Illumicrate Review by Nazia – November 2018

I can’t even begin to tell you how thrilled I am about reviewing this box again! I love delving into a new novel and adventure whenever I can and this subscription really does fit the bill! I was really impressed with the last box I received, so had very high expectations for this month’s box and I can honestly say it did not disappoint!! So thank you to the lovely Daphne for allowing me to review this incredible subscription again.

If you missed my live unboxing, you can catch it here on our YouTube channel:

What is llumicrate?

When you subscribe to Illumicrate, you will receive a carefully curated quarterly box with a newly released book and a supply of fun, bookish goodies, like bookmarks, jewellery, stationery, and more! You will receive at least 3-5 items in each box. Illumicrate work with amazing independent suppliers to ensure that all the products you receive are of great quality and design. They try where they can to make sure the items included will be exclusive to Illumicrate, which means you can’t buy them anywhere else! They also work directly with publishers to provide exclusive content from them and the authors where possible to enhance your reading experience.

How does it work?

Keeping it simple with one subscription option either for you or to give as a gift. Subscriptions are automatically renewed every three months. Gift subscriptions can be given as a one-time gift, or automatically renewed.

  • Only £29.99 with free shipping in the United Kingdom!

(Additional shipping charges will be applied for international customers)

Box contents

  • Contents Leaflet
  • Mulan Inspired Scarf – a soft, silky scarf with a stunning interpretation of our favourite warrior girl
  • Empress of All Seasons By Emiko Jean – a beautiful, Asian-inspired standalone fantasy about a yokai fighting to be empress.
  • Wild Magic BY Tamora Pierce – dive into our exclusive edition of this fantasy classic, the first of the immortals quartet
  • Circus Top Banner – inspired by The Night Circus and Caraval.
  • Stag Amulet Necklace – this necklace will bring out your inner fire breathing bitch queen
  • Diner Drink Cosy – to all the drinks you want to keep warm featuring an iconic scene.
  • Warcross Woodmark – help get through the game with this rainbow key-inspired woodmark.
  • Extras – The Poppy war book mark & This Mortal Coil oragami

What I thought:

The items are packaged in a bright yellow medium sized recyclable box that has Illumicrate and the logo printed on the front and the website printed along the sides of the box. I must admit the first time I received this box I was actually expecting a small letterbox sized parcel, so I was really surprised how big it was! The wonderful thing about this subscription is all the additional items you receive alongside your book which tie in neatly with the box theme – speaking of themes the November box’s theme is Clever ruse!

Mulan Inspired Scarf

This was the first item I pulled out of the box and what a stunning item it is! This silky soft scarf makes for an interesting conversation piece as the beautiful colours and print are so eye catching! The artwork is by Feifei Ruan a Chinese illustrator and visual storyteller, that depicts Mulan riding into battle with her bow and arrow raised ready to attack. Splashed with peonies, plum blossoms and other colourful flowers and a red Chinese dragon that I think quite possibly is Mushu keeping a watchful eye over Mulan. This ties in perfectly with the clever ruse theme as Mulan takes her father’s old armour and impersonates a man to take her father’s place during a general conscription to counter a Hun invasion. One of the nicest pieces of clothing I now own and looks fabulous on too!

Empress of All Seasons By Emiko Jean

A beautifully written Japanese fantasy inspired by Ancient Japan and Japanese mythology that had me captivated from the very first page! Enchantingly descriptive the story was easy to follow, and I become completely enthralled by the characters, vivid details and storyline.

There are three main characters in this book whose lives become entangled with each other; Mari, Taro and Akira. Mari is part of an all female community whose primary goal is to seduce wealthy men and steal their fortune, they are known as the animal wives. Unfortunately, Mari doesn’t inherit the skills or the looks that the animal woman usually possess, so from a young age her mother prepares her to train for the tournament to become empress. The goal is to conquer the brutal seasonal rooms and win the hand of the prince, Taro. But Mari is hiding a dark secret, for she is Yokai and forbidden to enter the tournament, if she is discovered the consequences could be fatal.

Taro despises that he is a prize in an age-old tradition and wants to escape his life and his yokai hating father. He locks himself away in his work room and plans his escape. Until he meets Mari and a romance blossoms between them and he finds himself wanting her to win the tournament.

Akira who is also known as the Son of Nightmares is Mari’s close friend and confidant. Born to a Yokai mother and human father Akira is an outcast that doesn’t quite fit in anywhere so keeps himself away from others. He is unequivocally in love with Mari and would do anything for her, however she does not reciprocate the feeling.

This book makes for a very compelling read and I highly recommend it to all that love mythology and fantasy. I love that this box also includes a note and autograph from the author and an exclusive cover with sprayed edges that is just for Illumicrate subscribers! The clever ruse? Mari concealing that she is Yokai and entering a competition meant only for human woman

Wild Magic BY Tamora Pierce

This month’s box contains not one book but two! Wild Magic is a fantasy novel by Tamora Pierce, the first in a series of four books, The Immortals. Daine has always had a special connection with animals, but only when she’s forced to leave home does she realise it’s more than a knack…it’s magic. With this wild magic, not only can Daine speak to animals, but she can also make them obey her. A heart-warming and uplifting read which pleased the big child inside of me. I would say this book is geared towards a younger audience but that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the book – I really did! I love anything and everything to do with magic and fantasy, so I’m really tempted to purchase the other three books to see how the tale unfolds.

Circus Top Banner

This circus top banner is inspired by Erin Morgenstern’s dark and dazzling book The Night Circus and Stephanie Garber’s Caraval. I read The Night Circus a few years ago and I found it simply bewitching! Again, this item ties in beautifully to the clever ruse theme as in both these books the Circus/Caraval are not quite what they seem! This lovely glittery gold and black banner would make a lovely decorative displayed piece for a themed party or alternatively use it as part of a costume!

Stag Amulet Necklace

This stunning green and gold stag amulet necklace is exclusively designed for Illumicrate by Fable & Black, illustrators of literary gifts for book lovers, including bookish homewares, book lover stationery, literary gifts, bookish jewellery and much more. A lovely necklace which comes in its own velvet pouch that I am pleased to add to my jewellery collection!

Diner Drink Cosy

Keep it cosy and hug your takeaway drink with this beautiful cup cosy! Made of a durable material that facilitates grip and protect your hands from being burnt by hot drinks and very handy for this time of year. Depicting a scene from the book/show To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, a young adult romance novel by American author Jenny Han. It portrays Lara Jean and Peter enjoying a cherry coke and a chocolate shake at the same table where her parents once sat. The clever ruse? Lara Jean and Peter dupe everyone into thinking they’re really dating.

Warcross Woodmark

This woodmark is beautifully made and has a lovely splash of rainbow colour running across it. It is based on the book Warcross – Warcross isn’t just a game – it’s a way of life. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. I don’t like to fold the page corners in a book as I hate for them to become ‘dogearred’ so bookmarks are a must!

Extras

The Poppy War Book Mark – An epic fantasy debut, inspired by the bloody history of China’s twentieth century and filled with treachery and magic. A book that I have now bought from the amazon kindle store and look forward to reading! Literary lovers keep your page marked with this handy bookmark.

 This Mortal Coil Origami paper – Emily Suvada is the award-winning author of the Mortal Coil trilogy, a science fiction thriller series about one girl’s quest for answers in a genetically and technologically advanced future. The origami links in nicely with this Asian inspired theme and I had a lot of fun setting to work making this origami DNA with a little help from my other half. Not something I have done before but the instructions provided made it easy and simple enough to follow along.

Verdict

As a passionate reader I love every aspect of this box from the carefully chosen book to the additional collectables that tie in with the box’s theme, you can really see the enormous amount of effort Illumicrate have put into creating this box. I love that all of the items are exclusive products just for Illumicrate subscribers which makes them even more special as they cannot be bought anywhere else! The best thing about this subscription is that you will receive a newly published book, so there is a very little chance of getting a book that you have already read – instead a new book to add to your bookshelf. I can’t tell you how excited I was when I heard I’d be reviewing for Illumicrate again, I absolutely loved the last box I received, and I love this one just as much! Would I subscribe? Absolutely! This is by far my favourite book subscription, it’s fun, exciting and really engaging and fabulous to keep for yourself or gift to a book lover!

If you’d like to know more about Illumicrate you can visit their website or social media accounts here

https://www.illumicrate.com/

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Happy reading!

Nazia x

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