The Dark Side // April OwlCrate Unboxing // SPOILERS!

Posted May 20, 2019 by Amber in Bookish Things / 6 Comments

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Another month, another OwlCrate!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with OwlCrate, it’s a monthly young adult book subscription box based in the US.  Monthly subscriptions are $29.99 + shipping and they usually ship around the 15th of the month. I’ve had historically really good luck with OwlCrate.  I’d say that I am 100% happy with 90% of their boxes, which is the best luck I’ve had with any book box, personally.  There are others that are really good as well – I will shout to the ends of the earth about FairyLoot and Illumicrate – but OwlCrate is my #1.

I should also say that this post is in no way sponsored.  I genuinely love this box.  I pay for my monthly subscription just like all the other lay folk.

April’s theme was THE DARK SIDE.  I will be fully honest and let you know – as soon as I read the teaser, I knew what this book was going to be!  I was lucky enough to have received an ARC back in December and it was on my preorder list anyway, so… excited!

 

Sidebar:  A small apology for the pictures this month!  The box arrived mere days before we moved, and all my fancy photography stuff and props were already packed!

First out of the box this month was the monthly enamel pin, designed by Hey Atlas Creative.  The pin is designed to be inspired by the protagonist’s necklace in this month’s book.  While I totally appreciate the tie-in and careful thought in the design, it’s a bit too chunky for me aesthetically?  I’m not crazy about the typeface, and skull at the top feels out of place to me.  I dunno.  Not crazy about it.  But I continue to love that the monthly pin ties into the book and not some other popular fandom.

Item #2 was a pair of officially licensed Six of Crows socks! The design on these reminds me of the Six of Crows socks in Illumicrate’s Grishaverse box… but there are only so many print designs for a pair of Six of Crows socks, after all!  These were a teased item, so we knew they were coming… and anyway, I’m always game for something by Out of Print?  OwlCrate has worked with them a couple times and the items are delightful.  Socks are always a useful item, so I wouldn’t complain if a pair came in every box.

 

OwlCrate promised an item to display their monthly collectible pins, and here it is – an OwlCrate themed pin banner!  While honestly I need more pin display options (my cushion board is getting very full)… I don’t like this item.  I’m never a fan of big, obvious branding.  While I get how OwlCrate intends their readers to use this banner to display their monthly pins specifically, I like to feel like I have options.  This item is designed by OwlCrate’s go-to designer, Michelle Gray.

Next, we have a silk scarf inspired by the Grishaverse and designed by Bookmark’d Tattoos.  While it’s purple (!!!) and the design is fairly pretty and feels non-specific, I have to admit… I never wear silk scarves.  Never ever ever.  But this is pretty and in line with my personal aesthetic, so it’s definitely something I could use for photos.  This item is sort of… half-and-half for me?  I appreciate the design, but when something is only useful to me as a photographic prop, it’s sort of a bummer.

 

OwlCrate rarely includes samplers, but this month sees us with a sampler for the highly anticipated Finale by Stephanie Garber.  Now, because samplers are rare, I won’t mark OwlCrate down too much for this one.  After all, they did include Caravel one month (that was my first box!) and have a relationship with this series.  Besides all that, a LOT of people are very excited about Finale, so I imagine many people were super pumped for this sampler, even if it arrived only a few weeks before the book itself.  Samplers are a complete waste on me, so I was a bit disappointed to see it replace a different curated item.

I am always, always, always on board for an item with art by Stella Bookish Art.  I adore her style, and even though this item is inspired by Throne of Glass (not my fandom), I love it.  Notebooks are a forever useful item, and I am always happy to have more.  This silhouette design is gorgeous as well.

 

The last curated item in this month’s OwlCrate is a pop socket inspired by Vicious by V. E. Schwab.  I haven’t seen one of these in a box yet, so I appreciate that aspect of originality.  That said, I don’t use pop sockets, so this item was completely lost on me.  Still, I can see how other subscribers would really enjoy it.  Like the enamel pin this month, the pop socket was designed by Hey Atlas Creative.

This month’s book came with an interesting goodie… a fabric map of the land.  This is such a unique item and very creative as far as preorder-type incentives go with these books?  Usually there are temporary tattoos or bookmarks or something like that, so in that way, I really appreciate the creativity here.  That said… I have no idea what I’m going to do with it.  It’s not something I would personally hang, but when it’s ironed out, I suppose it would work just fine as a photo prop, like the silk scarf above.

 

Finally, the book!  As I mentioned above, I figured out early on what the book would be this month and was excited for it.  This exclusive edition is beautiful and right on point for the mood of the book.  Even so, I think I like the original colors better, because while this is a dark book, the white background feels more like the physical atmosphere of the novel.  This is just personal taste, though, and I genuinely like this cover as well!  If you aren’t already familiar with Wicked Saints, here’s the description.

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.

 

You can also check out my early review here.

Even though I was very excited for the book included in this one, I think this box as a whole was a bust for me!  The only item I really liked was the socks, and it was more because they are a useful item than because they were extraordinary.  I’m also a bit disappointed that two of the items in this box were inspired by the Grishaverse – the socks and the scarf.  I like the Grishaverse well enough, but these days you’re hard-pressed to find a box that doesn’t include an item from it.

That said, I am really excited for the May Crate!  The theme is EPIC ADVENTURES and they’ve already promised a Stardust-inspired item.  Stardust is my FAVORITE Neil Gaiman book and sooooo underloved, so I can’t wait to see what that is!

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What is your favorite dark fantasy?  Wicked Saints is a gritty,  chilling dark fantasy and a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon… have you read something similar?  Give me your recs in the comments!

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6 responses to “The Dark Side // April OwlCrate Unboxing // SPOILERS!

    • Amber

      Since you’re in the UK, I suggest either FairyLoot or Illumicrate! They’re both really good, and it’s fun to get book mail. 😊

  1. Wow, thanks for the in-depth look inside your OwlCrate box! I’ve been curious as to what they include, so I appreciate it. I just gave my mom a book subscription box for Mother’s Day – My Coffee and Book Club from Cratejoy – and she was thrilled!

    Thanks for the inside look!

    Sue

    Book By Book

    • Amber

      You’re welcome! I always go hunting for unboxings before I try a product to get an idea of if I want to buy it. There’s a lot out there for OwlCrate, so I’m also trying to reveal some of the smaller boxes as well, like the MLC Co. unboxing from last week. Hopefully they’ll help people decide whether or not a box is right for them! 🙂

  2. This post makes me want to get owlcrate even more! I’ve been seeing it everywhere recently and I know you didn’t like some of it but it just looks so cool!

    • Amber

      I think it’s great that there are different items that would appeal to different people. Generally speaking, I LOVE OwlCrate’s curation and if you’re on the fence, I say good for it! It’s a really solid box.