This was originally slated to be published (sans illustrations) a year or so ago. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner was to be included, but that short story turned into a novella; The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide is hefty enough as it is. That it’s in hardcover adds to the weight, as does the thicker paper – and it all adds to the price, too. Best-suited for die-hard collectors, but it should be popular enough that your local library has a copy in its system.
Fellow author Shannon Hale has a lengthy interview with Stephenie Meyer featuring much of what we already know. But contrary to popular belief, SM didn’t deliberately put “messages” into the novels. She didn’t have preaching in mind, and created the characters and stories around them. The characters came first, and the conflicts arose because of who they are, and their histories.
(Then again, you wouldn’t admit to spreading propaganda under the guise of “entertainment”. Well, some do, but authors definitely should not – fiction readers don’t like being treated as if we’re stupid, though some arguably are.)
Lengthy sectors explain the vampire covens, werewolf packs, and humans. Every character has a dossier. Since I haven’t read Breaking Dawn yet, it has new-to-me info: Joham and the vampire hybrids are the most intriguing.
The timeline and key plot points of each book form a decent summary. But then the guide falls into ridiculousness with a section on which cars (and bikes) each character has, and what the vehicles symbolise. Really, people, does your car match your personality, or did you buy what was within your price range and availability? Those Cullens have way too much money, which is strange considering Carlisle is the only one with a job (that I remember, anyway).
There are playlists for each book. The fan art gallery, while pretty, is non-essential, as is the international cover gallery. The scene outtakes were excluded from the final text of the novels for good reason. As for the FAQ…if readers can’t figure out the meanings and significance from certain things, is the author or the reader at fault?
This guide is informative enough, but ideally consumed in small doses (my attention faded when I tried to get as much read in as short a time period as possible). Best borrowed from the library instead of purchasing.