OwlCrate is a YA book subscription box. Each month they send you a newly released YA book along with some bookish goodies.
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This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
About OwlCrate YA
The Subscription Box: OwlCrate YA
The Cost: $32.99 + shipping. Save with longer subscriptions.
The Products: A new YA book and 3-5 book-related goodies. Recommended for ages 14+.
Ships to: The U.S. for $8.99, Canada for $14.99, and varying international rates
OwlCrate YA "Magic Unleashed" February 2021 Review
Each box comes with a card detailing the theme and the items included. This month’s theme is “Magic Unleashed."
We received this booklet featuring an interview with the author and one of this month's vendors along with a fun crossword puzzle. They also included some information about their monthly photo challenge and a link to a Spotify playlist.
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna - Retail Value $18.99 (found here for $15.39)
Our book features an exclusive cover and I just love the way it looks! It really is stunning, but what's even better is the story it holds. This book is also signed by the author, and I love that she used gold, which is so fitting of this tale!
Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.
But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.
Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire's greatest threat.
Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she's ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.
I could not put this book down! It was so good! Yes, it is dark and graphic at times, but the result was an uplifting story about true femininity and what it is to embrace who you are.
Right from the start, we are introduced to Deka, a meek girl living in a patriarchal society where men are the ones who place value on women and tell them what they are worthy of. They hold a "ritual" that determines whether these girls are pure, ready for marriage, and where their place in life should lie. Their fate rests in the hands of these men and their ideas leaving the women complacent and with no say in the matter. When the "ritual" goes awry and is taken over by the fearsome Deathshrieks, it becomes apparent that Deka's blood does not run pure, but instead runs gold. After surviving 9 gruesome deaths at the hands of some of the men she thought she could trust, including her own father, she is then given a choice to become a soldier in the emperor's army to fight the Deathshrieks that threaten them. Here she is introduced to a new world where girls can run, gain respect, be themselves, and most importantly, fight for themselves. She meets others like her and for the first time in her life she feels like she belongs somewhere and she begins to have actual hope for life and maybe even for love as she finds her place and discovers more about herself.
The events are surprising, the storyline felt original, and it was exciting and compelling. While there are some gory details in this story, they serve to emphasize the horrors that these women face. There are so many underlying themes here that are represented in a new way, tales of female oppression and even abuse (both physical and sexual, although only the physical encounters are described in some detail). It's such a creative way to dive into these deep topics, but with a fantasy twist that draws you in and engages you on a whole new level. I couldn't help but cheer Deka on as she discovered her voice and realized her own worth.
We received this letter from the author, and I am so glad I read it before going into the story. It perfectly describes what her goals were and now that I have finished the book, I can see that this story is all of what she described and more!
OwlCrate Exclusive! Book Tin
This is not the first time that I have received a book tin in this subscription, but this one is larger than the others. It looks like this is actually going to be the first of a series of these tins inspired by the Shades of Magic series. This design comes from Forensics and Flowers. I love the red with the detailed gold lines everywhere, as well the way the spine mimics a book. This has me wishing I had a giant row of bookcases so that I could hide this between my books and store treasures and trinkets inside!
OwlCrate Exclusive! Poison Kitchen Souvenir Keychain
This keychain is a faux souvenir from the Poison Kitchen restaurant from Daughter of Smoke and Bones. While I'm not familiar with this book, I can certainly appreciate this gorgeous design from Lively Ghosts!
OwlCrate Exclusive! Hairbrush
This hairbrush was inspired by Star Daughter, a book we received in our August 2020 box. I think the design is so pretty and the white and purple is a great combination. The hairbrush works nicely, too! This is a unique item I wouldn't have expected, but it certainly is a useful one!
OwlCrate Exclusive! Zipper Pouch
This zipper pouch is so pretty! I love the colors and the design from By Chenelle which is so unique. It features a great quote from Legendborn, a book we received in our October 2020 box, but it is also so fitting of our story from this month, too! The outside of this is made from a soft pleather material and it's a decent size - my new hairbrush even fits inside!
OwlCrate Exclusive! Bath Salts
I always love receiving bath salts in a box! It's one item I will always use and most definitely enjoy. This jar comes from The Soap Librarian and features sea salt, chamomile, lavender, lemongrass, orange peel, rose, and hibiscus. The result is a sweet, bright scent that will make for a relaxing bath!
OwlCrate Exclusive! Monthly Enamel Pin
Each month you'll receive an enamel pin to go along with your book. This month's design comes from Icey Designs and it features an important symbol from our book.
Verdict: This was another great curation from OwlCrate this month! I really, really enjoyed the book this month and couldn't put it down, plus I just love how beautiful it is with the stunning exclusive cover we received. My favorite items this month are the zippered pouch and the hairbrush, and I'm really looking forward to using those bath salts! The book tin is really cool, but I'm still trying to decide where and how I'll use it! This box felt like another very special curation with all of the exclusively designed items and it's always amazing to see all of the talent from the vendors they use! This box recently increased in price to $32.99 which makes it $41.98 total with the $8.99 shipping. Considering our book costs $18.99, that leaves $22.99 for all of our exclusive goodies, which I think is worth it. Honestly, I enjoyed the book so much that it would be hard for me not to find the value in this month's curation!
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, this was the February box, but you can join the waitlist for the March box here.
Value Breakdown: This box costs $41.98 ($32.99 + $8.99 shipping), which means that each of the 7 items in the box has an average cost of about $5.43.
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What did you think of OwlCrate this month?
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