Quarterly Literary YA Subscription Box Review + Coupon – October 2017
This is one of two literary boxes offered by Quarterly. (They also have a fiction box for adults.) The YA Fiction box features novels from a new noteworthy YA author each quarter, as well as handwritten notes and other bookish goodies.
My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes).
The Subscription Box: Quarterly YA Box
The Cost: $49 a box + $8 shipping (ships every quarter)
The Products: At least 2 YA books in every box plus book-ish goodies.
Ships to: US and International
This box includes a letter from this month’s featured author, Julie C. Dao, about how she curated the box and other inspirational info. Her note introduces us to the box’s three books, which all have a theme of strong female characters. This got me really excited to explore this month’s literature!
There’s also a bookmark from PageHabit, another book subscription box. I’m guilty of reading multiple books at once, so extra bookmarks are always good to have around.
PageHabit also provides some information about their October selections and the ways they’re helping out causes in The Democratic Republic of Congo.
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns Compact Mirror – Estimated Value $5?
This compact mirror is designed to look like the cover of the featured novel this month. What a useful little bookish gift!
The top mirror is “regular,” while the bottom one is magnified.
Carrying this mirror around is an awesomely functional way to rep your love for literature.
Heart Keychain by I Heart Guts – Retail Value $7
I love the little heart dude on this keychain! The brand I Heart Guts sells plushies, tees, stickers, and more, all featuring friendly organs. The heart one is pretty universal, I’d say!
Gotta hand it to our hearts for keeping things movin’ and groovin’ on the inside, right? I often carry my keys clipped to my belt loop, so I’m not much of a keychain-carrier, but I have a friend in med school who will love it. I can’t wait to see her expression when I give her this awesome little companion!
Are you ready for this month’s featured book?…
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is featured author Julie C. Dao’s debut title. The cover art is so intriguing and the note that it’s a “Rise of the Empress” novel leads me to believe it’s the first in a series. You can see from the first photo that this book came with a sticky note handwritten by Ms. Dao herself. I love this personal touch. As a writer and a fellow woman, I’m finding myself feeling so giddy for the author for the achievement of publishing her first book!
Book Summary on Amazon:
The Wrath and the Dawn meets Snow White and the Huntsman in this dark and mystical East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl’s quest to become Empress.
“A richly developed fantasy world . . . Julie C. Dao is a talent to watch.”—Marie Lu, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Young Elites
Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her.
Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high? Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.
Set in an East Asian-inspired fantasy world filled with both breathtaking pain and beauty, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns possesses all the hallmarks of masterful fantasy: dazzling magic, heartbreaking romance, and a world that hangs in the balance. Fans of Heartless, Stealing Snow, and Red Queen will devour this stunning debut.
I was genuinely grabbed by this novel from the very first sentence. Dao’s language is rich with imagery and pulled me into the scene instantly. It isn’t uncommon for the first 50 pages of a book to feel like trudging through necessary, but dry background info; Forest is a total exception.
Dao’s personality really shines through her sticky note annotations! She seems so lighthearted and fun, which is a really neat contrast from her novel’s use of vivid, resonant, full-bodied language. For me, this realization added a new depth and texture to the book and shone a light on how good Dao is at her craft.
This autograph bookplate is going right into my copy of Forest!
This is the first of two paperback books chosen by Dao to be included in this box. The cover is striking, in part thanks to gold foil accents. So snazzy! One of the first things I noticed when I opened the cover and started reading is that the text is printed in a really pleasing-to-the-eye serif font. It’s a touch that’s subtle but enhances the experience for me.
Book Summary on Amazon:
A #1 New York Times Bestseller!
“A riveting Game of Thrones meets Arabian Nights love story.” – US Weekly
Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.
She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.
The prologue opens with an intense interaction between a father and son, which foreshadowed an action-packed book ahead. The first chapter jumps right into a gal (who is presumably the main character) being gussied up to meet the ruler. Ahdieh masterfully contrasts the glitz and glamour of the scene with the character’s quick wit and drive, which I found to be a beautifully refreshing and redeeming way of depicting a female character in a storyline. I’ve heard such amazing things about this book and I can’t wait to read on!
Finally, one last book by a female author. Yay! The block lettering and bold insignia on the cover make this bestseller feel really intense from the getgo.
Book Summary on Amazon:
“Legend doesn’t merely survive the hype, it deserves it.”
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Young Elites
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.
Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.
Lu does something really unique with this book in that she alternates points of view between the two main characters, June and Day. June’s moments in the spotlight are printed in a classic, black serif font; Day’s are in an olive green color and a more modern-looking font. I loved exploring the ways Lu changed her writing style as she oscillated between speakers.
The storyline itself strikes me as being a little darker than the other two, but that might be because it’s set in a post-apocalyptic version of the country that I’m from, and therefore hits a little closer to home. To be honest, my instinct is to avoid stories like this and opt for happier tales—or at least ones that deal with the harsh realities of our present society and suggest how to possibly fix them instead of speculating on the aftermath of the destruction, but then again, I really gained a lot from reading 1984, so I might just have to muscle through this one!
Moon Night Light – Retail Value $7.82
Super into this moon night light! I’m a real rule-breaker with night lights and instead usually use them in the morning—they provide a nice, soft glow before I’m ready to confront the harshness of the overhead light.
I already have this bad boy plugged into my wall and ready to usher me peacefully into my morning tomorrow!
I’ve heard of these morph mugs, but never actually experienced one. They’re pretty dang cool! On this one, the cup looks like a cherry blossom branch, then when you add a hot drink, pink flowers appear.
Verdict: I had a positive experience with the Quarterly Literary YA Fiction box! This box has a retail value of around $79 (less with sale prices), which is a great value for a $57 box. Keep in mind that paying full price for books benefits the authors (and, these are three authors I totally want to support!), and the added value of having the featured author’s annotations is such a priceless, specialized experience. The additional goodies accompanying the books were fun, character-filled surprises that I can’t wait to use. Overall, I was really happy with the October box.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Yes, as of publication, this box was still available!
Coupon – Use this link to save $10 off of your first box!
Value Breakdown: At $57 for this box, here’s what you are paying approximately per item:
- Forest of a Thousand Lanterns Compact Mirror: $3.62
- Heart Keychain by I Heart Guts: $5.06
- Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao: $13.74
- The Wrath & the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh: $7.95
- Legend by Marie Lu: $7.95
- Moon Night Light: $5.66
- Blossom Morph Mug: $13.02
What do you think of this month’s Literary YA Fiction box?