I liked the initial premise of LitCube when I first signed up almost a year ago. Issues with the fulfillment company being used, combined with too many YA books caused me to cancel my subscription back in August. I still keep an eye out for themed months that look interesting and are adult books, because while YA can be good, so much of it these days is cookie cutter and droll. This month's theme was Mother of All Dragons, and there was a pillowcase spoiler, so though I cancelled my Stars Hollow box last month due to ongoing shipping issues and a shift toward FunkoPops, which are not my thing, I decided that this one sounded interesting enough to get as a one time purchase box.
The cost: $34.95 US - includes shipping.
It was promoted as having an "epic fantasy" novel - adult, not YA, and not Game of Thrones (GoT), though that was the premise of the theme.
Since I have all the GoT books (though I haven't had a chance to work my way through all of them yet, I figured this was worthwhile.
Adult epic fantasy - I couldn't imagine what it would be - since, to me, epic fantasy means something that is truly epic, something that has withstood the test of time....and I have a lot of those, but I figured, with the spoiler item, a pillowcase, I'd take a chance on a duplicate.
The box came in the mail today.
I opened it before taking this picture to see what was going on, which is why it is not fully closed.
This is the front of the info card. Some people collect these. If I need a bookmark, I use this for a time, otherwise it generally goes in the trash.
The back of the info card, detailing what all came in the box. Right off the bat, the prices are not, to me, an accurate representation.
This necklace isn't a $12.99 necklace. It's more like a five dollar necklace. It's cheap, lightweight, and a real disappointment. For comparison:
This is a solid pewter dragon claw necklace holding a polished stone, with an actual chain. It was between $10-15 at Spencer's back in the mid-1990s. This is a worthwhile necklace. As you can see in the pictures - there's no comparison. Luckily, I kept all my high school jewelry, so, I can wear a decent looking one any time I like. The necklace that came in the box will go in the junk jewelry box for the kids. It's not worth the cost, and, in comparison, you can see why it was such a huge disappointment for me.
A promo pen came with the book. No value listed on the card, but it's not a great pen. It fits comfy in the hand, but writing with it tells a different tale:
The pen writes rough - that's the best way to describe it. No smooth writing here. It'll go in my purse so if it gets lost at the store it's not a favorite pen. That's where all the crappy pens live.
The book. Has a release date of 1/17/17, though there are a lot of reviews up online because, from those reviews, the publishers gave away a TON of copies of this book for free in order to get people to review it. The card says $15.99. Target has it on sale for $10.99. Again - an overstatement of value. It's - wait for it - yet another retelling of Pride and Prejudice. That's neither epic, nor fantasy. Just because you throw in some dragons doesn't make it fantasy, just like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies wasn't horror just because they threw in some zombies. As a non-Austen fan (the zombies made the story better, in my opinion), I doubt this will be my thing. I also have an issue with labeling this epic fantasy, as it hasn't even come out yet. Other reviews call this a "debut historical fantasy" novel, which is more accurate. I read a review of this book written by someone else who is not a fan of Austen, and they say the dragons improve the story, so I'll give it a shot, but I was disappointed in the selection.
Signed bookplate by the author. As I only really care about signed copies of books that I actually enjoy, the inclusion of this doesn't really mean anything for me.
The snack this month was nachos. The chips (above) and the cheese (below) are listed at a $2.50 value. Ummm...nope. A four pack of cheese like this is for sale in the grocery store for $2.38, and though it's only sort of visible on the side (below), you can see where this was snapped off from a multipack as well, so, no, again, the value is overstated. The chip brand is a good one, but that's $0.58 at the store, so I'm not sure where Peggy (owner of Lit Cube) got the pricing on this.
Side note: This cheese tastes like Rico's brand nacho cheese. It's not spicy, it's just cheese. 30 - 45 seconds in the microwave, and though it doesn't look it, the lid does have metal in it, so be sure to take that off before heating.
Next is a wall scroll. It's small - my keyboard is in the picture for size, and the artistry isn't that great, but I have themed tapestries up in my library, so it can stay for now. Aside from the artwork, the rest of the wall scroll is high quality - I'd not say it's a $9.99 wall scroll, since that's how much full sized wall scrolls go for, with people sized (~5'7" sized) wall scrolls (Sephiroth) going for $17. So, ten seems overpriced, but I would say this would be about $5.99 in a store.
And we get to the last item - the pillowcase. I wish it came with two - since one pillowcase is a little weird. It's a queen sized pillowcase, and while it doesn't say thread count, it feels comparable to my sheets that are 1000 count. It's very soft and the embroidery is well done. This will get some use, and since this is the reason I purchased the box, I'm pleased to see that it was high quality. I don't know if I would say $14.99 - more like $8-9 since there's just the one. Still, when you like the quality of something, you're often willing to pay a bit more, so I would say that with the custom embroidery, this might not be that far off in pricing, certainly not to the degree of the other items in the box.
All in all, I'm still glad I cancelled my subscription, as the value's really not there, but the spoiler was enough to make me get this box, and though I'm not as pleased as I wanted to be with it, I'm not exactly displeased either. If it is viewed from the perspective of a $35 grab bag, then it was fun enough, but not enough to where I'm going to resubscribe again.
As an additional note - Peggy got fed up with the fulfillment companies in December; they cost her a lot of business (mine included), and she rented a warehouse and went back to filling them on her own. This box got here before it was scheduled to, and it shipped almost five days early, which was nice. If she can keep it up, and work on increasing the value of the items, or at least not overstating the value of the items, I might be willing to try some other one off purchases again.
Labels: book subscription box, subscription box review