Yes, I’m writing a post on the Twilight books in order. Listen, you can mock Twilight all you want (and I have), but they are a fixture of pop culture that has some real staying power — I say this as an adult who remembers reading them while I waited for my mom to finish work because I literally couldn’t even drive, because I was like, twelve years old. That’s a nostalgia everyone should have. So, here I am, preparing you to deep dive into the canon of Stephanie Meyer by giving every excruciating detail of how to read the Twilight books in order.
The Original Twilight Books in Order
The “original” series is comprised of four books, a.k.a., the Twilight Saga.
The Twilight Retelling
I’m jumping right to her latest release because it is the mythical “fifth Twilight book” that has been teased for over a decade. Basically, there was a whole leaking scandal and Stephanie Meyer put the book on hold indefinitely. Then — surprise! — she finally dropped it in 2021. (I actually wrote an entire post detailing the drama here.)
Depends on who you ask, but it either got more than enough talk, or just too little. Honestly, I think it flopped a little more than it would have otherwise just because in the meantime, Meyer came out with two other books set in the Twilight universe.
Though not directly to do with Bella and Edward, neither book (or, novella, in the first case) seemed to stand on its own, and in my opinion, always felt a little like Meyer was afraid to let Twilight go. Though, in her defense, she sold books and she made money, so who can blame her? Either way, I think we might have been a bit over the vampires by the time Midnight Sun actually came out.
Anyways, all of that goes to say that while I normally say read the books in order of publication, I would make an exception for this one considering it was intended to be the next release following the fourth book. Midnight Sun is basically Twilight but told entirely from Edward’s point of view. So, though we no longer hear from Bella, she is still most definitely in the story — unlike in the next two.
The Spin-Offs and Reimaginings
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner was the next vampire-centered piece of Meyer’s since she ended the Twilight Saga with Midnight Sun. It is a short spin-off that focuses on a side character from the third book, Eclipse, and briefly involves the originals.
When Life and Death came out, you might remember it being hella thick. This is because it was published not as a stand-alone novel, but a literal compilation of the new release and the original Twilight book, flipped back to back.
The premise of Life and Death is basically the same Twilight story, but with all the characters gender-reversed. I have opinions on this, but full-disclosure, I haven’t actually read this version, so I’m going to put the critiques to the side for the time being.
From what I have been told, the events are basically identical (the prime difference being that they focus on “Beau” Swan and “Edythe” Cullen), except the ending is a bit of a twist that could potentially take away from the experience of reading Breaking Dawn, so I would definitely wait to read this one until you have finished all four original books.
The movies are pretty true to the books, I gotta hand it to ’em. So true, in fact, that they stretched out book four into two parts for the Breaking Dawn adaptation, hence the fact that there are five movies instead of four. (We could debate the reasoning behind this — and perhaps namecheck a certain book-to-movie series that Meyer often found herself competing with — but let’s not.)
1. Twilight (2008)
2. New Moon (2009)
3. Eclipse (2010)
4. Breaking Dawn: Part 1 (2011)
5. Breaking Dawn: Part 2 (2012)
Anyways, there’s that fun blast from the past! Hopefully someone found this useful, or at least took a good nostalgic trip with me.