Book Review: The Twilight Saga: the Official Illustrated Guide


Cover & selected pages of The Twilight Saga: the Official Illustrated Guide

Review by NinkyBaby

At first glance, The Twilight Saga: the Official Illustrated Guide seems to be a superfluous addition to the bestselling book series. As the reader delves deeper, the book is much more than that. For fans of the novels who did not follow closely with author interviews, the book contains an interview by fellow writer, Shannon Hale, in which Stephenie Meyer shares her thoughts and clarifies certain points she makes in the books.

Some readers find Stephenie’s unconventional vampires attractive, others find them strange as they are different from the traditional vampires in fantasy novels. Personally, I don’t find it a bad thing for authors to come up with their own idea of vampires. Originality is welcome in fiction writing. The book answers questions on their physical characteristics, abilities, limitations and other aspects of the vampires specific to the Twilight world.

The most fascinating part of the book for me as a reader, are the back stories of all the vampires, half-vampires, werewolves and humans featured or mentioned in Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn and The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. A striking comment quoted from the author is how most of the nastier characters in her book are not inherently evil or bad but there are good reasons why they are being the way they are.

I agree with that statement, yes, even Aro isn’t the very evil vampire, Bella Swan seems to make him out to be from her point of view. Most of the characters’ back stories will definitely give you a glimpse of this. In the course of reading their stories, I had a lot of “oh, so that explains why…” moments so it will answer a lot of questions that may arise in the course of reading the whole saga.

Another amazing part of the book is the section devoted to the Werewolves & their tribe. Their lineage, heritage. history, physical characteristics and abilities are clearly explained here. There is also a full color illustration of the Quileute Pack’s Family Trees that contain really very interesting information about the wolves’ relationship to one another &  hints about their possible futures. The two most riveting back stories in this section would be the situation between Sam, Leah and Emily as well as the phasing of Leah and Seth. The situational positive & negative aspects of imprinting are clearly extrapolated in those stories.

In addition to all the interesting back stories and details, are beautiful illustrations of various personalities, scenery, familiar objects & settings from the story. For this alone, the book is definitely a keeper for fans & collectors of the Twilight series’ books and other material. Stephenie Meyer has also included a timeline of Twilight events, key plot points, her inspirational playlist, some outtakes and FAQs.

Overall, the 543 page book contains plenty of back stories of the various characters and reading them gives you a lot of new insight into the personalities and background of the major and minor characters in the books. Whether you are a fan fiction writer, an avid reader, or a Twilight fan, The Twilight Saga: Official Illustrated Guide is definitely a good companion to the four novels and the Bree Tanner novella.