This book has been a long time in the making, and unfortunately, it did not live up to my expectations at all. The biggest problem, from my perspective, is the lack of Harris' direct involvement. Her contributions to the book are so minimal that I really have to question the judgment of the publisher in declaring the book to have been "edited by Charlaine Harris." I have read numerous "unofficial companions" to the Harry Potter series, mostly written by fans. I own, but have not yet read, the Companion to Meyer's Twilight series, and I thoroughly enjoyed Diana Gabaldon's Outlander Companion (though it is now quite dated). So, I'm not unfamiliar with this general concept, and I was very disappointed by the overall product in terms of the direct involvement of the author. If this was mainly an effort by selected fans, it should have been marketed as a fan-created tribute.
The short story/novella about Sookie's journey with Sam to attend his brother's wedding is mildly entertaining. I could not immediately discern that the events in this short story will have much of an effect on the series as a whole. Harris does not really excel in the short story format in my opinion, and like others, I am somewhat annoyed that some critical information is allegedly being imparted in these short stories. I am not a huge fan of the short story in general though, so I am perfectly willing to cut some slack on this front.
However, when I bought the Companion, I did not expect that the bulk of it was the work of several moderators on Harris' fan-page boards. If Harris did actually edit and approve Koski's summaries of the books, I am extremely disappointed in her artistic integrity. The summaries are blatantly biased, and I'm happy to see I'm not the only reviewer thus far to note the issues. If Koski had written neutral summaries of the books in the series, I wouldn't necessarily quibble about the lack of the author's direct hand in that section. However, the summaries are so over-the-top slanted in perspective as to boggle the mind. Koski is well-known in the "fandom" as a Quinn-lover. Unfortunately, her summaries have unjustifiably elevated Quinn's importance to the series (he is on the whole a very minor character), while simultaneously villainizing/diminishing/neutralizing the importance of Eric, and to a lesser extent, Bill. The Eric scenes are summarized in a flat, dispassionate manner that is often in fact misleading about the actual events being summarized. Certainly many key events don't make it into Koski's summaries if Eric is involved in the action. By contrast, Quinn's scenes are summarized in a lively, emotive, active prose that conflates his actual importance in the overall storyline.
I am also flabbergasted that Harris allowed the Bill-Eric email exchanges to be included in this Companion, when those exchanges are so clearly fanfiction. Unlike some other prominent authors, Harris has not been directly antagonistic to the fanfic community. However, she is purportedly puzzled by the conceptual basis of fanfiction and is not known to be supportive in any way. To include Koski's fanfiction contributions seems very counter to her publicly stated positions on fanfiction. Again, Koski seems to be, in a somewhat subtle way, villainizing Eric or at the very least downplaying his positive character attributes as evidenced in the actual novels. If Harris has, through her reviews of Koski's email exchanges, revised her position on the positive contributions of fanfiction, it would be an excellent idea for her to publicly make that statement. As a longstanding fan of fanfiction (and as a fanfic author), I would welcome her support. However, I still maintain that these email exchanges are so substantively biased that they don't truly qualify as proper fanfiction. If she had published these exchanges on a fanfic site, Koski would have received numerous reviews telling her that she had crossed the OOC line.
I did enjoy the interviews with both Harris and Alan Ball. I was happily surprised to see that the author/editor/publisher did not squelch the "hard" questions. Alan Ball, in particular, should have much to consider based on the questions that were posed to him for this book.
The novella, the interviews with Ball and Harris, the map of Bon Temps, the recipes, and the great attempt to re-create a believable timeline for the series are all very valuable contributions to the fans' understanding of this series. Unfortunately, the overall minimal contributions by Harris herself and the significant amount of biased material contributed by Victoria Koski make this Companion far less enjoyable than it could have been. I would have much preferred to see Harris herself take the time, after completion of the series, to do a really thorough Companion of her own. This Companion should definitely have been billed as a fan effort, with a novella contributed by Harris.