Twilight fans have waited a long time (since December 30, 2008, the original publishing date) for Stephenie Meyer‘s The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide. It does not disappoint. So many questions fans had are answered within the pages of this very thick tome which boasts 543 pages and 100 full-color illustrations and photographs. This is more for fans of the books, rather than fans of the movies as it goes into detail about each character as they’re written in the novels, in some cases giving birth dates and places, origins, back stories, best quotes and more.
Especially interesting was Shannon Hale’s interview with Stephenie Meyer right off the top. A fellow author and friend, Hale has interesting questions and anecdotes as the two discuss a variety of topics relating to writing as well as compare their personal experiences. Stephenie’s inspiration for Twilight is discussed in more detail than I’ve seen anywhere else. Most fans know it all started when she dreamed about Edward and Bella in the meadow, but here she tells how she went on to write the book, which characters and scenes were added after the fact, and how she wasn’t even sure she wanted to see the book published initially. We find out that Jacob was created because of Edward’s inability to say “I am a vampire,” just as Jacob became a werewolf because of Edward’s existence, and nearness as a vampire.
When she meets with fans, Stephenie has been asked all kinds of questions, including some fairly odd ones, and most are answered in this book. One topic that’s questioned over and over, though not always just by fans, is the fact that even though Edward was made a vampire at age 17, he’s been one for over 80 years, so that makes him closer to 100 years old. Some people find it creepy that he falls in love with a teenager.
However, the effects of the vampire transformation may make it somewhat easier to accept. According to the book, “Vampires do not develop emotionally or mentally past the age at which they are transformed. A transformed child would remain childlike forever, unable to mature in any aspect.”
This infers that Edward is 17 forever, though if you’ve read the books, he has the wisdom and education of someone many years older. It’s a bit of a dichotomy, but something that makes sense if given some thought, especially if you’ve ever heard someone say, “She (or he) is an old soul.” Even though some people seem wiser than their years, they’re still their chronological age. Additionally, as Stephenie admits in this book, vampires don’t really exist, so a writer can take liberties and use her imagination to create a unique story and characters, which is something she has done beautifully to the delight of millions of Twilight fans.
Another interesting fact about vampires is that: “All forms of skin pigmentation: freckles moles, birthmarks, age marks, scars and tattoos disappear during the transformation from human to vampire.” There are many nuggets of information provided here by Stephenie that give “Ah-ha!” moments as you come across them.
A lot of work went into this encyclopedic volume, which retails for only $26.99 in hardcover — it’s a generous gift from Meyers to her many, very fervent fans. The only other gift fans now need is the completed version of Midnight Sun — the story of Twilight from Edward’s point of view (the first few chapters are online on Stephenie’s official site). It answers a lot of questions fans may have about the first book (such as what happened to the men who attacked Bella in Port Angeles? What prompted Edward to return to Forks from Alaska? What did the Cullens think when they found out he was in love with Bella? Etc). In the meantime, however, we can make do with the release of the final movies — beginning with The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, opening November 18, 2011. ~Alexandra Heilbron