Owlcrate February 2022 Among the Monsters Unboxing & Review: Featuring ONLY A MONSTER by Vanessa Len

I received the February 2022 “Among the Monsters” YA book subscription box from Owlcrate on Saturday! So I’m here today with some lovely photos of the highly anticipated book, Only a Monster, by Vanessa Len, as well as all the bookish items from Owlcrate. 🙂 This is my third book box from Owlcrate and I’m still overall impressed with their item selection.

About the Book

It should have been the perfect summer. Sent to stay with her late mother’s eccentric family in London, sixteen-year-old Joan is determined to enjoy herself. She loves her nerdy job at the historic Holland House, and when her super cute co-worker Nick asks her on a date, it feels like everything is falling into place.

But she soon learns the truth. Her family aren’t just eccentric: they’re monsters, with terrifying, hidden powers. And Nick isn’t just a cute boy: he’s a legendary monster slayer, who will do anything to bring them down.

As she battles Nick, Joan is forced to work with the beautiful and ruthless Aaron Oliver, heir to a monster family that hates her own. She’ll have to embrace her own monstrousness if she is to save herself, and her family. Because in this story . . .

. . . she is not the hero.

~

The sweeping romance of Passenger meets the dark fantasy edge of This Savage Song in this stunning contemporary fantasy debut from Vanessa Len, where the line between monster and hero is razor thin.

Don’t forget the rule. No one can know what you are. What we are. You must never tell anyone about monsters.

Joan has just learned the truth: her family are monsters, with terrifying, hidden powers.

And the cute boy at work isn’t just a boy: he’s a legendary monster slayer, who will do anything to destroy her family.

To save herself and her family, Joan will have to do what she fears most: embrace her own monstrousness. Because in this story…she is not the hero.

Dive deep into the world of Only a Monster: hidden worlds dwell in the shadows, beautiful monsters with untold powers walk among humans, and secrets are the most powerful weapon of all.

About the Author

Vanessa Len is an Australian author of Chinese-Malaysian and Maltese heritage. An educational editor, she has worked on everything from language learning programs to STEM resources, to professional learning for teachers. Vanessa is a graduate of the Clarion Workshop in San Diego, and she lives in Melbourne.

About the Box

Owlcrate Exclusive Edition:

  • Signed by the author Vanessa Len
  • Different take on the regular cover (replace gold with silver, and the gray heroine graphic with green)
  • Reversible dust jacket art by Graze Zhu
  • Exclusive foil stamp on the hardcover case (sword)
  • Sprayed edges (solid black)
  • A printed copy of a handwritten author letter

Box Items: 7 items, including 4 high quality/useful items

  • Metal bookends by @no0nedesigns, inspired by The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The love of maidens for monsters, that does not fade with time.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley paperback book from Owlcrate Classic Collection 1 of 4, each with a new cover by @rena.illustration

There is something at work in my soul, which I do not understand.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Enamel keychain by Azura Arts, inspired by This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

We are the darkest acts made light.

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
  • 4 cable keepers by author Lyndall Clipstone, inspired by her book Lakesedge

His magic is my magic.//

There’s a monster in the shadows and now it knows my name.

Lakesedge by Lyndall Clipstone
  • Luggage enamel pin from the 2022 Owlcrate Literary Luggage Monthly Collection by Hey Atlas Creative, inspired by Maggie Steifvater’s The Raven Boys’ Cabeswater
    • //Explore Cabeswater//
  • Howl + Sophie art print by Dri Gomez @_saintdri, inspired by none other than Howl’s Moving Castleby Diane Wynn Jones (although, ahem, it’s more like a scene from the movie version…)
  • Art print + digital chapter sampler from Forestfall, sequel to Lakesedge, both by author Lyndall Clipstone (Netgalley sampler code)

My Review of the Items

  • Owlcrate’s color swap from the original cover is not as elegant since I’m a huge stickler for the black/red/gold instead of the black/red/silver/green, but the reversible dust jacket artwork by Grace Zhu looks so amazing that I think it makes up for it.
    • Side note: This is also one of the rare instances in which I think the US cover is better than the UK version. 😉
US
UK
  • The sprayed edges is a solid matte black. I think that another color (such as red) or perhaps a sparkling black would have been better.
  • I wished the large box items would have kept up with the dark theme instead of the white/gray/ghostly one (I mean, I thought this is a monster story theme, not a ghost one). On the other hand, I am glad that they are all quite useful. (I can certainly see myself snapping my earbud cords and charging cords in those four cable keepers now.)
  • The enamel keyring is a black/gold/red and the Howl art print (which looks nice) is relatively dark (a dark blue and not white), both of which I appreciate.
  • The Frankenstein cover is mostly white, with black pencil drawings and some striking red. Points for the quote selection for the back cover. It’s not the best cover design for this book but for its style it’s a well-done drawing. At this point I’m not sure if I’m looking forward to the other classics covers in this collection if they’re all going to be like this though (I don’t hate the style, but I don’t think it fits well as a book cover design).
  • The metal book ends each have soft padding on the bottom to ease sliding without damaging the surface of your bookshelf/table, etc. However, I think they honestly could have done with a better graphic design, considering how large/noticeable they are. The quote is very nice (and it makes me want to read the book even more now), but …. really… it gives me a very dreary winter vibe with all the gray. At least the Frankenstein cover is rather striking with the blood red/white contrast.
  • Overall, though, I think this box is still rather good on the useful end. Here’s to my best wishes that the book will turn out to be spectacular! I shall get on with reading and will return in the future with a book review. ❤

This box is currently not for sale. But I’ve noticed that Owlcrate often have extra boxes that would go for sale in their shop within a few months. I shall be keeping an eye out and post here if I notice it, for those who might be interested. 🙂

Are you reading Only a Monster?

Owlcrate curated a playlist on their Spotify account. 🙂 I can’t wait to give it a listen while I’m reading.

Have you read Only a Monster yet? What do you think of this Owlcrate box? Do you like book subscription boxes?

I hope you’ve found my post to be delightful, helpful, or interesting. Feel free to let me know if you have any comments or questions!

Artists added to my watchlist:

Grace Zhu

@_saintdri

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