My First Illumicrate Unboxing and Review

I know a million people post Illumicrate unboxing videos and photos, but I recently got my first box, so I couldn’t resist. Especially because a spot for the monthly Illumicrate box opened up for me on the same day my federal student loans were discharged through the PSLF program!

(In case you’re not familiar with Illumicrate, it’s a monthly subscription box that includes a speculative novel and other book-themed items.)

The theme for March is “Fantasea.” I’ll cut right to the chase: I love everything that came in this box! I haven’t had a chance to read the book (Fathomfolk by Eliza Chan), but it has kelpies and sea dragons, so I’m sold.

You can view the Illumicrate unboxing video I posted on Instagram by clicking here.

Illumicrate unboxing: A photo of the case art of Fathomfolk. The book is open so you can see the entire case. On the left is a large sea dragon coming out of the water, and on the right, you can see the town depicted in the book.

This gorgeous edition of Fathomfolk absolutely blew me away. Beautiful books is a big part of the reason I joined the Illumicrate waiting list, but the photos I saw didn’t prepare me for how exquisite this book is.

From the endpapers to the case art to the foiled dust jacket to the sprayed edges, this book is a work of art. It’s so pretty I can hardly stand it. The case art shown in the photo above is by Danlin Zhang.

Illumicrate unboxing: A photo of all the items in the March 2024 Illumicrate box. From left to right is the book, the book jacket, the transparent sticky notes, the plant pot, and then the ceramic book-shaped pot.

The Fantasea box came with four additional items: a mythical sea creatures book pot, a Fathomfolk-themed plant pot, and a kraken-themed book jacket, and transparent sticky notes.

All four items are pretty spectacular, but the two pots are my favorite. I love house plants, and have about a dozen cuttings waiting for pots right now. The plant pot has a kelpie on it, and will definitely get a place of honor somewhere among my other house plants.

Apparently there’s a whole series of ceramic book-shaped pots. I can easily see this becoming my next obsession. Prices on the secondary market seem high, but honestly, these things are so cool it’s kind of understandable.

The book jacket will be useful for keeping the corners of hardcovers nice and crisp while traveling (or even just carrying books around the house). And one can never have enough sticky notes! Never! I was surprised at how easy it is to write on these with a regular old ball point pen. I can definitely see myself using them to take notes while I read.

I’m already looking forward to next month’s box. In the meantime, I’ll be curled up on my couch with a mug of tea and this gorgeous copy of Fathomfolk!