Many book boxes are monthly subscriptions that feature a surprise title. And while The YA Chronicles, based out of Australia, does have a monthly service like that, they also occasionally offer one-time boxes for highly anticipated titles, allowing readers to know they’re getting a preorder of what they want plus additional swag. So despite the wallet-draining experience of shipping something from Australia to the US, I jumped on the one-time A Court of Wings and Ruin (by the lovely Sarah J. Maas) box back in February, waited an interminable length of time for the May 2 book release, then waited some more for my box to make its way around the world. BUT IT FINALLY GOT HERE.
Well, back up a step. It got here, but the Husband Unit (who always gets home before me) held it hostage until we did something about the mountain of dishes in the sink that I swear just appeared and I had absolutely nothing to do with. Womankind has never known such motivation.
All subscription boxes seem to have super fun custom packaging, and The YA Chronicles is no exception. Carefully open the box, and we’re greeted with black tissue paper. Crinkle crinkle fancy! It’s an exercise in self-control to not just dump the contents out, but carefully examine each item to give it full appreciation and draw out this pseudo-Christmas as long as possible.
The three things I won’t go into are the YA Chronicles bookmark and card detailing all the items, plus the Sarah J. Maas promo bookmark that probably came from the publisher. They’re all in the top picture if you’re dying to get a look at them. Other than those, first out of the box is a candle from Kool & Co on Etsy. It’s a custom-made, exclusive High Lady of the Night Court scent, which apparently means “rain, tulips, vanilla and green leaves.” I’m not going to debate the particulars of what rain and green leaves smell like, but dang this thing smells good. I’m a fan of flower scents, and this one is nice and strong despite only being 2 oz.
Next is this TOTALLY ADORABLE Baby Rhysand sticker by Taratjah on Redbubble. Since you’re undoubtedly overcome by cuteness, I’ll say that you can get this design printed on pretty much anything, and if I see you wearing a hoodie of it I will either be your new best friend or I’ll steal it off your back.
This custom bookmark from Read and Wonder on Etsy brings us back to the swoon-worthy parts of this series. 10/10 love but may not regularly use as a bookmark for fear of damaging the corners.
TOTE LIFE. Very nice Night Court tote by Paperly and Co. on Etsy with the most quotable quote of all ACOMAF quotes. It’s worth noting that the straps are long enough that you don’t have to dislocate your elbow to get it on and off your shoulder.
And if your tote is looking bare, add a button! With a quote specific to ACOWAR, this custom, extra-large button (it’s 3 inches across, I dug in the Husband Unit’s smelly tool box to confirm) from Evie Bookish is a very nice piece of book bling. Evie’s designs are available on RedBubble and as Evie Seo on Society 6.
The charms on this custom ribbon bookmark by Charmed Fiction on Etsy are spot on for the series. The wings have little tiny roses in a small shout-out to the Spring Court, but not too much of a shout-out because YOU KNOW WHY. It’s very fitting if you’ve read ACOWAR, though. There’s a nice star to balance out the wings and provide further acknowledgment that the Night Court is the shiz.
And finally, a tandem pic of the book itself and a print of the Charlie Bowater piece that inspired the dress on the cover! Not gonna lie, when The YA Chronicles said Bowater was going to have an item in this box, that basically sealed the deal on my order. I love seeing her work on Twitter, and you can get it for yourself on Etsy (limited edition, signed pieces) and Society 6 (designs printed on whatever makes your heart go pitter pat).
So, was it worth it? For this box, I say yes. Not only because I already knew I wanted the book, but because I was interested in some of the confirmed vendors providing swag for the box. That being said, it’s not something I would make a regular habit of, as international shipping for any book box will basically double your price tag (they’ve recently changed their pricing, so I won’t go into mine). Another drawback to preordering through a box like this is it eliminates the chance to preorder special edition or personalized copies from retailers, unless you want more than one copy. This is the hardback available in Australia, so it doesn’t have the endpaper art that some US retailers carry. However, there is a YA Chronicles imprint on the title page, which I thought was fun!
A good thing about knowing the book included is that you’re still eligible for preorder campaigns, unlike monthly boxes that have mystery titles. So I still got the fun map that was ACOWAR’s preorder item!
If this sounds like your thing, they’ve already announced that they’ll be doing a one-time box for Tower of Dawn (aka Throne of Glass 6) this fall. Preorders for that will be going up on their website very shortly, and I’d venture a guess that they will sell out, as the ACOWAR box did. They’re good about putting announcements on remaining quantities on all their social media channels if you’d care to follow. They offer three options for these one-time boxes: US hardcover only, UK paperback only, or hardback+paperback, all with the same goodies included. I just got the hardcover because collecting books in multiple printings is not a path my wallet needs to start going down.*
A note for those interested who are not based in Australia – it took exactly two weeks from the first tracking email for the box to show up on my doorstep, which meant I got it a week after the book actually released. So if you decide to order the Tower of Dawn box, my pro tip would be to also get yourself on your library’s hold list so you can hopefully have it as close to release day as possible (“Prepared” is one of my many middle names). Then be prepared for vague-ish tracking capabilities – I got updated when the box was in Sydney, when it was in New York, and finally at my house many states away from NY. That’s about a week between each update, which can be killer on those of us who are used to having more frequent check-ins from deliveries. Still – it got here, the book was in pristine condition despite having circumnavigated the globe (probably thanks to the clear envelope thingy it was wrapped in), and all the extra goodies were super fun!
I don’t know if I’ll be doing the Tower of Dawn box because Chaol has a lot of work to do redeeming himself from Queen of Shadows, and I’m not sure I need swag from a book that revolves around him. Your move, Maas.
*Unless it’s Ender’s Game, in which case TAKE MY MONEY. I’m up to…six? seven?