Sword Art Online Light Novels in Order

Sword Art Online Light Novels in Order

While some of you might not know that, Sword Art Online actually debuted in 2002 as a light novel series. A light novel is a style of Japanese young adult novel primarily targeting high school and middle school students. Light novels are commonly illustrated in a manga art style, and are often adapted into manga and anime.

In this article, we are going to be dealing with the Sword Art Online light novel series itself. Reki Kawahara started publishing these novels in 2002, but it wasn’t until 2009 that he found a publisher and started publishing his work in a more proper format. The publication is ongoing as of November 2021.

How Many Volumes of Sword Art Online Are There?

If we exclude the collected editions and all of the side stories but include everything else, there is a total of five volumes of Sword Art Online. Three of these volumes are still being published, as you will see in the section below, while two have been completed since 2018 and 2019, respectively.

The Sword Art Online Material Edition collection was released in two volumes, in 2011 and 2019 respectively, while the numerous side stories have been released since 2011, with the most recent one releasing in 2020.

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What Is the Reading Order of the Sword Art Online Light Novels?

The reading order for the Sword Art Online light novels is not overly complicated. Although you can approach the material as you wish, it is advised to simply follow the publication order of the volumes and read them as they came out.

This means that you should start with Sword Art Online, continue with Sword Art Online: Progressive, then Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online, and finally Sword Art Online Alternative: Clover’s Regent.

SAO Vol 9 138

As for Sword Art Online Material Edition, that is a rather specific set of individual stories, some of which have also been republished in some of the above-mentioned volumes. You can read them in any order and whenever you like.

The next section is going to contain a more detailed guide on the four relevant series, providing more information about their content and publication.

Sword Art Online Light Novels in Order (Explained)

Sword Art Online (2009 – present)

This whole series, sans volumes 25 and 26, has been translated and released in English.

No.TitleOriginal release dateChapters
1Sword Art Online 1: AincradApril 10, 2009Prologue
Chapters 1-25
2Sword Art Online 2: AincradAugust 10, 2009Prologue
“The Black Swordsman” (黒の剣士, Kuro No Kenshi)
“Warmth of the Heart” (心の温度, Kokoro No Ondo)
“The Girl in the Morning Dew” (朝露の少女, Asatsuyu No Shoujo)
“Red-Nosed Reindeer” (赤鼻のトナカイ, Akahana No Tonakai)
3Sword Art Online 3: Fairy DanceDecember 10, 2009Prologue
Chapters 1-3
4Sword Art Online 4: Fairy DanceApril 10, 2010Prologue
Chapters 5-9
5Sword Art Online 5: Phantom BulletAugust 10, 2010Prologue
Chapters 1-7
6Sword Art Online 6: Phantom BulletDecember 10, 2010Chapters 7-16
7Sword Art Online 7: Mother’s RosaryApril 8, 2011Prologue
Chapters 1-12
8Sword Art Online 8: Early and LateAugust 10, 2011“A Crime Within the Walls” (圏内事件, Kennai Jiken)
“Calibur” (キャリバー, Kyariba)
“The First Day” (はじまりの日, Hajimari No Hi)
9Sword Art Online 9: Alicization BeginningFebruary 10, 2012“Prologue I” (プロローグ I, Purorōgu I)
“Prologue II” (プロローグ II, Purorōgu II)
“Interlude I” (転章I, Ten Shyou I)
Chapter 1. “Underworld” (アンダーワールド, Andawarudo)
10Sword Art Online 10: Alicization RunningJuly 10, 2012Chapter 2. “Project Alicization” (アリシゼーション計画, Arishizeshon Keikaku)
Chapter 3. “Zakkaria Sword Arts Tournament” (ザッカリア剣術大会, Zakkaria Kenjutsu Taikai)
Chapter 4. “Sword Mastery Academy” (帝立修剣学院, Teiritsu Syuuken Gakuin)
“Interlude II” (転章II, Ten Shyou II)
11Sword Art Online 11: Alicization TurningDecember 10, 2012Chapter 5. “Seal of the Right Eye” (右眼の封印, Migime No Huuin)
“Interlude III” (転章III, Ten Shyou III)
Chapter 6. “The Prisoners and Knight” (囚人と騎士, Meshiudo To Kishi)
12Sword Art Online 12: Alicization RisingApril 10, 2013Chapter 7. “The Two Supervisors” (二人の管理者, Futari No Kanrisha)
Chapter 8. “Central Cathedral” (セントラル・カセドラル, Sentoraru Kasedoraru)
13Sword Art Online 13: Alicization DividingAugust 10, 2013“Interlude IV” (転章IV, Ten Shyou IV)
Chapter 9. “Integrity Knight Alice” (整合騎士アリス, Seigou Kishi Arisu)
Chapter 10. “Integrity Knight Commander Bercouli” (整合騎士長ベルクーリ, Seigou Kishicho Berukuri)
Chapter 11. “The Secret of the Chamber of Elders” (元老院の秘密, Genrouin No Himitsu)
14Sword Art Online 14: Alicization UnitingApril 10, 2014Chapter 12. “Highest Minister Administrator” (最高司祭アドミニストレータ, Saikou Shisai Adominisutorēta)
Chapter 13. “The Decisive Battle” (決戦, Kessen)
15Sword Art Online 15: Alicization InvadingAugust 9, 2014Chapter 14. “Subtilizer” (魂を盗む者(サトライザー)Satoraizā)
Chapter 15. “In the Northern Territory” (北の地にて, Kita No Chi Nite)
Chapter 16. “Attack on Ocean Turtle” (オーシャン・タートル襲撃, Ōshan Tātoru Shūgeki)
Chapter 17. “Dark Territory” (ダークテリトリー, Dāku Teritorī)
16Sword Art Online 16: Alicization ExplodingAugust 8, 2015Chapter 18. “War of the Underworld” (アンダーワールド大戦, Andāwārudo Taisen)
Chapter 19. “The Radiant Medium” (光の巫女, Hikari No Miko)
17Sword Art Online 17: Alicization AwakeningApril 10, 2016Chapter 20. “Each Own Battle” (それぞれの戦い, Sore Zore no Tatakai)
Chapter 21. “Awakening” (覚醒, Kakusei)
18Sword Art Online 18: Alicization LastingAugust 10, 2016Chapter 21. “Awakening (Cont.)” (覚醒(承前), Kakusei (Shouzen))
Chapter 22. “The Decisive Battle” (決戦, Kessen)
Chapter 23. “Return” (帰還, Kikan)”Epilogue” (エピローグ, Epirōgu)
“Prologue III” (プロローグ III, Purorōgu III)
19Sword Art Online 19: Moon CradleFebruary 10, 2017Chapters 1-10
20Sword Art Online 20: Moon CradleSeptember 8, 2017Chapters 1-10
21Sword Art Online 21: Unital Ring IDecember 7, 2018Prologue
Chapters 1-9
22Sword Art Online 22: Kiss and FlyOctober 10, 2019“The Day Before” (ザ・デイ・ビフォア, Za Dei Bifoa)
“The Day After” (ザ・デイ・アフター, Za Dei Afutā)
“Rainbow Bridge” (虹の橋, Niji no Hashi)
“Sisters’ Prayer”
23Sword Art Online 23: Unital Ring IIDecember 10, 2019Chapters 1-10
24Sword Art Online 24: Unital Ring IIIMay 9, 2020Chapters 1-10
25Sword Art Online 25: Unital Ring IVDecember 10, 2020Chapters 1-11
26Sword Art Online 26: Unital Ring VOctober 8, 2021Chapters 1-23

Sword Art Online: Progressive (2012 – present)

This whole series, sans volume 8, has been translated and released in English.

No.TitleOriginal release date
1Sword Art Online: Progressive 1October 10, 2012
2Sword Art Online: Progressive 2December 10, 2013
3Sword Art Online: Progressive 3December 10, 2014
4Sword Art Online: Progressive 4December 10, 2015
5Sword Art Online: Progressive 5February 10, 2018
6Sword Art Online: Progressive 6May 10, 2018
7Sword Art Online: Progressive 7March 10, 2021
8Sword Art Online: Progressive 8June 10, 2021

Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online (2014 – present)

This whole series, sans volume 11, has been translated and released in English.

No.TitleOriginal release date
1Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online I: Squad JamDecember 10, 2014
2Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online II: 2nd Squad Jam: StartMarch 10, 2015
3Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online III: 2nd Squad Jam: FinishJune 10, 201
4Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online IV: 3rd Squad Jam: Betrayers’ Choice: StartMarch 10, 2016
5Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online V: 3rd Squad Jam: Betrayers’ Choice: FinishJuly 9, 2016
6Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online VI: One Summer DayMarch 10, 2017
7Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online VII: 4th Squad Jam: StartJune 9, 2018
8Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online VIII: 4th Squad Jam: ContinueAugust 10, 2018
9Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online IX: 4th Squad Jam: FinishDecember 7, 2018
10Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online X: Five OrdealsApril 10, 2020
11Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online XI: 5th Squad Jam: StartNovember 10, 2021

Sword Art Online Alternative: Clover’s Regret (2016 – 2018)

This series has, as of yet, not been released in English.

No.TitleJapanese release date
1Sword Art Online Alternative: Clover’s RegretNovember 10, 2016
2Sword Art Online Alternative: Clover’s Regret 2January 10, 2018
3Sword Art Online Alternative: Clover’s Regret 3August 10, 2018

Sword Art Online Material Edition (2007 – 2019)

This is just an informative overview, so you know which stories comprise this series. A bolded title signifies that the story has been republished in one of the four other series (see above).

TitleJapanese release date
1The ProgressersNovember 18, 2007
2Early CharactersFebruary 10, 2008
3Ceramic HeartMay 5, 2008
4Cold Hand, Warm HeartNovember 16, 2008
5SalviaMay 5, 2009
6Algade ShowdownNovember 15, 2009
7Continuation: Aria in the Starless NightAugust 21, 2011
8Rondo of the Transient Sword (First Chapter)October 30, 2011
9Monochrome Concerto/Concerto of Black & White (First Chapter)February 5, 2012
1016.6 (also Sugar Days 1)October 20, 2013
1116.7 (also Sugar Days 2) February 2, 2014
1216.8 (also Sugar Days 3) May 5, 2014
1316.9 (also Sugar Days 4) August 31, 2014
14Sugary Days 5November 23, 2014
15Sugary Days 6May 5, 2015
16Sugary Days 7August 30, 2015
17The Much-Talked-About Esteemed Sub-leaderNovember 15, 2015
18Sugary Days 8January 31, 2016
19Sugary Days 9May 5, 2016
20Monochromatic ColorsAugust 21, 2016
21SAOP4.2October 23, 2016
22Augmented MagicFebruary 12, 2017
23Sugary Days 10May 6, 2017
24Sugary Days 11August 20, 2017
25Sugary Days 12November 23, 2017
26Sugary Days 13February 11, 2018
27Sugary Days 14May 5, 2018
28Gaiden X3 [32/33]February 17, 2019
29Gaiden X3 [32/33] (2)May 12, 2019

Are the Sword Art Online Novels Finished?

Sword Art Online novels are not finished. The original self-published series was finished back in 2008, but as far as the other three series are concerned, neither of them is finished, as they are in the process of publication.