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ソードアート・オンライン 2: アインクラッド [Sōdo āto onrain 2: Ainkuraddo]

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クリアするまで脱出不可能のデスバトルMMO『ソードアート・オンライン』に接続した主人公・キリト。最上階層を目指す≪攻略組≫の彼以外にも、様々な職業や考え方を持つプレイヤーがそこには存在していた。彼らはログアウト不可能という苛烈な状況下でも、生き生きと暮らし、喜び笑い、そして時には泣いて、ただ≪ゲーム≫を楽しんでいた。≪ビーストテイマー≫のシリカ、≪鍛冶屋≫の女店主・リズベット、謎の幼女・ユイ、そして黒い剣士が忘れることの出来ない少女・サチ──。ソロプレイヤー・キリトが彼女たちと交わした、四つのエピソードを、今紐解く。


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クリアするまで脱出不可能のデスバトルMMO『ソードアート・オンライン』に接続した主人公・キリト。最上階層を目指す≪攻略組≫の彼以外にも、様々な職業や考え方を持つプレイヤーがそこには存在していた。彼らはログアウト不可能という苛烈な状況下でも、生き生きと暮らし、喜び笑い、そして時には泣いて、ただ≪ゲーム≫を楽しんでいた。≪ビーストテイマー≫のシリカ、≪鍛冶屋≫の女店主・リズベット、謎の幼女・ユイ、そして黒い剣士が忘れることの出来ない少女・サチ──。ソロプレイヤー・キリトが彼女たちと交わした、四つのエピソードを、今紐解く。

30 review for ソードアート・オンライン 2: アインクラッド [Sōdo āto onrain 2: Ainkuraddo]

  1. 4 out of 5

    Niquie

    What a disappointment. I liked Sword Art Online Aincrad book one, sure it had its flaws, but as it was the author’s first book I didn’t mind. Not only was the story idea interesting (I love trapped in a game stories), but it was one of the easiest books I have ever read. So why was book two agony to read? The main problem was how the book was written. It’s a collection of four short stories that take place during the two years the players are trapped in the game. I knew that going in, I was actu What a disappointment. I liked Sword Art Online Aincrad book one, sure it had its flaws, but as it was the author’s first book I didn’t mind. Not only was the story idea interesting (I love trapped in a game stories), but it was one of the easiest books I have ever read. So why was book two agony to read? The main problem was how the book was written. It’s a collection of four short stories that take place during the two years the players are trapped in the game. I knew that going in, I was actually excited about learning more about the world of Aincrad and getting a deeper understanding of the characters. Too bad that isn’t what happened. Okay, I did learn more about Aincrad, and I really liked what I learned like the dragon quest, and the idea of monster taming, the Red Noised Reindeer idea was pretty cool and logical. No, where this story let me down was with the characters and the writing. Take the first story. It’s 3rd person pov and narrated by 13 year old Silica, and while the idea was fine, the execution was not. Much like the first book the author has trouble describing villains without making them sound like a joke. Like so: When she noticed the empty space on Silica’s shoulder, a nasty leer crossed her lips. I hope Kawahara works on developing his villains better, because so far he’s doing a cheesy job. Then there’s Silica herself. She’s 13, she was 12 when she got trapped in Sword Art Online. As one of the rare female players and a beast-tamer, which is also rare she’s a bit of a celebrity. Okay, but was it necessary for her to be sexualized (am I using the right word?)? Much older men had approached Silica on several occasions, and one had even proposed to her. Maybe that isn’t too bad, but she’s 13 and older men are trying to get inappropriately close to her. I honestly was scared until I remember it was mentioned female players could send men who touch them to the dungeon for sexual harassment in the first book. So Kirito meets her and decides to help her, because she reminds him of his genius kendo younger sister who is actually his cousin (which set off flags in my head, because this is Japan, his younger sister never had a chance but to fall in love with him (view spoiler)[ I had to know if my intuition was right and yeah she does fall for him, the only thing that makes this better is that I read a review that explained why she fell for him and it does kind of make sense (hide spoiler)] ). You know I would have actually enjoyed this story more if Silica, who’s 13, didn’t fall in love with Kirito. If she just saw him as an older brother figure that would have been fine, but instead I had to read this she felt warmth in her chest begin to spread and how she felt a painful throb deep in her chest. Her heart began beating faster for no apparent reason. Her face was hot. It just bothered me. And to think book one made me think maybe this series wouldn’t have a harem after all. Which brings me to the second story. See the second story is narrated in 1st person pov by Lisbeth. Lisbeth is Asuna’s friend. The whole plot with the dragon quest I really enjoyed. If this had been a story about Lisbeth and Asuna going after the ore I would have enjoyed it so much more, but no, it was about Lisbeth and Kirito. Lisbeth who avoids forming close relationships with male players because she doesn’t want to cross the line with anyone until she finds the guy she truly loves. I actually admired Lisbeth, she’s a blacksmith who choses to create her own shop and she’s good at what she does. But she’s lonely. Then she meets Kirito, they go on an adventure, she falls in love, then things get weird. I’m not fond of harems. But what made this worse was the confusion I was left with by the end of the story. (view spoiler)[ Does Kirito realize she’s in love with him? Did she actually decide that once they escape the game she was going to romantically pursue him, even though right now she’s giving up since she knows Asuna likes him? Or is it that she’s giving up now since Asuna could stand with him and she was somehow inferior because she couldn’t fight by his side? (hide spoiler)] I don’t know, but somehow the writing in the last chapter felt… confusing and messy. I was also left feeling like Lisbeth was not someone I liked as much. By the end of this story I was ready to stop reading. I just wanted to put the book down and never look at it again, but something told me I had to read till the end so I continued. The 3rd story is narrated by Asuna in 3rd person pov. See unlike the first two stories, story three takes place during the events shown in book one. This is a problem, because apparently the events of story three left no impression on Kirito as he doesn’t mention anything that happened in it in book one, but mostly because it was so unnecessary. This story made no sense. The whole explanation behind Yui, was nonsense, Asuna’s attachment to Yui felt unrealistic, and the whole idea for the boss in that dungeon made no sense. There were some good things, like learning more about what happened to those left in the Town of Beginnings and what was going on with the Army. I really liked learning about the orphanage that was cool. But these good things were thrown in in order for the whole Yui storyline to end the way Kawahara wanted it to end. Which is a pity, because those were way more interesting and made more sense than the Yui storyline. I hated this story, it was unnecessary, and it didn’t make any sense. It really didn’t. The overall execution and writing for this story was lacking. Then there was the contradiction, not a big deal, but I actually noticed it. In story one this is mentioned: But the salvation Pina gave to Silica—trapped in the closed world of Sword Art Online at jus age twelve […] In story three this is mentioned: The NerveGear had a cautionary age restriction, meaning that children under the age of thirteen could not use it. Again no big deal, but this was just one more issue I had with this book. Then I got to the fourth story. Unlike the first three stories this one is narrated 1st person pov by Kirito, and yeah it was so much better. Kawahara really knows how to write Kirito’s voice, and my reading experience went from agony to being enjoyable. This story fleshes out what happened to Kirito’s first party and how it affected him (you see in the first two stories he’s trying to make amends for his party dying, but there it felt fake). The idea behind the santa monster quest was really cool. And it made sense considering how the game was supposed to function. Kirito’s desperation was good to read, and I could see how this boy is desperately clinging to the belief that somehow he could fix this horrible thing that happened. In book one I didn’t really understand why Kirito felt guilty over not telling his first party the truth about his level, the whole incident was summarized in a few paragraphs and it wasn’t really clear what had happened. Here Kirito goes into how he joins the group and explains how even though he was part of the group he was still keeping secrets and the way he described it really did make it seem dirty. He did a bad thing, but I still didn’t understand why he felt guilty for the death of his party. Then we get to the incident, and suddenly Kirito’s summarizing again rather than showing what happened. Frankly I’m still confused. I play a lot of JRPGs, and I’ve come across many a trapped treasure chests, but this trap made no sense (in that context). I could understand a ridiculously strong monster jumping out of the chest and killing the party members before they know what hit them (that’s happened to me before ☹), but the way it went down was weird. And isn’t it weird that Kirito didn’t seem to know or call most of his teammates by their names? It’s like they were just filler characters (much like Klein’s group of friends). But ignoring that, I really liked the letter, and the picture at the end really made me feel Kirito’s pain. I love Sachi, I wish I’d gotten to get to know her better. Klein’s a good guy, wish I’d gotten to know him better too. If the other three stories had been like this one (adding depth to the first book) this book could have been pretty good. Reading the author’s afterword I understand what he was going for, but I think his execution just wasn’t good enough. This book was a wasted opportunity. Rather than focusing on random girls who probably won’t be seen again, I would rather have read about characters from the first book. And was it really necessary to have Kirito in every story? Reading this and learning more about Sword Art Online I kind of wish the author hadn’t freed everyone by the end of book one. I’d rather he didn’t time jump two years and wrote about what happened to Kirito in those two years until he beat the game. There was just so much potential here, that spending a few books on this world would have been nice. After reading this I’ve decided to stop buying this series. I didn’t enjoy this book (though the last story was so much better), and I can tell from this and things I read online that things I don’t enjoy in stories are going to keep appearing in this series. So I’ve decided to borrow the next book from the library and make my decision then about whether I’m going to drop this series or not. It sucks, I was so looking forward to this. Now I wrote this review around 12 days after finishing the book (which took me weeks to read) so my memory may be off a bit. Sorry about that. Final Rating: I didn’t like this book. There was so much wasted potential, there were just too many issues I was sensitive to, and the writing was not as good as it should’ve been. Oh and the third story was a waste of paper. Hopefully book 3 will be better.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Aja: The Narcoleptic Ninja

    I liked this one better than the first one because it slowed down and took a more detailed approach to some of Kirito's adventures. This was divided up into four short stories, talking about mid level players instead the high level players like Asuna and Kirito. The Black Swordsman This story focused on Silica and her quest to revive her fallen familiar, Pina. I loved Silica and it was really easy to sympathize with someone who felt alienated and alone without her familiar. While Silica was surro I liked this one better than the first one because it slowed down and took a more detailed approach to some of Kirito's adventures. This was divided up into four short stories, talking about mid level players instead the high level players like Asuna and Kirito. The Black Swordsman This story focused on Silica and her quest to revive her fallen familiar, Pina. I loved Silica and it was really easy to sympathize with someone who felt alienated and alone without her familiar. While Silica was surrounded by people who wanted her to join their party she felt like her only friend was Pina because the players didn't value her strength or personality. They wanted her around because she was a rare class and because she could have served as a sort of mascot because she's cute and one of the few female players in the game. Seeing her get close to Kirito and her dedication to Pina was a nice read and she easily became one of my favorite characters. Warmth of the Heart This story revolved around Lisbeth, the blacksmith. She took a tech class instead of fighting in the fields and forges weapons and armor for players like Asuna and Kirito. In searching for rare materials to make a high level weapon for Kirito she develops romantic feelings for him but never tells him because she knows of Asuna's feelings so she encourages Asuna instead. I really liked Lisbeth so I kind of had mixed feelings here. The thing about Asuna is that she's such a poorly developed character in comparison to the girls in this book. She needs her own story to become a more developed character so I can have an actual idea of why Kirito likes her other than the fact that she's pretty and good with a sword... Morning Dew Girl Okay, honestly I could have done without this story. I really didn't like Yui at all and the feelings that Asuna and Kirito had about her being their "daughter" felt really forced in my opinion. Red-nosed Reindeer Okay it's been mentioned a few times that even though Kirito is a solo-player, he joined a small guild at some point and he blames himself for killing them all. This is that story. Or... kind of. This is the story about Kirito's quest to save Sachi, the only female member of the guild who had vowed to protect and failed. Sachi is a sweetheart and she's scared to death of this game because it can actually kill her which is a nice change of pace from the braver characters we've come to know and love so far. My biggest problem here is that this story could have been so much more. It could have detailed Kirito's time WITH the guild, watching it perish, and THEN going on the quest to save Sachi rather than starting with the quest and just giving a few details about the Guild. It was a nice story, I just wanted more from this one since Kirito is so upset about this particular set of events. Overall a very nice collection of stories. Definitely enjoyed reading it!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nerdish Mum

    This book contains four stories from during the time of the first light novel about side characters but still involving Kirito and Asuna. I think the stories are definitely better done in the novel than in the anime as there is more detail meaning that (view spoiler)[particularly Lisbeth, does not come across as some sort of crazy girl, falling for Kirito and becoming obsessed within 24 hours. The light novel explains that she just craves the warmth of a human as she has been lonely for so long This book contains four stories from during the time of the first light novel about side characters but still involving Kirito and Asuna. I think the stories are definitely better done in the novel than in the anime as there is more detail meaning that (view spoiler)[particularly Lisbeth, does not come across as some sort of crazy girl, falling for Kirito and becoming obsessed within 24 hours. The light novel explains that she just craves the warmth of a human as she has been lonely for so long which really makes everything a lot clearer. (hide spoiler)] Both the story of Yui and Sachi are just as devastating in word as in pictures. I really enjoyed this and I look forward to continuing with the light novels.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sushi (寿司)

    I love SAO. I am addicted. I can't stop ... I can't wait to read the third book. I love SAO. I am addicted. I can't stop ... I can't wait to read the third book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina "Look At My Books"

    The Sachi Story was Just EVERYTHING to me. It was so much more heartbreaking than the Episode. Oh my poor Kirito.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Khari

    This was super cute. Adorable. You learn more about Kirito and Asuna and Lisbeth and Silica and a bunch of other characters. And yet, by reading this book I understood the criticism that others have leveled at the series. It was....very emotionally manipulative. And corny. Each of the stories in this little collection involved the loss and regaining of something, either a treasured pet, a lost partner, or a lost love. Sometimes the thing was regained, some times it was lost, but each time, regardle This was super cute. Adorable. You learn more about Kirito and Asuna and Lisbeth and Silica and a bunch of other characters. And yet, by reading this book I understood the criticism that others have leveled at the series. It was....very emotionally manipulative. And corny. Each of the stories in this little collection involved the loss and regaining of something, either a treasured pet, a lost partner, or a lost love. Sometimes the thing was regained, some times it was lost, but each time, regardless, there were tears that disappeared into a mote of light. I got a little tired of the mote of light motif. So yeah, I would say, not as good as the first one. I understand now why my friend said that Kirito is a Mary Sue character....yeah...he is. I was denying it right up until he somehow managed to hack into the program that controls all of Sword Art Online and manage to lop off the program responsible for Yui and transform her into an in-game object that just happens to be a tear shaped necklace, all in about a minute and a half with no prior training whatsoever, with his first attempt at manipulating the code of a program he has never seen before....yeah, it doesn't matter how good you are with computers, that isn't happening. So yes, Kirito is a Mary Sue character. And I still love him.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Grace, Queen of Crows and Tomes

    First book of 2018 is finished!!!! In this volume, we get the side stories of things that happened to Kirito while in SAO. It was nice to see how the game affected just regular players and not those who were solely focused on clearing the game. We see more of those who are just trying to continue living and having a purpose. It was also nice to see an outsiders' look at Kirito. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book 👍 First book of 2018 is finished!!!! In this volume, we get the side stories of things that happened to Kirito while in SAO. It was nice to see how the game affected just regular players and not those who were solely focused on clearing the game. We see more of those who are just trying to continue living and having a purpose. It was also nice to see an outsiders' look at Kirito. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book 👍

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    3 1/2 stars, even though I prefer longer fiction, these short novellas are entertaining reading and Morning Dew Girl has a character that's introduced that has a large impact on book 3. So if you plan on reading further you should read at least that side story. 3 1/2 stars, even though I prefer longer fiction, these short novellas are entertaining reading and Morning Dew Girl has a character that's introduced that has a large impact on book 3. So if you plan on reading further you should read at least that side story.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kai Charles(Fiction State Of Mind)

    I'm really glad I know what came next in this storyline because this volume does not pick up where the first one left off. Instead this volume has 4 interconnected stories that showcase the important women in Kirito's life. The first story stars Silica a young girl who Kirito helps because of her resemblance to Kirito ' s sister . Next up is Lisbeth a young blacksmith who goes with Kirito on a quest to find a rare material. My favorite story is the third. It tells the story of Yui a young girl w I'm really glad I know what came next in this storyline because this volume does not pick up where the first one left off. Instead this volume has 4 interconnected stories that showcase the important women in Kirito's life. The first story stars Silica a young girl who Kirito helps because of her resemblance to Kirito ' s sister . Next up is Lisbeth a young blacksmith who goes with Kirito on a quest to find a rare material. My favorite story is the third. It tells the story of Yui a young girl who adopts Asunsa & Kirito as parents. Lastly we learn the story of Sachi, a member of Kirito first group. Sachi's fate is the defining fact that makes Kirito a solitary player. Wonderful stories with great action and lots of emotional touchstones. I'm looking forward to the next book!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

    Enjoyed this enough that I could very well give it four stars without feeling bad, but my bell curve is all fucked so sacrifices need to be made. The initial story of Sword Art Online (the fictional game) ended in the first volume of Sword Art Online (the real novel series). Not knowing how to proceed, the author goes back in time with four short stories set in the middle of Kirito's quest to clear the game. If I sound accusatory, it's in jest; the author apologizes in the afterword for these int Enjoyed this enough that I could very well give it four stars without feeling bad, but my bell curve is all fucked so sacrifices need to be made. The initial story of Sword Art Online (the fictional game) ended in the first volume of Sword Art Online (the real novel series). Not knowing how to proceed, the author goes back in time with four short stories set in the middle of Kirito's quest to clear the game. If I sound accusatory, it's in jest; the author apologizes in the afterword for these interquel stories, rather than making a new tale. Nothing in these stories really has too much narrative "weight" because we already know SAO was "won" in the previous volume, and the only thing that tries to hit hard involves a story we've already been told in the same volume (the tale of Sachi and the Moonlit Black Cats). It's not a Bad Thing that these stories aren't exactly about life-or-death battles, and indeed the Point seems to be showing the reader a bit more levity as concerns the mid-tier game-players, after the first novel focused primarily on Kirito shitting on everything with his high power-level and skills. Kirito himself is largely more a plot device than an actual character here. The first story is in third-person limited to Silica's perspective, the second is first-person from newcomer Lisbeth and her adventure with Kirito, the third is third-person limited to Asuna, and only the final story is told from Kirito's first-person view. In the first two stories, Kirito exists as a powerful force to help Silica or Lisbeth slay whatever monsters so the narrative may get the action out of the way and allow more breathing room for the slices of each girl's respective life. Asuna isn't as powerful as Kirito herself, but she's definitely stronger than Silica and Lisbeth, so her role as protagonist for the third story is a different take on pushing Kirito out of the limelight so we may focus on something else (in this case, Kirito and Asuna's surrogate daughter who was never mentioned during their quiet honeymoon in the middle of the first book). Following the motif of diving into the lives of the women Kirito encountered while playing SAO, the fourth story is all about how Kirito's guilt for letting Sachi die, a topic brought up in the first novel but which barely had time for reflection as that volume moved so fast (the circumstances of Sachi's death are kinda fastforwarded here, but the story is more about Kirito's feelings around this event anyway). By this point, I can still say I'm enough of a fan of SAO to continue reading, though I do know there are a shitload of volumes ahead of me so I may as well watch the anime instead and call it a day, as I don't need to clutter my room up any more with additional books. I can understand why people might shit on SAO for some things the series does, but at least so far it doesn't seem any worse than any other light novel. They're basically all trash designed for a quick read, easy to boost one's Goodreads Reading Challenge (lol).

  11. 4 out of 5

    Andreas

    I really liked volume 2 because it goes in-depth for a bit. Volume 1 focused on the clearers, the best of the best: Kirito and Asuna. This book told us four stories about mid-level players, players who weren't out fighting at the front line. The first story, The Black Swordsman, is about Silica and Pina. Because of her reaction to a member of her guild, she ends up being attacked by monsters. Her bird, Pina, is killed. Kirito comes across her and he has heard of a way to resurrect Pina, so they'r I really liked volume 2 because it goes in-depth for a bit. Volume 1 focused on the clearers, the best of the best: Kirito and Asuna. This book told us four stories about mid-level players, players who weren't out fighting at the front line. The first story, The Black Swordsman, is about Silica and Pina. Because of her reaction to a member of her guild, she ends up being attacked by monsters. Her bird, Pina, is killed. Kirito comes across her and he has heard of a way to resurrect Pina, so they're going to find the place where they can bring Pina back to life. I liked this story, because it shows one's loneliness in this virtual world, but also the determination players have. Silica was determined to bring back Pina. The second story is Warmth of the Heart. It's about Lisbeth, a blacksmith. Asuna is a customer of hers and Lisbeth knows about Asuna's romantic feelings for Kirito. One day, Kirito goes to Lisbeth and asks for the best sword she can make. They go to a dragon to obtain special materials, and during this adventure Lisbeth develops feelings for Kirito. She knows Asuna likes him though so she never tells him... I found the development of Lisbeth very interesting, but I had mixed feelings about the situation. She's so likeable, and you really start feeling sorry for her. Morning Dew Girl is the third story and probably the one I like the least. Asuna and Kirito find a child in the woods, Yui. She's very strange and they decide to bring her to their home. Wanting to find her parents, they end up in a church in which a woman helps children who are alone in Aincrad. At that time, the Army, an organization that was supposed to bring peace, is (forcefully) demanding taxing from people. Kirito helps the children but that gets him into another quest the next day, after which they discover who Yui truly is. It's interesting to see how Asuna and Kirito handle such a situation, and especially what kind of different jobs players do that don't involve fighting. The final story is The Red-nosed Reindeer. It's clear that Kirito is a solo player, but you discover soon enough that he was in a guild before. All the members died in a fight unfortunately, and Kirito blames himself for it. This story tells about Kirito, wanting to save Sachi, a very sweet girl who he promised to protect. There are a few short bits in which Kirito thinks back about her. In those little flashbacks, you start to like her so much. She's a poor girl and you just hope Kirito's quest is going to work out. I did hope to learn a lot more about Sachi and the guild though, so that's a bit of a missed opportunity. It was a nice story overall, but since Kirito is so upset about the whole situation, I'd have loved to learn a little bit more about it. I really liked the stories and I enjoyed reading it!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Giordano

    "Moving on to Volume 2. I wasn't really sure what to expect in this volume, especially since Volume 1 brought the Aincrad arc to a sufficient close. What Volume 2 actually amounts to is 4 vignettes covering girls that were background characters in the story. Again, since I haven't watched all of the anime, I don't know yet how prominently these girls figure in the show (although Sachi's story, "Red Nosed Reindeer", was the third episode of the show). The Black Swordsman (49pgs): This story tells "Moving on to Volume 2. I wasn't really sure what to expect in this volume, especially since Volume 1 brought the Aincrad arc to a sufficient close. What Volume 2 actually amounts to is 4 vignettes covering girls that were background characters in the story. Again, since I haven't watched all of the anime, I don't know yet how prominently these girls figure in the show (although Sachi's story, "Red Nosed Reindeer", was the third episode of the show). The Black Swordsman (49pgs): This story tells how Kirito and Silica the Beast-Tamer first met. This story, to be honest, really isn't that good. Although it is written in the same fun, honest manner, it is just made up of so many "it just so happens" coincidences that it beats your suspension of disbelief over the head. Beast-tamer isn't an official class, but Silica just happens to be one. Monsters don't form emotional bonds with their tamers, but her dragon Pina just so happens to. When it dies; sacrificing itself for her, Silica just so happens to meet Kirito, who just so happens to know about a place to revive it, but it must be done within a time limit set to necessitate urgency, yet allow for some narrative growth. Well, actually, there was some planning afoot in all the meetings; but still, it comes off as a bit corny. There is conflict, although by this point in the story Kirito is so "OP" that there is no sense of tension, or risk, involved. The bonding aspect of the story is fun enough. The problem is that, well, Silica is just kind of annoying. She seems nice and honest enough, but teeters off into being impetuous too easily. Of course, she develops a raging crush on Kirito. I mean, this is all fairly rote and tropey; and usually, the SAO stuff is tropes done right. In this case, not so much so. Still a fun enough story. Warmth of the Heart (60pgs): The second story tells of how Kirito and Lisbeth the Blacksmith became friends. Lisbeth is a teen blacksmith, of unparalleled skill, who is also hardworking, shrewd, and playful in a teasing manner. She is also Asuna's best friend. However, one day, a mysterious swordsman in black walks into her shop, requesting a one of a kind sword. In the process of testing her wares, Kirito breaks her best custom sword. The two make a pact to search for a mysterious metal, to see if Lisbeth can fashion a unique sword from that. The rest of the story details their growing friendship. There is a time in the story, when the two of them are trapped for a bit, which is very effective for portraying the need for basic human interaction - and feeling - that so many trapped in the game are forced to do without. For all the falseness of the first story, there is a real touching honesty and depth of emotion in this tale. Maybe it's just that I like Lisbeth a lot more as a character than Silica; who knows? Either way, I think that this story is just better written, overall. The Girl in the Morning Dew (66pgs): This installment tells the story of Yui, a mysterious young girl found in the woods by Asuna and Kirito during their honeymoon. Exploring the woods after hearing rumors of a 'ghost girl' seen lurking therein, they come upon a lost waif, whom they take in and assume a parental role over. This girl looks to be about 8, yet has regressed in speech to a toddler level (they know she can't be that young because NerveGear has strict controls that prohibit anyone under 13 from logging in, which totally explains how Silica was able to do it at 12). This girl is obviously not a 'ghost', or an NPC. However, she doesn't have stats either - so they can't peg if she's a player or not. So, they decide to head to the Town of Beginnings to see if they can locate her guardian. There are no answers to be found in the Town of Beginnings, but there is a dilemma - the once respectable Army Guild has devolved into something akin to an extortionist mafia. After befriending a young woman running an impromptu 'orphanage' (again, how young are these kids if they aren't supposed to be under 13?), our intrepid couple sets to right things again. For the bulk of the story, Yui takes a backseat - mumbling the occasional baby-talk. It isn't until the very end - where the situation allows for convenient exposition - that we get to find out what is going on. At that point, the book really tries to shoehorn in an emotional climax. It's a bit forced, to say the least. This isn't the worst story in the book, but it isn't great. It's fun enough to see the young newlyweds playing at parenthood, and the new characters are decent. That's really all I can say here. Red-Nosed Reindeer (41pgs): Reki Kawahara truly saves his best for last here. Readers of the first book will remember that perennial lone wolf Kirito did spend some time with one guild, the Moonlit Black Cats. His subsequent lies to them, in withholding the extent of his power, and their resultant death, hang heavily around his neck like an albatross. However, the heaviest cross he bears is in regards to Sachi, a timid young girl who was a member of the MBC. Poor Sachi, whom he promised would not die - whom he promised he would keep alive. So, yes, Red-Nosed Reindeer tells the story of that doomed guild. It is told in partial flashback format, with the current events centering on Kirito preparing for a special boss quest. The rumor mills have it that when the clock strikes midnight on Christmas Eve, a boss named Nicholas the Renegade will make an appearance, with a bag full of goodies for anyone that can beat him. Best yet, the rumors have it that there might be a resurrection item involved - allowing Kirito to save Sachi, or die the ignoble death he believes he deserves in the process. Okay, the melodrama is ramped up over 9000 in this story. But, it's all ok, because this is by far the best story in the book. I pondered on that for a bit, and then it hit me - this is the only story told in first-person POV, from Kirito's viewpoint (Warmth of the Heart is the only other first-person POV, but for Lisbeth). Kirito is by and far the heart and soul of this series, and Kawahara is writing on a higher level when he gets inside his head. This story, by far, carries the most gravitas; anger, despondency, and sorrow. Supporting characterization isn't very strong here; we have an overly emotional appearance by Kirito's friend Klein. Sachi, in the book and in the anime as well, is a pure avatar of the shy, quiet girl that the hero is compelled to want to "care for". Somewhere, in every man's fragile ego, is the need for validation via a proxy such as this. She was made for this role. The rest of the MBC is barely realized. We don't even get their names, save for Keita (the leader) and Tetsuo (the mace-user). Just reading the book, you might not have any idea what they even look like." you can read my full review here: http://hachisnaxreads.blogspot.com/20...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Leonard Anthony

    Volume 2 of Sword Art Online is set before the end of Volume 1 (which had Kirito clearing the game). This volume featured four short stories, each one pairing Kirito with a different girl he met during his two years in SAO. The first story, The Black Swordsman (Aincrad 35th floor, February 2024), features the beast tamer Scilica, and how Kirito helped her restore life to her dragon pet, as well as hunting down some player-killers. The second story, Warmth of the Heart (Aincrad 48th floor, June 20 Volume 2 of Sword Art Online is set before the end of Volume 1 (which had Kirito clearing the game). This volume featured four short stories, each one pairing Kirito with a different girl he met during his two years in SAO. The first story, The Black Swordsman (Aincrad 35th floor, February 2024), features the beast tamer Scilica, and how Kirito helped her restore life to her dragon pet, as well as hunting down some player-killers. The second story, Warmth of the Heart (Aincrad 48th floor, June 2024), features the blacksmith Lizbeth who forged Kirito's white blade, Dark Repulser. The third story, Morning Dew Girl (Aincrad 22nd floor, October 2024), features Yui, a strange "girl" who becomes Kirito and Asuna's "offspring" in SAO. Finally, the last story, Red-nosed Reindeer (Aincrad 46th floor, December 2023), expounds on Kirito's first ill-fated guild, The Black Cats of the Full Moon, and his quest for redemption after the TPK of the said guild. The stories are top-notch, so if you liked Volume 1, this volume is a must-read. A couple of the stories, particularly the ending of Warmth of the Heart as well as the Rudolph song sequence in Red-nosed Reindeer, are definite tear-jerkers, underlining just how much sadness there can be in this life and death VMMORPG.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Becca

    I LOVED this! I really enjoyed getting more detailed looks at how Kirito met and first interacted with each of the four female characters showcased in this light novel. I liked how they each had their own short story. I found it a lot easier getting through the book, having the story being split up into smaller, separate sections. I enjoyed this one more than the previous and I think that's because it wasn't quite as familiar to me as the whole, main arc of the Aincrad plotline. I also realized h I LOVED this! I really enjoyed getting more detailed looks at how Kirito met and first interacted with each of the four female characters showcased in this light novel. I liked how they each had their own short story. I found it a lot easier getting through the book, having the story being split up into smaller, separate sections. I enjoyed this one more than the previous and I think that's because it wasn't quite as familiar to me as the whole, main arc of the Aincrad plotline. I also realized how much I enjoy Reki's writing (or rather the translation of his writing). It's fairly simplistic, but there's something about it that gives it a real depth and warmth. His characters feel rather familiar and relatable because of it, and it's easy to get lost in the world and the minds of his characters. It's just really comforting. I'll definitely be continuing to buy and read Reki's other light novels, as they are released in English, here in Canada. :)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Shayan Kh

    It was a good addition to the main story. If you didn't know, it is a flashback. 4 stories that Kirito is involved in. And it is not az good az the first one. In the first book, Asuna is amazing. One of the rare occasions in which the heroin is as important as the hero. And given the fact that the hero is the protagonist, it is quite the achievement. Sure Kirito was stronger than Asuna, but they protected each other the whole time. But in this book, we are introduced to 4 female characters, and It was a good addition to the main story. If you didn't know, it is a flashback. 4 stories that Kirito is involved in. And it is not az good az the first one. In the first book, Asuna is amazing. One of the rare occasions in which the heroin is as important as the hero. And given the fact that the hero is the protagonist, it is quite the achievement. Sure Kirito was stronger than Asuna, but they protected each other the whole time. But in this book, we are introduced to 4 female characters, and they all like Kirito. I know he is a likable character, he is smart, strong, kind and he doesn't mind sacrificing his life in order to protect others, but come on! Well maybe I'm biased because I know the rest of the story, but the first one was better IMO.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mathil Pooracho

    You know what? I love this world and I have the biggest crush on Kirito, and unlike many people, I ship him with Lisbeth, not Asuna. But this book was not half as good as the other one. I red the first one last summer and I red through it super fast, but this one I had to push myself through it, I forced myself to finish it and FAILED. I didnt read the last story... No. I love the world of Aincrad, but I wish he would write how Kirito and Asuna would try and find eachother in real life. Please.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    Two stories I loved, they were absolutely cute and adorable. One was ok, and one nearly broke my heart. It was nice to know the stories of other players around SAO and what happened to them. Although I like Kirito more in the first book, once he grew out of just levelling up for the sake of his ego.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    The one in which everyone is in love with Kirito. What the hell, author? Not every female character in existence needs to be in love with your hero. (Yes, yes I know that one technically isn't in love with him, but they regularly share a bed. Close enough.) The one in which everyone is in love with Kirito. What the hell, author? Not every female character in existence needs to be in love with your hero. (Yes, yes I know that one technically isn't in love with him, but they regularly share a bed. Close enough.)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    Short stories, set before and during the events of Book 1. Kirito hangs out with the newbies. Creative, but after a while it gets a tiny bit weird how Kirito is hanging out with a different (female) newbie in each story.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Luchies

    I liked two of the four stories, which wasn't bad really. I could do with less 'all the girls fall for Kirito' and more 'action adventure' but it wasn't bad. Moderately recomended. I liked two of the four stories, which wasn't bad really. I could do with less 'all the girls fall for Kirito' and more 'action adventure' but it wasn't bad. Moderately recomended.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sir Sorrow

    Great stories give so many more details than the anime must read for any fan

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jacob

    3.5 stars rounded down I was assuming that v.2 would pick back up where v.1 left off--you know, following typical series numbering and whatnot where things march forward chronologically--but instead author Reki Kawahara rewinds the clock. Volume 1 steamrolls through the first half of the first season of Sword Art Online. I'd assumed--per my review for v.1--that all the little side stories the series addresses were added for the series. That's wrong. This second volume addresses at least some of t 3.5 stars rounded down I was assuming that v.2 would pick back up where v.1 left off--you know, following typical series numbering and whatnot where things march forward chronologically--but instead author Reki Kawahara rewinds the clock. Volume 1 steamrolls through the first half of the first season of Sword Art Online. I'd assumed--per my review for v.1--that all the little side stories the series addresses were added for the series. That's wrong. This second volume addresses at least some of those stories in an easy-to-digest collection. There are four stories here, featuring some of the biggest non-main story plots I remember from the anime. 1. The story of a girl whose familiar dies in battle, nearly killing herself in the process until Kirito happens upon her and informs her of a special item that will revive familiars. 2. The blacksmith who demands to join Kirito on a quest to get some rare, valuable ore. 3. The story of Asuma and Kirito finding a lost girl in the woods, and their quest to find her guardian or friends. 4. A more detailed telling of the guild Kirito joins, and the mistakes he makes that he cannot forget--and the quest he pursues to try and to right some of his wrongs. Within a collection like this, I ask myself one key question: Why were these not included in the main story? The author's afterward gives a bit of insight: These are stories focused on characters who aren't on the front lines trying to clear the game. That's not entirely incorrect; you can easily argue that for three of the four stories and, with a bit of a stretch, even that fourth story. But it's not as tidy of an answer as I'd like. The cynic in me would like to say that the linking factor is "how easy it is to fall in love with Kirito," something that definitely describes the first two stories, although you'd have to stretch the definition of "love" out of the realm of romance for the final two stories. (Which, for the record, I do--although it's harder to be cynical about the more fatherly/brotherly/friend-types of love we see in the collection's second half.) The editor in me (not that I'm a real editor) sees how the first three stories are written from perspectives other than Kirito (who is the perspective character of the first volume), so they wouldn't have fit nicely in with the main storyline, so would have been tonally askew and threatened to make the first volume feel more scattered than it is. But that explanation still can't account for the fourth story, which is from Kirito's point of view. Maybe it boils down to the most boring answer: These were simply written after v.1. It's this inability to see v.2's focus that hinders it. On their own, each story has its place. Strong highs, interesting stories. The first two feel pretty side-questy, ie, there's no real link to Kirito's development as a character nor the way the plot ends up. The last two, however, both feature stories that have a huge impact on Kirito and Asuma: one introduces a character that will play into the next major story arc (at least, assuming the light novels continued to be a direct backbone for the anime), the other dives deep into what Kirito would likely peg as his most painful experience in SAO. Given that story is referenced multiple times during the first volume (and is even told--albeit in a quicker, less detailed way) it would have made a lot of sense to be included with the first volume. Unless these stories were literally written after the first volume was published, in which case it is what it is. Regardless, v.2 succeeds at being an easily consumable bit of SAO fiction. Being set at various points prior to the end of v.1 reduces the urgency of the stories, so between that and the lack of focus, we get to its lower rating.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Callum Forsyth

    An informative addition to the Aincrad arc, but Kawahara's fixation on the harem ideology rather detracts from what could've been a really great story. I am more than familiar with the Sword Art Online series. I've watched the anime up until the end of the Mother's Rosario arc, and I am certainly aware of the flaws of the anime itself. Having begun on my quest of evaluating the light novels, I must say that with the second volume of Aincrad I find myself a little frustrated. With such a critical An informative addition to the Aincrad arc, but Kawahara's fixation on the harem ideology rather detracts from what could've been a really great story. I am more than familiar with the Sword Art Online series. I've watched the anime up until the end of the Mother's Rosario arc, and I am certainly aware of the flaws of the anime itself. Having begun on my quest of evaluating the light novels, I must say that with the second volume of Aincrad I find myself a little frustrated. With such a critical mind that is aware of the video game scene and its development stages, I'm already more than aware of the fact that if the eponymous game actually existed, it would be an unequivocal failure. Having said that, I'm suspending my disbelief to points. This volume covers the stories of Kirito's encounters with Silica, Lisbeth, Yui and Sachi. These are (mostly) important scenes within Aincrad's life (that the audience is more familiar with through the anime.) The scenes are well described, some of the gameplay features of SAO are interesting to learn about and there are pieces of clarification for some of the more... trying points of the anime. However, having said all of this, what constantly bugs me about this volume is how every girl Kirito comes into contact with automatically falls in love with him. Say what you will about the kinds of love that they feel for this one stupidly overpowered teenage boy, but it all comes down to an unending loop of fixation that quickly becomes tedious. This volume also contains what I personally believe to be the biggest plot hole I've ever encountered and a scene that, to this day, makes me livid because of how ridiculous its concept is. For those of you who are familiar with the anime, or the Aincrad arc in general, you will know EXACTLY which scene I am talking about. For those who aren't, it takes place in the third section of the book. Don't get me wrong: I like Sword Art Online. I like its concept. I like what it COULD be. What I don't like is this constant stream of girls (some of whom are teetering VERY narrowly on the edge of jail bait) that are being ham-fisted into the story that only add to the ego of a massively over-powered character. By all means, read this volume if you want some extra sprinkling of Aincrad, but if you're looking for some genuinely interesting, NEW stuff, I'd highly recommend the Progressive series instead.

  24. 5 out of 5

    emily_oriley

    Okay so first of all, these are just side-stories that add depth to the world and characters, but don’t really affect the main story. Which makes sense when you realize the first Volume was originally written as a one-shot and, honestly, that does show. Though these are good stories, when we focus on the main characters, they do feel a bit shoehorned in. All that aside, both of these books were done well and their flaws mainly come from, again, not being planned out originally. This makes me thi Okay so first of all, these are just side-stories that add depth to the world and characters, but don’t really affect the main story. Which makes sense when you realize the first Volume was originally written as a one-shot and, honestly, that does show. Though these are good stories, when we focus on the main characters, they do feel a bit shoehorned in. All that aside, both of these books were done well and their flaws mainly come from, again, not being planned out originally. This makes me think the following storylines are going to be done very well. Now when comparing to the anime: what they did was take all the stories that happen in Aincraid and put them all together in part one of season one. I like that they did but I can also see why that might be seen as “filler” to most. You do take a few turns from the main story (clearing the game) to hang out with these random characters. Bottom line, if you like the characters, you’ll enjoy going on all their journeys. If you just want to see the conclusion and whether everyone gets out of the game, you probably will get bored by the side stories pretty quick. Personally, I throughly enjoyed the anime (not the first movie since it’s basically a recap with gratuitous swimsuits) and am looking forward to season 3 when it comes out. I’m also enjoying the books and plan to continue on with my wayward son. Oh and my characterization issues? Apparently there’re two more books I gotta read so we’ll see if I just get all of the Aincrad saga outta the way or if I’ll continue on to Fairy Dance (which I’mma be honest-not my favorite story arch)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tuna

    Side story volumes can be hit or miss, hit in that it provides insight into the characters, miss in that it interrupts the action. Unfortunately, this one is a mix of both, while it does provide insights into Kirito and Asuna and their role in Aincrad, it does little to provide us with anything in the way of whats next. This aspect of knowing whats next is especially important considering a reader would want to know if Kirito is going to meet with any of these characters (well except for two) in Side story volumes can be hit or miss, hit in that it provides insight into the characters, miss in that it interrupts the action. Unfortunately, this one is a mix of both, while it does provide insights into Kirito and Asuna and their role in Aincrad, it does little to provide us with anything in the way of whats next. This aspect of knowing whats next is especially important considering a reader would want to know if Kirito is going to meet with any of these characters (well except for two) in the real world. I think this was one flaw of the volume 1 ending, in that, while it could end there we had little to nothing on if Kirito and Asuna would find each other and how they would do it. Beyond that, it is a great volume with each story providing nice little details and stories in Aincrad. The volume kind of made me wish we had a chronologically incremental level by level telling of the story instead of a story that jump from 25 floors or more at a time. Ultimately, the anime fixes much of this by intertwining volume 1 and 2 into a 14 or so episode thing to fit more in line with what I want, but, it still jumps around. In any case, best stories here were the emotional ones with characters trying to find that companionship and warmth of another person in a world where they’re either lone wolfs, afraid to fight for their lives, or craving that human touch. Really good story.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Douglas Cootey

    This book was a collection of side stories. These were moments that occurred off page in the previous book. These stories were solid in their world building. They explored what life would be like in a VRMMORPG where life is on the line and the game is not actually a game. Kirito was allowed to be OP in all his glory, yet still vulnerable. The only problem I had was that each story featured a girl, and each girl was head over heels in love with Kirito. It was so bad that the author even apologize This book was a collection of side stories. These were moments that occurred off page in the previous book. These stories were solid in their world building. They explored what life would be like in a VRMMORPG where life is on the line and the game is not actually a game. Kirito was allowed to be OP in all his glory, yet still vulnerable. The only problem I had was that each story featured a girl, and each girl was head over heels in love with Kirito. It was so bad that the author even apologized in his afterward. However, I didn’t detract from these excellent stories. I often don’t enjoy side stories because I’m more of a point A to point B with the story type of person, but I truly enjoyed this book. I’ve read the Baka-Tsuki fan translation. I plan on buying the big collection and rereading the Yen version at the beginning of 2021.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    4 short stories of Kirito’s escapades. Two light and heroic. Two more bittersweet and endearing. Overall 4 ⭐️ Silicas story: 3 1/2 out of 5 ⭐️ Silica is a cute girl, with a very cute dragon. Though, this lost a point for Rosalia being a generic villainess. Though I can’t say she wasn’t a good villainess, just a generic one. Lost another 1/2 point for the lolicons that want her in their party. Lizbeths story: 5 outta 5 ⭐️ Very fast paced and fun. I can feel real chemistry between the two, even if Kir 4 short stories of Kirito’s escapades. Two light and heroic. Two more bittersweet and endearing. Overall 4 ⭐️ Silicas story: 3 1/2 out of 5 ⭐️ Silica is a cute girl, with a very cute dragon. Though, this lost a point for Rosalia being a generic villainess. Though I can’t say she wasn’t a good villainess, just a generic one. Lost another 1/2 point for the lolicons that want her in their party. Lizbeths story: 5 outta 5 ⭐️ Very fast paced and fun. I can feel real chemistry between the two, even if Kirito likes only Asuna. Yui/Asuna’s story: 4 out of 5 ⭐️ Very bittersweet. And I feel like it started out as more of a ghost story. Yui is adorable. Mama Asuna! Papa Kirito! Christmas special: 4 out of 5 ⭐️ My heart hurt for Kirito with how hard he was working to bring Sachi back from the dead. I wanted to see him succeed as well.

  28. 4 out of 5

    David

    With how the first story ended I was a little disappointed that this story took a step back. Instead of moving forward with the plot it tells side stories during the events of the first story. This is an excellent companion to the first story. I almost wish these stories were included within book one. They would have definitely added more character development and fleshed out the cast. Book two is made up of four short stories that take place during the events of book one. The second story was my With how the first story ended I was a little disappointed that this story took a step back. Instead of moving forward with the plot it tells side stories during the events of the first story. This is an excellent companion to the first story. I almost wish these stories were included within book one. They would have definitely added more character development and fleshed out the cast. Book two is made up of four short stories that take place during the events of book one. The second story was my absolute favorite and made me fall in love with the main character that was featured. Massive props to Reki Kawahara and the translator of these stories. There is a phenomenal cast and a great story here. I'm still loving this series and have no intention of stopping!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Daulat Rachmanto

    I really love the story of this volume. At first, i thought the story will be boring cuz it's not the main story, i mean, it's a spin-off story of Aincrad Arc. But i was sooo wrong. I really like the story, especially about Lisbeth. (and of course, Sachi too), the other is good too (Silica and Yui). But the more important thing is, it's not really that spin-off of Aincrad Arc, cuz it also explain about Dark Repulser and many other thing. And what i really like is how the story going for Lisbeth a I really love the story of this volume. At first, i thought the story will be boring cuz it's not the main story, i mean, it's a spin-off story of Aincrad Arc. But i was sooo wrong. I really like the story, especially about Lisbeth. (and of course, Sachi too), the other is good too (Silica and Yui). But the more important thing is, it's not really that spin-off of Aincrad Arc, cuz it also explain about Dark Repulser and many other thing. And what i really like is how the story going for Lisbeth and Sachi, it's a little bit different from the Anime, not that much actually, but it really worth it to read. Trust me.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Heather Wright

    Having watched the anime before reading the books, I missed some of the side stories that appear there but not in volume one. This book contains all the major ones I missed so much, and it was so lovely to enjoy them again. Each one does an amazing job developing the new or side characters that feature in that particular story and it adds a lot of depth to Kirito overall. If you enjoyed the anime, I highly recommend this. If you enjoyed volume 1, I highly recommend reading this too.

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