Set in the year 2022, Sword Art Online is a unique game which has been released and the protagonist of the book Kirito is one of the few thousand people who are amongst the first to log in when the game goes live. To enter the game, players wear a NerveGear, a piece of technology which fully immerses the wearer in the game. Everything is amazing until players find that the game is missing a log-out button. Confusion turns to horror as an announcement is made that for players to leave the game unscathed, they have to pass all 100 floors of the structure known as Aincrad. Until the game is beaten, removing the NerveGear is impossible without harming its wearer.
The premise and plot of Sword Art Online 1: Aincrad was nothing short of epic! We follow Kirito, a solo player, and his experience through the game. It was fun recognising the aspects of MMORPGs mentioned in the book. Despite the overhanging knowledge that in-game death meant real-life death, it wasn't all depressing in the book. There were some funny moments such as the Kirito's decision of cooking a rare meat or selling it on the market for a hefty amount of kol/coin.
The only thing I didn't like was the way Kirito's relationships with the other characters were written. Rather than reading about how he met each character, it was a given that Kirito knew these people some time before. I would have preferred it if I read about the very first encounters. Having said that, the book was fast paced and I guess that was one way to show how much time had passed since Kirito entered the game.
Overall, I really enjoyed Sword Art Online 1: Aincrad. It was pretty awesome!