between progressive and the original SOA is completely broken and to be honest that is not a bad thing. These books really feel just like SOA should have been told from the start! I'll be picking up #3 for sure. Starts really slow, and has some mild atempts at humour. Would 2 star it if it weren't for Kirito's duel with Morte and the story developments that come after it. At this point, I think the storyline between progressive and the original SOA is completely broken and to be honest that is not a bad thing. These books really feel just like SOA should have been told from the start! I'll be picking up #3 for sure.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Noah Stephan

    Reki Kawahara's Sword Art Online Progressive 002 had me thunderstruck with all the detail that it had, as well as how all of the characters interacted with each other in such a clean manner. I found that this was one of the very few books that has been able to keep me entertained throughout the whole book. There weren't any boring parts or anything that seemed off. This book had a very good theme. The overall theme that I was able to grasp from the book was not to give up. All throughout the boo Reki Kawahara's Sword Art Online Progressive 002 had me thunderstruck with all the detail that it had, as well as how all of the characters interacted with each other in such a clean manner. I found that this was one of the very few books that has been able to keep me entertained throughout the whole book. There weren't any boring parts or anything that seemed off. This book had a very good theme. The overall theme that I was able to grasp from the book was not to give up. All throughout the book, it might look like you won't ever be able to escape the game (reach floor 100), but even though odds were most certainly against him, Kirito kept moving forward. This could show many that with hard work and lots of effort, you can do a lot of things that you otherwise would have thought wasn't possible. This is a very good life lesson, since many people are so quick to give up, thinking that things are impossible. I found a lot of good takeaways from this book, and I'm sure many other people will be able to as well. I really did like the author's style, since he is able to really fill the book with detail, and it has a lot of detail, but just enough so that it doesn't make the book seem lengthy. There were a few humorous parts, but not that much, and the little bit of humor that there was wasn't very noticeable. The author doesn't go super deep into detail about the setting, which I don't have a problem with, since it allows you to be a lot more creative when picturing it in the book. This author is most certainly different, and has very good word choice. The speed of the story is very consistent, and doesn't seem to be rushed whatsoever. The author doesn't suddenly start to move through things fast, and the author also doesn't seem to miss parts of the book where there should be crucial detail. The cliffhangers at the end of each chapter may not have the same affect on everyone, but it certainly affected me. The author does a very good job with the characters, since it really felt like I could picture them perfectly so many times they were described. It was very easy to picture exactly what the characters were doing, and there was enough depth to where it played out in my head like a movie or television show. I really like the main characters, but I don't really like some of the antagonist characters, since I find them a bit creepy. I feel like since I don't like the antagonist characters just like the main characters, it makes me much more immersed when they are battling. At one point in the book, Kirito (one of the main characters) thinks a lot during a battle, analyzing the situation entirely. This tells us that he is very cautious, and makes sure that he knows everything that is going on around him. Another time you are able to better understand the personality of another character is when she sells information to the other players. This helps to tell the reader that she is very resourceful, and uses whatever she has to make it work out in her favor. The setting of the book is a lot more futuristic, which makes sense, since it is a video game, and the overall story takes place in the future. The people in the book seem to have the same interactions with things as we do today, so the characters are able to very easy to relate to, and this helps to make it feel like you are a part of the setting. At points, you are able to feel certain ways for certain characters, based on how they are feeling and what is happening. If I were to close my eyes and think just a little bit about the book and the setting, I would be able to picture it very easily in my head, and it would all make sense and work with how the characters al interact with it as well. Just imagine some of the really cool mechanics in video games, such as menus and selection options, and implement them into your life. This is what this book feels like, and it is able to do it in a very clean and organized manner, and I really do feel like it is easy to grasp. The way the setting swaps from a battlefield to a camp is very clean, and the author makes sure you know that the setting changes. Assuming that the first book has already been read, this book start where the first one ended, which is on the third floor. They haven’t progressed much, considering that they have to clear a total of 100 floors. The two main characters are starting to get a closer bond, and still continue to battle alongside one another. They end up meeting a new ally, who they end up growing a strong bond with, and treat her like a human, even though she is an NPC (non-player character). The three of them plan on fighting together, just the three of them, but will they need more people? They start to question that later in the book, and realize that as they progress in the game, it becomes more and more dangerous to stay in smaller groups, even though the three of them are so skilled. I really enjoy this book since it makes me wonder what it would be like to be stuck in a video game, and this helps to expand my thinking. This helps to realize struggles that may occur with the advancements of technology. It takes it to another level, but it helps to tell people how technology can be dangerous, and how simple things can actually cost you, such as sharing simple information to people over the internet, and not having correct privacy settings. This book can tell people many things, and those things all depend on how it is viewed. Now, what you might be wondering after reading all this, is if you should read the book, and to that I would have to say yes. This book is different from many, but if the things that I talked about appeal to you even in the slightest, this book might be for you. With books, it never hurts to try, which is all the more reason for you to read it. Since this book is part of a series, it will be able to keep you entertained for a long time. I really liked this book, and I really hope you do as well if you decide to give it a try. I would highly recommend this book, but you might not be able to put it down after you pick it up, so read at your own risk.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Carson

    Reads almost exactly like the first one, though doesn’t have the redundant habits of volume 1. While it feels like things are moving pretty slowly, the events of this book are more interesting than those in volume 1 I would say. We’re getting hints as to future antagonistic parties and the book raises a lot of questions about the nature of the SAO setting itself and its inhabitants. Without disclosing too much, I can say I wasn’t anticipating the direction its lore seems to be taking. Kizmel (in Reads almost exactly like the first one, though doesn’t have the redundant habits of volume 1. While it feels like things are moving pretty slowly, the events of this book are more interesting than those in volume 1 I would say. We’re getting hints as to future antagonistic parties and the book raises a lot of questions about the nature of the SAO setting itself and its inhabitants. Without disclosing too much, I can say I wasn’t anticipating the direction its lore seems to be taking. Kizmel (in Japanese キズメル, I’m not sure how they romanize it in translated versions) is a welcome character whose personality was nice and grounded and helped to bring focus and camaraderie to the Kirito-Asuna team. She has a few fun/interesting character moments here and there and her design is pretty appealing as well, though for some reason she’s always drawn with a blank expression despite displaying a variety of expressions within the story. Would’ve liked to see more life in her face in the illustrations but I digress. Overall while I liked this one, it still feels like we’re in the transition period before the story kicks into full gear. I’m hoping the next volume dives head first into the mysteries that’ve been teased because as it stands, there’s not a whole lot left to explore with the main conflicts that’ve been presented up till now.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Casey

    If you haven't started Progressive but are curious because you like the original -- it's worth it. Just know going in that it essentially takes the original and throws it out a window while traveling at high speeds. Yes, Kirito is there and Ausna, and Agil and Klein and... and... and... AND NOTHING. (Of course Kawahara already turned away from that storyline in Book 1!) Look we're finished with book 2 now and Floor 3 of Aincrad is cleared. Floor 3! Kawahara had Floor 75 cleared in 200 pages in th If you haven't started Progressive but are curious because you like the original -- it's worth it. Just know going in that it essentially takes the original and throws it out a window while traveling at high speeds. Yes, Kirito is there and Ausna, and Agil and Klein and... and... and... AND NOTHING. (Of course Kawahara already turned away from that storyline in Book 1!) Look we're finished with book 2 now and Floor 3 of Aincrad is cleared. Floor 3! Kawahara had Floor 75 cleared in 200 pages in the original. Note: This is not a complaint, just an observation. If you're looking for more details for the original story -- this isn't exactly that. It gives a lot more detail and introduces new characters. And essentially is something of a 'reboot' of the Aincrad storyline. I for one dig it. I love seeing Asuna and Kirito earlier in the game and how they shape each other by bumping up against one another's differences in knowledge, attitudes and playstyles. Verdict: If you love SAO and want more -- you'll get it in Progressive. If you're new to it, start with the original. Quick and fast just start with the first two for most of your Aincrad needs then jump into Progressive if that's what you're looking for.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Edward Joseph

    New floor, new approach. Volume 1 tackled the first 2 floors of the game while exploring the mechanics behind Blacksmith skills. This volume focused more on another RPG element - campaign quests. Kirito and Asuna ventured the 3rd floor of Aincrad accompanying the unusually-advanced NPC Kizmel, making her quest the second sub arc for the series. Why second? The first sub arc is the build-up of an enemy force among SAO's players - those who desire to kill. Even though the boss battle was rushed, this New floor, new approach. Volume 1 tackled the first 2 floors of the game while exploring the mechanics behind Blacksmith skills. This volume focused more on another RPG element - campaign quests. Kirito and Asuna ventured the 3rd floor of Aincrad accompanying the unusually-advanced NPC Kizmel, making her quest the second sub arc for the series. Why second? The first sub arc is the build-up of an enemy force among SAO's players - those who desire to kill. Even though the boss battle was rushed, this volume gave subtle hints of the Alicization arc with the discussion of how their wish of death game experiences lasting only a short time in reality.

  12. 5 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.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Hannah H.

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I will admit I was slightly sad that the boss fight consisted of one or two sentences basically saying "The boss was defeated. It had a poison attack, but no biggie." I mean I loved the book, I just expected the boss fight to be longer. I will admit I was slightly sad that the boss fight consisted of one or two sentences basically saying "The boss was defeated. It had a poison attack, but no biggie." I mean I loved the book, I just expected the boss fight to be longer.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Hozak

    This story got better and better as it went along. I like the idea of exploring what the NPCs would know about the SAO world. And the backstory for SAO is getting interesting. I'm looking forward to reading the next in this series. This story got better and better as it went along. I like the idea of exploring what the NPCs would know about the SAO world. And the backstory for SAO is getting interesting. I'm looking forward to reading the next in this series.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Rousseau

    All’s I have to say is I love the direction of this series honestly it’s so nice being able to dive deep into the beautiful but also dark world of SAO and get a lot of stuff that we miss out in the first ark of the other series of light novels and the anime

  16. 4 out of 5

    Emir Girgin

    3rd floor of aincrad. No boss battle only the long-term quest. The author is once again turning the story into harem. That's the only bad part. 3rd floor of aincrad. No boss battle only the long-term quest. The author is once again turning the story into harem. That's the only bad part.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Logan

    I loved this book almost as much as I loved the first one. I was a little disappointed when it was only the 3rd floor, unlike the first book which was 2 floors, but it was still great.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Maximiliano

    Very good book, I enjoyed a lot, the new characters and details from the original series makes very subtle changes but at the same time gives a new dimension of the events in aincrad.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lulu Bennett

    Pretty much nothing happened. It was just them exploring the elf quest the ENTIRE TIME oh my gods.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jarrad

    Couldn’t set it down. Finished in <24 hrs

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Christian

    3.8 stars

  22. 4 out of 5

    Omegavesko

    (The Goodreads entry for the book says as much, but I’ll point out that this is a review for the translation of this volume to English by Yen Press, not the original Japanese edition published by Dengeki Bunko.) I think this volume is where Kawahara-sensei begins to narrow down exactly where he means to go with this alternate universe. Volume one was sort of a wildcard, because the first half was the story he wrote for the second episode of the anime, and the second half was him expanding on that (The Goodreads entry for the book says as much, but I’ll point out that this is a review for the translation of this volume to English by Yen Press, not the original Japanese edition published by Dengeki Bunko.) I think this volume is where Kawahara-sensei begins to narrow down exactly where he means to go with this alternate universe. Volume one was sort of a wildcard, because the first half was the story he wrote for the second episode of the anime, and the second half was him expanding on that. As such, it had a little bit of everything, with no particularly strong theme. And he wasn’t quite sure yet exactly where Progressive stood in comparison to the main series. In contrast to that, Volume 2 is much more strongly themed, and it shows the more concrete direction he has in mind for the series. It covers one floor instead of the two in the first volume, and the central theme is the campaign quest that starts from floor three. Without going into too much detail, the story focuses a little less on Kirito and Asuna’s relationship development, and more into developing the mechanics of the game itself. Which is fine – They have 98 more floors for the relationship to fully develop, there’s no need to rush it. That brings me to my main point: If you’ve read the afterword, you’ll know that Kawahara-sensei intends to take Progressive to floor 100. This is a crucial bit of information, because he’s now essentially told us that as of Volume 2 onward, he is treating Progressive as a complete alternate universe in its own right. I think it was the best decision he could’ve made, because it allows him to develop the story in any direction, without worrying about it clashing with details from the main series. Perhaps more importantly, it also solves the question of how he intends to write the story once it enters the same floors covered by the main series. Now he’s free to re-tell or summarize the ones he deems fit, while not being burdened by plot points that would clash with the entirely different timeline. I’ll close this review out by saying that one of my main worries from the first volume is no longer an issue – Floor boss battles. From the structure of the first volume, I was worried that he intended to fully write every single floor boss battle, which obviously would’ve gotten old very quickly, and been a serious knock against the series. Thankfully that isn’t the case, as the floor three boss battle is summarized in a single page in this volume. As before, it’s still somewhat questionable whether the author will actually take this series to its completion. He’s made that intention clear enough now, but at one volume per year (and one floor per volume, at that), we’re not going to see floor 100 soon. With the author juggling four separate series right now (SAO, SAO: Progressive, Accel World, The Isolator), we can’t reasonably expect a faster release schedule unless he finishes one of his other series, or puts it on hold. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes, I suppose.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Martin

    Good book but the boss fight which i was excited to read was almost non exsisting but Reki Kawahara appoligizes for that in the afterwords so i forgive him ;) Overall the book is really good and i can recommend it to people who liked the anime, the manga or the 1st book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jaime

    Sword Art Online: Progressive 002 by Reki Kawahara This is the second installment in Kawahara’s SAO: Progressive series. It covers the third floor and while it was fun, I think this book was more about setting up the familiar (and not so familiar) parts of the SAO world we know. The Guilds, like the Aincrad Liberation Squad (as it’s called in the book. In the Anime I believe it’s the Aincrad Liberation Army); the Dragon Knights, and, if I might venture a little guess—Laughing Coffin. The name Laug Sword Art Online: Progressive 002 by Reki Kawahara This is the second installment in Kawahara’s SAO: Progressive series. It covers the third floor and while it was fun, I think this book was more about setting up the familiar (and not so familiar) parts of the SAO world we know. The Guilds, like the Aincrad Liberation Squad (as it’s called in the book. In the Anime I believe it’s the Aincrad Liberation Army); the Dragon Knights, and, if I might venture a little guess—Laughing Coffin. The name Laughing Coffin is never mentioned, but I think Kawahara is hinting at it. In fact, I think he hinted at it in 001 (view spoiler)[(with the poncho guy who told the Legends Brave about the blacksmithing scam). (hide spoiler)] If we are seeing Laughing Coffin’s “early days” then color me excited. But, I supposed it all remains to be seen. Again, this book was about world building; not to show off the third floor boss. There is a single paragraph about the boss and that’s about it, most of the story revolves around the NPC Kizmel who falls way out of the parameters of what a normal NPC is like, (Yui precursor, anyone? Eh? Eh?). What’s most interesting about the third floor is the fact that this is the first we’ve ever seen of a “campaign.” In fact, according to Kirito, the third floor is the start of a storyline that doesn’t end until the ninth floor. Which I think means we can be certain that Kizmel will be a returning character. She gives us a little insight on how the NPCs or the "story" sees the events of the player characters getting trapped in the game. All in all, a fun book, if a bit slow in the middle. Solid four stars, no more no less.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Michael H (Mouse UK)

    Enjoying this series, its nice to see Reki Kawahara go back and re write the series as it should have been done initially and filling in all the gaps between the floors in the inital SAO story. (for anyone who doesn't know the story/anime the first book was writtent for a compititation which had a page limit as such the story starts on the 1st floor of a labrenth and finishes way up top so to make the page number the writer cuts out massive chunks of the story of how they get from the 1st to 25 Enjoying this series, its nice to see Reki Kawahara go back and re write the series as it should have been done initially and filling in all the gaps between the floors in the inital SAO story. (for anyone who doesn't know the story/anime the first book was writtent for a compititation which had a page limit as such the story starts on the 1st floor of a labrenth and finishes way up top so to make the page number the writer cuts out massive chunks of the story of how they get from the 1st to 25 to 50 to 70 etc.... This series "Progressive" starts at floor 1 and continues through each floor filling in the gaps and so far its been very enjoyable). Got the next book already so better get reading :D

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This volume is sort of like SAO by way of Log Horizon, Vol. 1, largely because it introduces an NPC character who appears to have her own thoughts and feelings, Kizmel. Kirito spends a fair amount of time pondering how this can be, and it adds a philosophical tone to the story that Kawahara was not previously capable of writing. Asuna is still a very unrealistically portrayed female, but Kirito comes off as less perfect. This is a vast improvement from Kawahara's previous SAO novels, and while i This volume is sort of like SAO by way of Log Horizon, Vol. 1, largely because it introduces an NPC character who appears to have her own thoughts and feelings, Kizmel. Kirito spends a fair amount of time pondering how this can be, and it adds a philosophical tone to the story that Kawahara was not previously capable of writing. Asuna is still a very unrealistically portrayed female, but Kirito comes off as less perfect. This is a vast improvement from Kawahara's previous SAO novels, and while it's still not great writing, it is enjoyable pulp.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Scott Taylor

    Another great addition to the Sword Art Online mythos by Reki Kawahara. Taking place only on Level 3 of Aincrad, the novel spends time taking the reader into the quest option on MMORPGs. It also adds another level to the computer AI, something fans have seen before with the Yui character, but this time we get a more 'involved' character to develop along with Kurito and Asuna. The book also continues to develop more complex relationships between the front line clearers, and also the various new g Another great addition to the Sword Art Online mythos by Reki Kawahara. Taking place only on Level 3 of Aincrad, the novel spends time taking the reader into the quest option on MMORPGs. It also adds another level to the computer AI, something fans have seen before with the Yui character, but this time we get a more 'involved' character to develop along with Kurito and Asuna. The book also continues to develop more complex relationships between the front line clearers, and also the various new guilds, including what I believe to be the foundations of The Laughing Coffin. In all, it is a great read for any SAO fans and I can't wait for the next English release in October 2015.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    I honestly think that the Progressive series is better than the core Sword Art Light Novels. In part, because the author has honed his craft a bit, but also because the original story had a bit too much of a time jump in it. It's certainly very different from the original novels (and TV show based on them) as you see an expanding and deepening relationship between Kirito and Asuna very early on. In fact, it's kind of hard to see how he'll parallel the original series. While they certainly are not I honestly think that the Progressive series is better than the core Sword Art Light Novels. In part, because the author has honed his craft a bit, but also because the original story had a bit too much of a time jump in it. It's certainly very different from the original novels (and TV show based on them) as you see an expanding and deepening relationship between Kirito and Asuna very early on. In fact, it's kind of hard to see how he'll parallel the original series. While they certainly are not an item yet, their partnership is certainly moving in that direction. Still, a good read overall. The translation is clean and easy to read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jesse Burk

    Another great story about the Sword Art Online world. I really enjoyed the introduction of the new NPC character Kizmel. She is probably my favorite female character in SAO along with Asuna of course. I hope to see more of Kizmel in the third book. It is a shame that the anime skipped over the majority of the Progressive series, but maybe the anime directors will add in a side arc telling the tales of the Progressive timeline.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cameron

    I really enjoyed the Campaign Quest that stretched over this book and will hopefully be in future books. The author introduced a lot of plot hooks into this book that will have far spanning consequences, but didn't leave you with a feeling of a cliffhanger at the end. Sure, you have more questions than answers... but you have enough answers to feel satisfied until the next adventure. I really enjoyed the Campaign Quest that stretched over this book and will hopefully be in future books. The author introduced a lot of plot hooks into this book that will have far spanning consequences, but didn't leave you with a feeling of a cliffhanger at the end. Sure, you have more questions than answers... but you have enough answers to feel satisfied until the next adventure.

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