Sparks Fly Illumicrate Unboxing

A slightly delayed unboxing of Illumicrate’s February box since the box itself was delayed due to the pandemic. So let’s see what was inside!

Starting from the center with the theme booklet, and going clockwise:

  • Sparks Fly theme booklet/spoiler card
  • A book shaped tin. I like these because they’re useful for trinkets and look so good on the shelves. This one is inspired by Stalking Jack the Ripper.
  • A roll-on perfume, it smells amazing even if the name makes for amusing “what scent are you wearing?” “I’m wearing god of lies”. I like the roll-on ones because they’re easy to apply and “top up”.
  • Sorcery of Thorns pop socket. I am a bit torn on this one. The quality looks bad and the artwork which is nice doesn’t look too great, so it is tricky (also, how often does one change the pop sockets? I haven’t changed the one on my phone since I first put it a few years ago, so this won’t get used any time soon).
  • Coasters inpired by A Darker Shade of Magic pairings.
  • Serpent & Dove inspired bookmark clip.
  • And the book, which is The Midnight Lie. I haven’t read any of the other books by the author, so I am curious to see how it reads.

All in all the box still feels like there’s not enough love going into it (I know that there was no coin so I am not taking any points out due to that, delays have been affecting everyone, this pandemic isn’t the reason the box wasn’t as great). I just wish I could feel all the care going into the boxes as they used to.

The Strength Within Illumicrate Unboxing

First box of the year, and I am still struggling to decide if it is worth keeping. Don’t get me wrong, it is a nice box, the problem is I’ve been subscribed to their box for long and it feels like the boxes have less unique things and less content in general. I am still giving it a bit longer to decide if I should cancel subscription or not.

But now unto contents, going clockwise and starting on the theme card at the bottom:

  • Theme booklet and collectible coin.
  • The Sisters Grimm, this was the main book and it is gorgeous. Looking forward to reading it.
  • A cute print inspired by Girls of Paper and Fire, it is holographic and the artwork is cute (but I am not crazy about prints and also they’re never the size of the book so that I could have them together)
  • Infinity Son. I had an ARC of this one and wasn’t too keen on it, so alas, despite it being a “hyped” book it isn’t something that makes me think “awesome” but rather “oh no, not this one that I already read and didn’t like”.
  • Probably the coolest item of the box, a booklight! It is a clip on one and it is a wonderful portable size.
  • A beanie, that in my opinion is a bit boring. I really like Daughter of Smoke and Bone but the emrboidery is tiny and the beanie is just a blue beanie. Can’t we have a different type of hat? How about a beret? Or a cap? Or something else that isn’t the same beanie everyone gets just embroidered with something different? (because other boxes also get Beanies and they are almost all the same exact type).
  • An ultra thick wooden bookmark, that everyone in the office immediately said “this will damage your books if you use it” and I couldn’t help but nod in agreement because it is really pretty but it is too thick.
  • Gideon the Ninth mini purse, I think meant for coins? It is nice.

All in all the items I liked was main book, booklight and coin purse (which I may never use) so it felt a bit disappointing sadly. I so deeply wish for a box as full of wonderful surprises as the first 4-10 boxes were when they were quarterly. Alas, I am just a subscriber that’s been with them for so long…

Secrets and Schemes Illumicrate Unboxing

Another quick recap that I’ve been getitng Illumicrate for far too long, I think their fourth box back when they were quarterly (my first book was Nevenight). And this box sadly is not living up to what the boxes used to be and their usually good boxes.

So let’s unbox starting from the theme card on the right and going clockwise:

  • Theme card, it is more a booklet than anything.
  • The collectible magnetic coin. Not interested, feel like a waste of part of the budget and I’d rather get something else.
  • A patch. What is with book boxes and patches? I like the design but we’re not in the 80s or 90s and I have nothing to patch on or use it for. Give me stickers, bullet journal stuff, something more than patches!
  • Amazing Star Wars pins. These are utterly gorgeous.
  • Four Paths candle. The scent is very minimal and nobody seemed excited about it (a lot of my work colleagues are now invested in the unboxings and rate the items and choose and comment their favourites, this won no one).
  • Blood Heir. It has bloody sprayed edges which I liked, intrigued on the book.
  • A gorgeous mug, this is always a win item for me, specially with this type of super detailed designes and the type of mug it is. This one wins some of the points lost with the other items.
  • A calendar with some typography quotes and some artowkr. The quality of the calendar paper leaves much to say, and the whole images per month were relatively meh (there’s a few good ones) so it had nothing exciting for me in it.

That was all. Which felt underwhelming. The mug and pins were the good items and the rest felt like they had dropped the quality and caring about curating items so I am hoping it picks up for this month (January). I am reluctant to stopping my subscription but if the quality keeps dropping, it’ll be hard to justify keeping it.

In Search of Doors Illumicrate Unboxing

This is a punch of blue! Definitely matches the theme, so let’s unbox it as it had a naked hardcover. Starting on the bottom right corner and going clockwise:

  • Theme booklet.
  • Night Circus Ticket keyring, I love the concept, but it is freaking heavy so I won’t be using it, which is very sad. It weights so much I don’t really want that on my keys or anything. Sad, so very sad because it is gorgeous!
  • Magnetic coin, as you know by now, I don’t really care about them and to me they’re pretty much useless and meh.
  • Narnia wardrobe wooden pin, this is very cute and I like it.
  • The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. I haven’t read it yet, I am curious as I enjoyed the Night Circus.
  • I had a sword bookmark, matching the book but apparently there were three different designs. (Downside is how flimsy it is).
  • The Naked book, it is pretty but it’s just that, nothing special for me.
  • Key necklace, inspired by the Archived.
  • My favourite item, a booksleeve with a Hogwarts theme, the sleeve is sturdy and beautiful.
  • Book ceramic pot. I am still unsure what to do with them. If I was good at plants, I’d fill them with cute plants but I mostly kill them so they’re wasting space at home. Sad. But gorgeous.

So I wasn’t particularly impressed with this box. There aren’t many “doors” in the things included. As much as Harry Potter is nice, I have a lot of booksleeves in tones of pink/purple of Hogwarts in some way or another (why is it so popular in those tones?!) so I am a bit tired of that particular item, not that I dislike booksleeves. Be original, there’s a LOT of fandoms to choose from other than Harry Potter.

I liked the key and sword matching the book but I won’t use either (“golden” anything jewelry is a potential not good for me so I tend to avoid and not wear) and the pot is just space taken. So I have a pin, a book and a book sleeve and it feels not very worth the price if that is all I keep. It is sad, because I have loved Illumicrate since the very first box I had from them back when they sent Nevernight hardcover and had no themes and always had a proof in the box (I LOVED discovering new books with those proofs and really really miss them) and a lot more unique items and less worry about “collections of things that won’t be used”.

So veredict, I liked the box, miss the old Illumicrate boxes and don’t feel very much a good value for money with this particular box. Let’s see what December brings!

With Great Power Illumicrate Unboxing

Time to do an unboxing for October’s Illumicrate. As you know I was part of the blog tour for Angel Mage, so this book was no surprise to me, however the red edges were and the rest of the items. So let’s unbox starting from the book and going clockwise:

  • Angel Mage by Garth Nix. This book is like the 3 musketeers became very magical religious. I liked it a lot more than I expected to.
  • Shatter Me Magnetic bookmark set. I am not really keep on magnetic bookmarks, as they either break from the top joint or I have damaged pages trying to take them off, they are cute but won’t be keeping them.
  • Dreamers Pouch. I tend to like pouches specially if they are sturdy and nicely sized for travelling or taking some kind of supplies (I have one that came in a book box I use for my “quick drawing” supplies for example).
  • Theme booklet.
  • Abhorsen Bells Pin. This is fully inspired by the book, and I loved it. I had been looking into getting one of those pins to hold blankets/shawls/thingies together that look pretty and then I got the box and it was awesome!
  • Villains character card set, which I loved and quickly started describing each character (they are from Vengeful and Vicious by V. E. Schwab) to my colleagues when I unboxed it.
  • A tea tin, another unusual item and I have already filled it up with tea bags (but I also use them for loose leaf tea) Loved it.
  • I also somehow skipped the metallic magnetic coin which this time was Aelin, but not bothered by it.

All in all, it was a quirky box with two out of the ordinary items I really enjoyed, which made it nice rather than just okay. Can’t wait for this month’s box!

High Stakes Illumicrate Unboxing

The theme for September’s Illumicrate was High stakes, but was it up tothose high stakes? Let’s see what was inside, starting from bottom left corner:

  • Theme booklet. Matches the main book well.
  • A gorgeous ceramic mug with artwork inspired by Children of Blood and Bone. I find it gorgeous but also, I have been avoiding ceramic reusable travel mugs as I mostly use them in the car and if an accident happens and it shatters, well, not good. Bamboo is less problematic.
  • The End if Nigh notepad. This is perfect for shopping lists and in good timing as my current one is almost finished. It is inspired by Good Omens.
  • Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron. Super excited to read it, and the edges have a snake. However, I am a bit unhappy with the size of the book. Books to me are portable and that’s the beauty of it. With books as huge as this one, it is VERY hard to read them on public transport without poking someone, they don’t bend as easily, and are SO heavy! I just wish we could get nice smaller editions (usually the paperback version is like 1/3 of the size).
  • Carry On scarf. Not a fan so this one was gifted (also, I have a bit of odd feelings about turning Carry On which is a “take on Harry Potter” into a full series).
  • A DNA lankyard cord thing, inspired by the Mortal Coil. Loved it!
  • And a wooden print thing. It is nice but it doesn’t look properly lacquered to put things on it without damaging it. May be bothered to do it or may not and pass it on.

All in all, some items did make it out of this high stakes box into a great item but half of them didn’t and that was a bit sad.

Blood & Blades Illumicrate Unboxing

My very first Illumicrate box included this hardcover book with a crow and a red sun on the cover (sound familiar?). So it wasn’t any surprise that when they announced they w0uld be doing a special edition for Darkdawn, I had to have it (plus they special editions boxes are stunning!).

My very first Illumicrate. I had zero clue on how to do unboxing pictures.

As you can see above, Nevernight wan’t the only book and it didn’t have an author letter like The Graces did. Nevernight was the “afterthought”, the second book, rather than the main one. Back then the boxes weren’t themed either and it was way more of a surprise what you could get…

But back to the main thing, the Darkdawn box. Because we’ve come to the end of the trilogy.

Look at that, I have a slightly better idea what I am doing with an unboxing, and this time the blanket underneath is not one I made myself, but part of the box. Oh how time goes by! Let’s unbox this, starting from the top left corner and going clockwise:

  • Underneath everything, a Mr Kindly and Eclipse blanket. It is the softest thing ever and I love it!
  • Nevernight Short-Form Series Extras, a kind of script and sneak peek book for what Piera Forde has been doing on trying to adapt it to “film”.
  • A wooden map of Itreya. I don’t know what I will use it for, but I really like it.
  • Mr Kindly bath bomb by Geeky Clean. This smells gorgeous and I am looking forward to using it in my bath.
  • Contents zine.
  • A gorgeous mug called “Goodnight Kiss”, but spoilers, so yeah…
  • Darkdawn book, with yellow edges (like the Italian edition if I got it right). (Sadly I prefer the dark edges, but I think part of it is I am not a fan of yellow).
  • On top of it, a Mia magnetic coin.
  • A print of Mia and Trik (same artwork as the script thing extra stuff)
  • Three, the extra content/deleted scene.
  • Character bookmarks that are double sided.
  • Foil (it is super extra stunning) Hard at work print of Mia.
  • A gorgeous book sleeve with two different sides, A Story to Tell.
  • Mia “Funko Pop” style figurine.
  • Two amazing pins by Fable and Black. I was blown away by them!
  • Finally, close to the mug, the Corvere crest as a necklace.

All in all, a very full box with lots of stunning items! Illumicrate did an amazing job and I am glad I bought that first box with Nevernight way back when (I have been subscribed to them since then…)