It’s great to see a lightweight audiobook read in the protagonist’s English dub actor. Light novel audiobooks are uncommon to begin with, but there is an even greater sense of immersion than usual when you already know the character’s voice. If you are one Sword art online ia dub fan, you probably don’t need me to tell you to try this, but for those of you on the fence there are two things I want to highlight in particular in this review: Bryce Papenbrookperformance and whether the story of SAOThe first volume still holds today.
Let’s start with the audio side. I’m not normally the type of person who listens to audiobooks, but I haven’t had any complaints in the technical realm. The delivery exceeded my modest expectations. to listen Bryce Papenbrook in the form of an audiobook he gave me new recognition for his range as an actor. Since he is often typified as a “teenage and distressed protagonist,” it was refreshing to hear him address the voices of all the supporting characters in SAOfirst volume, of which there are surprisingly many.
Still, this is a book that is mostly told in Kirito’s head, and Papenbrook shows admirable skill in narrating prose that could easily have become tedious. Kirito’s vulnerabilities and reflection are found even when he explains the minutiae of the game. What could be even more impressive is how Papenbrook sells the emotional impact of lines that would otherwise be found to be unbearable. There are many love scenes between Kirito and Asuna — perhaps too much for the good of the book — but Papenbrook handles them with aplomb.
As indicated in the previous paragraph, Sword art onlineThe first volume is a clearly uneven experience. It was like that Reki KawaharaThe first attempt to write a novel is easy, and one can easily see the telltale signs of a book hiding in too many subplots for its own good. Over the years, many aspects of this first novel have materialized significantly, such as Kirito’s tragic story with Sachi and the fateful foray into the murderous guild of laughing Taüt, but here, these stories are reduced to the point that they have very little narrative. weight. It is also noteworthy that the book has an abrupt time jump after the tense opening and a second winding act.
But Sword art online he still gets the important stuff done. Its premise may already be familiar, but the opening chapters are effective in instilling an inevitable sense of fear. The book also has an emotional and action-packed climax. Even in the early stages of his career, Kawahara has had great talent for action scenes; unlike many of his contemporaries, he knew how to modulate the density of his descriptions to portray a sense of immediacy. The result is a book as exciting as it is rich with details about its virtual world.
Papenbrook’s performance has great synergy with Kawahara’s dramatic writing, especially at the last end of the book. As the pace increases, so does the speed of Papenbrook’s narration; when the emotional climax arrives, he slows down and softens his voice while maintaining a sense of breathless anticipation. I must also give my congratulations to the English translator Stephen Paul; you need a confident translator to write prose that sounds perfectly natural when spoken aloud. The fact that it was a wrinkle-free audiobook experience is a complement to both the translator and the actor.
All in all, I had a great time with this audiobook and it was a good opportunity to visit it again. Sword art online, warts and all. Despite all its obvious flaws, the story still holds up pretty well as an entertaining action novel even to this day. As a side note on the audiobook version, I think it helped the immersion that this volume had a mostly male cast. While I think Papenbrook’s view of Asuna was in stark contrast to Kirito’s voice, I can foresee some difficulties in the future such as SAOThe female cast is expanding. But that’s a whole story for another day: this audiobook gets me a solid recommendation.