How many years has it been? Well, in any case, volume 17 is finally available in English, over at Defan's Translations. I of course read it all in one sitting the moment it became available. Now I'm waiting on a new cliffhanger, volume 18, to see what happens next. SAO has already come out with a volume 19 while we've been waiting as well.
Volume 19 is titled Moon Cradle, and begins a new adventure. As nice as that is, it's not nearly as vital as Volume 18, the final volume of the epic, defining arc of SAO known as Alicization. I hope to see everyone happy and healthy again by the end of this book, reunited in the real world. It's been a long, dark trek, into seemingly the same volcanic heart of Mordor as Frodo had to go through. Actually, hasn't it been even grimmer for Kirito?
Volume 17 is pretty much bathed in darkness. There's a lot of despair and not much hope even at the end of this volume. This is not an ideal place to have to wait another year for volume 18 to be translated. >.<.
But we should be very thankful to even get this dark addition to literature. Hai to Gensou no Grimgar volume 4 has been abandoned midway. The same with Oreshura volume 6.5, Haganai volume 10, Zero no Tsukaima volume 20, Maria-sama ga Miteru volume 34, Papa Kiki volume 4, etc, etc.
Hopefully Sword Art Online, the most popular light novel series of all time, at the very least this series should be translated to the end. But you just never know. It's a minor miracle whenever any light novel is translated, there are so few people around the world capable and dedicated enough to pull it off. Here's hoping Defan can pull it off for at least one more volume. I've awaited the ending of Alicization for what feels like half a lifetime.