• Sword Art Online 1: Aincrad (Light Novel)

  • By: Reki Kawahara
  • Narrated by: Bryce Papenbrook
  • Length: 8 hrs and 3 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (680 ratings)

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Sword Art Online 1: Aincrad (Light Novel)

By: Reki Kawahara
Narrated by: Bryce Papenbrook
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Publisher's Summary

Check out the novel that ignited the phenomenon!

In the year 2022, gamers rejoice as Sword Art Online - a VRMMORPG (virtual reality massively multiplayer online role-playing game) like no other - debuts, allowing players to take full advantage of the ultimate in gaming technology: NerveGear, a system that allows users to completely immerse themselves in a wholly realistic gaming experience. But when the game goes live, the elation of the players quickly turns to horror as they discover that, for all its amazing features, SAO is missing one of the most basic functions of any MMORPG - a logout button. Now trapped in the virtual world of Aincrad, their bodies held captive by NerveGear in the real world, users are issued a chilling ultimatum: conquer all 100 floors of Aincrad to regain your freedom. But in the warped world of SAO, "game over" means certain death - both virtual and real....

©2017 Reki Kawahara (P)2021 Yen Audio

What listeners say about Sword Art Online 1: Aincrad (Light Novel)

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Glad to see more Light Novel Audiobooks

Bought it immediately. Loved that they got the dubbed voice actor for Kirito to do the audiobook. Can't wait for more and hope Yen Audio can also adapt in audiobook format the author's other light novel, Accel World, as well!

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Strong Concept, Rushed Storyline

"Sword Art Online 1: Aincrad" is a fascinating light novel with an incredibly unique concept, recognizable characters, and an intriguing storyline. Sword Art Online has an entire anime universe adapting its stories, and while I believe the light novel is better than the shows, I think there are still substantial flaws throughout the book. Namely, the biggest problem is pacing. Without spoilers: the story starts by introducing the readers to the world, setting up the plot, and establishing characters nicely, then does everything in its power to rush toward the end. Most details the audience learns about are in passing, and as a reader, it is hard to connect with what the characters are going through when emotional/personal character problems are presented, this is often the first time we hear about them. I understand many of the flashbacks and references because I watched the anime, however, for someone reading the light novel without watching the series, many of these references may mean little to them. If the story had taken its time, perhaps extending it across a series in chronological order rather than confining it to one book, continued to build up to its grand finale, it would have been a significantly better product. However, the performance by Bryce Papenbrook, the fascinating premise, and the likable characters elevate the story to a solid standing. Reki Kawahara is a talented author, and I look forward to reading/listening to more of his work. I would indeed recommend the book.

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Has some flaws but still recommend

I love SAO, I've watched the anime all the way through three times. The only gripe that I have about the novel is that it skips so many vital parts of the story that it kind of ruins the immersion. I am really happy that they were able to get Bryce Pappenbrook to narrate it.

4 people found this helpful

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loved it

great book can't wait for new one soon I own all the books in the series

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Abridged

This just leaves out way too much. The narrator does a good enough job. Go pick up overlord instead. You’ll be far happier for your spent credit.

3 people found this helpful

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Revived my love for SAO

Bryce’s narration made SAO take on a whole new experience! I already loved the SAO series, and I recently bought the physical novel. Then I saw the audiobook and immediately listened. It was like hearing Kirito on a new level! We got to actually go into his thoughts and feelings about the game: the hardships, the guilt, the fear, and his love for Asuna. It was so amazing to have another beautiful way to experience this series!

2 people found this helpful

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Waited a long time for this

It was great to hear the light novel of this story. The anime was an awesome experience and im glad to see that it wasn't actually missing very much content. Also for those who may listen that have seen the anime, the second light novel actually contains lizbeth, silica and yui's arks as a collection past date storys. So don't expect those in here. Papenbrook is actually a pretty good narrator, female voices are not his thing.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Good Standard for Light Novel Audiobooks

I’m already an SAO fan and have read the first 15 novels in the series, so this is my second time through on this book - and let me say, it was a delight!

I tend to watch subtitles rather than dubs, so this is my first time hearing Papenbrook as Kirito and not only is he great in the role (something those who watched the dub already knew), but he’s also a damned good audiobook narrator. Not every actor can handle prose, but Papenbrook stands up there with the best, in that he navigates his ways through voices without going overboard, he speeds up and slows down reading along with the action, he accents the text at the right points so that even the longer descriptions don’t get dull. Honestly, if he wants the work I could see him having a solid career in audiobook narration.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Bryce's performance is a 3 out of 5

I enjoyed the story, imagery, and pacing. Bryce obviously does a great job as Kirito, he is Kirito! His Agil and Heathcliff and narration was good. However, that's about it. His Klein felt off, his growls, screams and other sound effects were meh, and his Asuna felt very very wrong! Obviously having a voice to the characters already didn't help this. All of that being said, if they put out the other volumes I will likely listen to them.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A genuine improvement over the anime

It cuts out all the fluff! No Silica, no Lizbeth, no Yui, and I genuinely believe that’s an improvement. It definitely still has some issues, some of which are just the story of SAO, and some of which are the novel dragging a bit on unnecessary details. However, if you’re even a mild fan of SAO, then give it a shot!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-12-21

Bryce narrating this is pure genius

As a massive fan of the SAO series, mainly the Anime side. Having these novels recorded in an audible format is amazing. I've always wanted to read the literature behind the anime but I have rubbish attention span when it comes to reading books. Felt like I was missing out as a result. In addition, having Bryce Papenbrook, narrate this too, was epic, it was such a joy to listen to. Can wait to hear novel 2!!

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Cirtoyt
  • 08-16-21

Awesome to hear Kirito reading as Kirito, but not some much as Asuna… 😅

As a hard anime and light novel fan I absolutely loved this audiobook rendition! My only complain is Bryce’s honestly painful rendition of Asuna’s voice. Please oh please bring in Cherami to handle the female characters, or any female VA honestly. I know this series is planned to be continued as an audiobook, but given how many more female characters and POVs will be introduced in the next volume alone, please hire a female VA to handle all their voices! Biggest stickler! I know many SAO friends who instantly stopped listening as soon as they heard Bryce’s Asuna. I myself powered through, but only because I already know the story and played this in the background. Otherwise, all of Bryce’s work for the majority of the book, absolutely fantastic job! Great emotion! Great story telling! I personally thought Klein’s voice was a little low effort, but wow some of the voices surprised me as super awesome/well done! Daizan and Nishida were my surprise favourites!

TL;DR: Fantastic job! Except… female/Asuna voice sounding painfully bad! Just hire a female VA and this would be a 9/10, otherwise it’s a solid 7/10 for me :D

2 people found this helpful

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  • robert
  • 09-08-21

Hurry up and complete the series

Absolutely amazing can't wait for them to make the rest of the series avaliable. Will be buying as soon as they drop

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Touma
  • 11-28-22

enjoyed

this was a fun listen Bryce papenbrook did a great job , I'd recommend this audiobook.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Joachim
  • 06-06-22

Interesting concept though lacking story

That is I love the SAO concept and have seen the anime first. Unfortunately this intriguing concept and beautiful love story completely falls short of a really good novella due to the author’s / main characters sexist teen angst point of view and lack of any real character development. Most other characters are also uninteresting and not explored at all. Further there are lots of plot holes that are neither fully explored or explained properly. As a gamer and having seen the anime there are a few of these that can be extrapolated, though most are left unanswered.

The narrator is flat and uninteresting, though he makes several attempts at sound effect like screams and outbursts they are somewhat lacking and halfhearted and could have been better just to drop them.

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  • jade reedman
  • 04-27-22

Fantastic!

What a amazing book, so Iv seen the anime series and also read the manga but never have I the original story and it just brings it all to life again, the voice acting was great, nothing I can really complain about, I remember you reading this even if a first time seeing it you don’t need to watch it just listen to this story then go watch the animated series!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Luke Knowles
  • 03-31-22

Where it all began....

I've been a huge fan of the Anime series based off this light novel series since it aired way back when. Sadly though as a blind 'reader' I was unable to access the source material....until now!

Getting to read the story of SAO as it was written is so much fun, especially as it is narrated by the voice actor who voices Kirito (main protagonist) in the Anime adaptation. Really gives it a nostalgic feeling getting to hear his voice again reliving some iconic scenes from the show but also giving us a more in depth look into Kirito as a person and why he acts how he acts. Sadly though, like the adaptation, the story arch for this chapter in the overall series is a bit short for me. It has a huge impact and does feel natural to end the way it does....however I would have liked to see the story spread over several books with more exploration of the early days of the game.

Apart from that though, its a great, thrill ride of a listen and as I mentioned earlier, the voice acting for the narration is outstanding. You can really immerse yourself in the world of SAO through Papenbrooks delivery. Can't wait to listen to the rest of the series as is drops novel by novel!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-10-21

Nice

Good shit, liked it after watching the anime. Hopefully they record the whole series as audiobooks

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jonathan
  • 12-03-21

Good Story, OK performance.

The narrator was really good but having him voice the female characters was a mistake and massively took me out of the story.

I've heard they get the female voice actor from the anime for vol.2 onwards so that should be a huge improvement!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Cameron teague
  • 11-26-21

good series

loved it could of used a female voice actor for the female roles but otherwise really good