Armed & Dangerous: An August 2019 Illumicrate Unboxing

Posted September 20, 2019 by Amber in Unboxings / 4 Comments


Good mourningly beautiful monsters!  I hope everyone is having a marvelous day!  Today I’m going to be sharing an unboxing of Illumicrate’s August box.  This month, the theme was Armed & Dangerous.  The general vibe for this seemed to be half weapons, and half dangerous characters?  It’s a bit of a loose theme, as you’ll see when we get to the items, but “armed and dangerous” has a general… fighterly feel?  You’ll see!

Now for the technical details!

This post is in no way sponsored.  I have a six-month Illumicrate subscription and I just choose to share these unboxing here on the blog because I love seeing unboxing posts if I’m thinking about subscribing to something, so… if you’re thinking about Illumicrate, here’s an example!

As for the specs…

  • There are 1 (full box only), 3, and 6-month subscriptions.
  • You can sign up for the full box (£26.00 + shipping/mo.), or the book-only option (£49.00 + shipping/3mo.)
  • There are also debut boxes, a special pin subscription, virtual book signings w/ special edition books, and special edition boxes.
  • Boxes contain an exclusive edition of the book and 4-6 additional items.
  • Boxes ship by the 20th of the month.

Alrighty, lets get to business!


The first item I pulled out is this A Darker Shade of Magic mug by @rosiethorns88.  Right off the bat, I can tell you this was my favorite item in the box.  Mugs are always useful items for me – you can use them for their intended purpose, but even if you have too many *raises hand* they can be used as planters.  You could even make candles in a mug if you wanted!  So I like this item.  I also like the design on it!  It’s so bright and red and striking.

Next, a bottle opener inspired by Scythe created by Dust and Pages.  I don’t drink anything where this would be useful, but it’s such a cool item, I kind of want to keep it as a paperweight?  Also, at this point I want to point out that this box isn’t really… YA?  I’m not sure if they ever called themselves YA, but the last couple months’ books have been more… new adult?  This month’s is adult. And the bottle opener wouldn’t quite be appropriate for YA subscribers? That said, I’m biased, as the legal drinking age in the US is 21, whereas it’s 18 in the UK, where this box is based.  And I’m sure there are … non alcoholic beverages in bottles?  I don’t see many but there are… some.


The Illumicrate team is calling this bright yellow monstrosity a “weapons bag”.  The little insignia on it was created by chatty nora and it’s… it’s very yellow, y’all.  It’s not quite big enough for a book so I guess it’s good for… carrying around smallish things?  You might be able to fit one of those small mass market paperbacks inside, and a granola bar.

Have I mentioned that Illumicrate is driving me crazy with the way it doesn’t put the fandom name in things?  I do a lot of guessing here.  I have no clue what this bath and shower gel is inspired by, but it was created by Lovely Skincare and is very, very bright green.  This month’s box is brought to you by bright colors!  And yes, it definitely smells like Granny Smith apples.

!! Okay wait, yeah, I got it!  It’s inspired by Red Sister by Mark Lawrence.  I’ve never even heard of that one – any fans?  Points for an unknown (to me) fandom here!


Okay, so on one hand, the container and the design on this is just… rubbish.  It’s very cheaply made, to the point of feeling like a Dollar Store item.  I don’t know what vendor Hey Atlas Creative x Illumicrate used, but it did not work out.  On the other hand, I really appreciate this complete stainless steel utensil set because I’m trying to be more environmentally conscious and this is a great thing to toss in my purse.  Also for camping!  Except I don’t go camping *makes a face*.

This month’s collectible coin features Lila Bard from A Darker Shade of Magic.  Lila is portrayed twice in items in this box and that was a sort of interesting choice, I guess, because the two artist renditions are pretty different.  Also, the points I gave them for using the Red Sister fandom are nullified by the fact they went for A Darker Shade of Magic twice.  C’mon, guys!


Completely unfamiliar with this book, but it does sound like it could be a bit funny?  The description definitely gives me from urban fantasy vibes.  Otherwise, I don’t have a lot of feelings about Gideon the Ninth.  It quite seems like there will be necromancers, so that could be good?

From Goodreads:

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.

Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as necromantic skeletons. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

Of course, some things are better left dead.


Also, they included this collectible card set based on the book?  I’m not sure how many cards there are supposed to be or if you’re supposed to trade them?  I got all but the first house… and I’m not super interested in these.  Box boxes are totally failing to bring me in on collectible items, guys.

I thought that this box was a bit all over the place.  I think the most on-theme item was the scythe bottle opener, and I guess you can argue that the cutlery is a weapon?  The mug is completely off-theme.  Incidentally, everything in this box altogether – bag, utensils, mug, shampoo, bottle opener, book – is good for a camping trip?  But I don’t get “armed and dangerous” vibes at all.  I don’t have any feelings about this book yet, but it does have beautiful black stained pages so that’s… cool?  I guess this is a bit of a “meh” box for me.

“Meh” isn’t too bad!


What was your favorite fandom this month?  The only book represented here that I’ve read is A Darker Shade of Magic, and I liked it a lot!  I really like the mug 🙂 .  Let me know your favorite(s) in the comments!

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4 responses to “Armed & Dangerous: An August 2019 Illumicrate Unboxing

  1. Okay, first off, I just have to say, I LOVE the background of your photos. What is that?? A wall? Wallpaper? Where did you get it?

    I got this box too! I love Illumicrate because they’re the only book subscription box that includes adult fantasy releases. I like that they mix it up.

    Did you say you use mugs as…candles?

    I feel the same about the bottle opener; I have no use for it but it just looks so cool! I guess it could just be a decorative shelf item. And I COMPLETELY agree re: the stainless steel utensils container. It feels exactly like a dollar store item.

    I LOL’d at your comment about the yellow bag, haha. Yellow is one of my favorite colors so I did like the color, but I find the bag to be a weird size…like, it’s too small to really hold anything properly but too big to be a purse that goes in a larger bag?? So I’m not quite sure what to do with it.

    • Amber

      Oh NO. What I actually somehow wrote was CALENDAR. *facepalm* I meant planter, not sure how that happened! But candles, yes, you can! anything heat resistant like that. 🙂 I make new candles out of the leavings of my old ones and ceramic was one of the approved container materials! 🙂

      I’m glad to hear that we agree on so many of the items!! I am glad you like the yellow of the bag, though. 😉

      My background is actually a 20″x30″ canvas that I painted purple and splattered with gold paint! I use to use if for bookstagram but then I got lazy about my scheduling. I still keep it because it makes a cool backdrop and is on theme. 😉 You can create so many different, cool looking background it you paint a large, flat surface! 😀

    • Amber

      I’m so glad you like it! Subscription boxes are really hit or miss depending on the company, the theme, and what you like! It’s so smart to do your research and figure out their usual offerings before you buy. 😀 Happy hunting!