Illumicrate wasn’t subtle about this one. Most book boxes keep their book a secret, dropping hints, but the people at Illumicrate were so excited about this box that they announced the book almost two months ahead of time. So, I don’t feel like I’m surprising anyone when I say that that the FINAL FRONTIER box was based around the book of the month, Aurora Rising.
Before I go on, to the lovely folks new to my unboxings, a little about Illumicrate!
This unboxing is not sponsored in any way. I do these to give folks an idea of what to expect when they purchase from this company. I generally like Illumicrate, but I am not a rep for this company. If you’re interested in trying Illumicrate, this is a UK-based book box and ships monthly. The themes are announced a couple months in advance, so plenty of time to decide if you’re interested in the monthly theme.
Illumicrate recently announced a book-only option, which doesn’t include swag but does include the special edition of the book. This option is available in 3 month (£49.00) and 6 month (£97.00) subscriptions. This review is the full box option, which starts at £26.00 for a month. For US readers, this translates to ~$33.12, plus shipping.
So, I normally don’t post such a casual picture of the box, but I just want to show that DHL destroyed this box before it arrived to me. The folks at Illumicrate had packed it tightly and there were no breakables this month, so we had no casualties. Plus, I triple-checked, and everything came in. I just wanted to share this, because it good to know that if the shippers destroy things, you know your merch will be okay.
My first item here is a full-size Illuminae pillowcase, much like the one that OwlCrate included. This item is double-sided, designed by Alice Duke and @chattynora. You know, this is the second time an item I’ve never seen appeared in an OwlCrate, and then I get it again in Illumicrate – the first was the Umbrella. The artwork on this is lovely, but I really won’t use this item? Like I mentioned in my OwlCrate unboxing, I’m a bit beyond the point where I’m going to use illustrated pillowcases? So while I can see where others would appreciate this item, it’s not strictly for me.
Item #2 is a faux leather pouch with an illustration by @iparwing of the Aurora Rising team. In the spoiler booklet, the Illumicrate folks suggest using the pouch for storing your phone or sunglasses. It really does look a bit like an eyeglass pouch. Again, this is an item that isn’t really for me, but I’m sure many others will find a use for it!
The next item is a Red Rising themed metal luggage tag designed by Fable & Black. On one hand, I appreciate that this is a metal luggage tag and therefore a bit more hardy… but on the other hand, I have so many luggage tags from these boxes, I don’t know what to do with them all. I don’t pack this heavily when I travel! 🙂 So this item is a miss for me, too.
Also designed by Fable & Black are little pennant-shaped sticky notes. The design on these is adorable. This is a useful item, but not one I think I’ll use. They’re a little too big for flags (which I don’t use) and they’re too small for a real post-it note? I’m definitely going to keep them and who knows, I may find a use for them! I really like the design on them.
Illumicrate is starting a collectible line (this is becoming so common in book boxes). I’m not really the type who is aiming to collect them all, so I’m not entirely heartbroken when I go on to say that I have no interest in these? Illumicrate’s collectibles are illustrated magnetic coins. This month’s is also from Illuminae and was designed by @monolime.
This month included a small cooler bag with a repeating pattern inspired by The Lunar Chronicles, designed by Jo Painter. This is probably the most useful item, perfect for a snack and a couple drinks to take to the beach. I actually do like this item, largely because I don’t have anything like it. I haven’t used it yet, so I can’t speak to quality, but it seems good.
As always, Illumicrate includes its samplers. This month, we have samplers for The Furies and Emily Eternal. As I’ve mentioned before, samplers are completely wasted on me, but the books do sound interesting on their own.
Finally, this month’s book!
As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, this month’s book is Aurora Rising. As usual, Illumicrate has worked with the publisher to create an exclusive edition, in this case replacing the purple with the pink. As a fan of purple (surprise!) I’m a bit bummed that it’s not purple… but the pink is really pretty. I think they’ve done a good job with the color change. Their exclusive editions are always beautiful – I do tend to like them better than OwlCrate’s.
In case there’s anyone who isn’t already familiar with Aurora Rising, here’s the blurb from Goodreads:
The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch:
A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass tech-whiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into her squad leader, in case you were wondering
And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.
In review, this is the first time I have to admit, I didn’t like this month’s box. For one, most the items didn’t appeal to me personally. Then, looking at the fandoms used, we have one of the largest items from Aurora Rising itself, and we have two items from Illuminae. People who love these fandoms are going to be head-over-heels for the items in this box. Unfortunately, I haven’t read any of the books represented and all the references are lost on me. There are quite a few other YA sci-fi books that the company could have pulled from rather than doubling-up.
All that said, I don’t expect every box will be a win. I’m completely okay with this box not being a good fit for me. I do have a six month subscription, so I will be back with more unboxings for the next few months still. 😉