My original plan for taking on Final Fantasy XIII-2 was to play through the game, jot down any important information that should be in the Sitrep, read Fragments Before and Fragments After, jot down any important information in the novels, and post it. Here was the problem I was faced with: I had to finish this before Lightning Returns releases in the States (which is February 11th), and playing through the game, as well as reading two novels that total at 474 pages (FB is 232 pages, while FA is 242 pages) would eat up a huge amount of time. I'd probably be unable to post this on time had I stuck with my original plan. But thankfully for me, I was able to find a version of the two novels that summarizes the most crucial parts of each chapter in about three or four pages. That, and I was able to find a video of every single cutscene in the game, which helped a ton.
Now, I hear you saying, "Well you clearly rushed it, and the smaller bits of detail will be lost!" Don't worry. I made sure there was no stone left unturned. In addition, the small details are fine and all, but are they vital to the understanding of the story? A character moves an inch and then the world explodes. It just summarizes the most important information in the novels, and leaves out the small, less important information. For example, in Fragments Before, they talk about how the Cavalry helped construct New Bodhum. Is that really vital to the understanding of the game's plot? No. I'll give you an example of vital pieces of story that has to be included—it's not Final Fantasy related, but the point still stands: Javik from ME3. You cannot play through ME3 without the Prothean in your squad, and there is no physical way you can understand what's going on without that context.
Anyway, I'm rambling on for too long. I'm so damn proud that I have written this for everyone to read. I find it baffling that Squenix would leave out this much content that adds significant value to the game's otherwise hard-to-follow story—and I acknowledge that this story is so massive to fit into one title, and that a lot of the mythology and backstory is discussed in Lightning Returns, but that's just a pet peeve of mine.