Read or Die

Review of Reki Kawahara’s SWORD ART ONLINE: UNITAL RING VI

Sword Art Online 27 by Reki Kawahara

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don’t stick with many authors through twenty-seven books (more than that, actually, when you include the Progressive story arc). That’s an impressive number outside of a comic/manga format. Especially with the same (more or less) cast of characters. And you’re going to encounter highs and lows through the natural progression of the tale.

Unfortunately, this volume is another lull in the action.

I understand the necessity of “regrouping” after the battles of the previous volume, but the excessive downtime made for an uninteresting read. It turned into a volume of unnecessary exposition. Nothing revolutionary emerged regarding the characters (unless a reader happened to start with this book). Even the “surprises” felt lackluster due to the surrounding drudgery. Kawahara-san would have done himself a favor by compressing the lengthy discussions and focusing more on the action that moved the plot forward. SAO’s saving grace has always been the conflicts – small and large.

Naturally, the volume left off with a cliffhanger (it’s a trademark of the series), promising to lead into the next chapter, which SHOULD contain an upswing back into action and intrigue. I can hope, at the very least.

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