Unboxing: Illumicate November Clever Ruse box

Today I got my Illumicrate Clever Ruse box and I have to say I’m kind of disappointed. It was their 3rd anniversary box and I was hoping for something a little more special than normal.  It’s all subjective though and I have seen people posting about how much they loved the box so It just goes to show you can’t please everyone – I just wish I had saved the money.

The main item this month was a Mulan inpired scarf, it’s got a gorgeous Asian design around a girl archer riding a horse – it bright and colourful and has a satin feel. The square design though would make it more appropriate as a wall hanging or IG backdrop, than a wearable though, but I suppose it all comes down to how you wear your scarves!  The next out of the box was a Caraval/Night Circus inspired banner – I think this would have most practical benefit as a pin flag.  It’s striped like a big top in gold and black, the bold design though would mean that smaller pins could get a bit lost, but it’s super sparkly and the fabric is good quality so would be great for patches too. One cute and really practical item this month was a drink cosy, thick enough to stop your hands burning and also enough to insulate your drink.  This featured a scene from All the Boys I have loved Before, which I know is a favourite of people who run Illumicrate, just not mine!

Illumicrate have also been working a lot recently with Fable and Black, running their pin club together, which is why I was surprised that the item from them this month was a necklace.  Inspired by the Throne of Glass Series and the stag of Terrasan.  I know that they were planning this before Bloombury announced their pre-order pin incentive for Kingdom of Ash and it looks like they changed it from a pin to a necklace, I would have loved it if it had remained a pin! Final bookish item was a woodmark inspired by Warcross by Marie Lu, it has the quote “every locked door has a key” its a really lovely rainbow design – Warcoss is one of those books that I keep thinking about getting, I’m just thinking of the wonderful IG pics I could do with this 🙂

The Book!  Well we got 2 books this month, the first is a gorgeous hardback edition of Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean, it has sprayed edges and it came with a signed book plate. I love that I have another Asian inspired book to read, as I love the culture and it’s so lovely to have books in a different setting.  I also think that this is only published in the UK via Illumicrate. We also got a copy of Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce, which is an older book and the first of a series – I think this is because Illumicrate weren’t able to get an arc for this month.  Even so I’m really pleased to have got 2 books.

Blurb for Empress of All Seasons

Each generation, a competition is held to find the next empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Marry the prince. All are eligible to compete—all except yōkai, supernatural monsters and spirits whom the human emperor is determined to enslave and destroy. 
Mari has spent a lifetime training to become empress. Winning should be easy. And it would be, if she weren’t hiding a dangerous secret. Mari is a yōkai with the ability to transform into a terrifying monster. If discovered, her life will be forfeit. As she struggles to keep her true identity hidden, Mari’s fate collides with that of Taro, the prince who has no desire to inherit the imperial throne, and Akira, a half-human, half-yōkai outcast.
Torn between duty and love, loyalty and betrayal, vengeance and forgiveness, the choices of Mari, Taro, and Akira will decide the fate of Honoku in this beautifully written, edge-of-your-seat YA fantasy.

Blurb for Wild Magic

Young Daine’s knack with horses gets her a job helping the royal horsemistress drive a herd of ponies to Tortall. Soon it becomes clear that Daine’s talent, as much as she struggles to hide it, is downright magical. Horses and other animals not only obey, but listen to her words. Daine, though, will have to learn to trust humans before she can come to terms with her powers, her past, and herself.

So that was this November’s Illumicrate, the Scarf was probably my favourite of the items but sadly the rest of it fell short for me.  I do feel that sometimes that their quarterly boxes suffer a little from all the time they spend curating their special edition boxes, but as I said at the start – plenty of people have loved this box, so it’s likely that it just wasn’t cup of tea this time round.

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