To Buy Or Not To Buy? – Owlcrate – August 2021 – Dark Academia

Hi all! I’m so excited to finally be back with a new To Buy or Not to Buy post! This time, we’ll be looking at Owlcrate’s August box, which has the theme “Dark Academia.” (Yes, this is the same theme that Illumicrate has for August as well, but they’ve already clarified that the boxes will have different books this month, so feel free to get both!) Check out my post to learn more about the box and if I think it’ll be worth it!

As usual, all of the opinions in this post are my own, so please take them with a grain of salt, and don’t be offended if my least favorite fandom is your favorite. We all have our own preferences. 🙂

SPOILER ALERT! These posts will name the included book of the month, which often isn’t announced in advance. Please don’t continue to read if you want to be surprised by the book.

The Box Details

Company: Owlcrate

Theme: Dark Academia

Month: August 2021

Information Link:

Cost: $29.99 + Shipping & Tax

Included Fandoms: The Secret History, The Raven Boys, Truly Devious, If We Were Villains, and A Darker Shade of Magic

Anticipated Book of the Month: A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee

Special Book Features: Exclusive Cover, Gilded Sprayed Edges, art on the reverse side of the dust jacket (artist to be revealed,) exclusive foil embossing on the hardcover case, and signed by author

Early Reveals so far: Raven Boys Booksleeve designed by @_saintdri, ADSOM Collectable Tin designed by @forensicsandflowers, and Monthly enamel pin inspired by the book (designed by @_iceydesigns)

My Thoughts

This theme is a dream come true! This year I’ve been quite into the cottagecore and dark academia aesthetics, so seeing that both Owlcrate and Illumicrate are doing a Dark Academia themed book is perfect for me!

The book this month is A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee, which has been touted as a Sapphic Dark Academia novel full of witchcraft, set at a boarding school. This book contains potentially triggering content and themes, which the author has listed on her website here, so definitely check this out to see if the book is right for you. I hadn’t heard of this book prior to Owlcrate’s announcement, but it immediately piqued my interest. The concept seems quite interesting and early reviews have been quite promising.

The book’s cover is already quite pretty (I love simple, typographic covers,) so I’m excited to see what Owlcrate will do with it. I have a feeling that it’ll be a subtle change, with maybe the text being a different color, or perhaps they’ll change the color of the flowers or the entire background. Whatever they do, I hope that it matches well with the foil embossed case design and the metallic gilded edges, which is what I’m most excited about! Owlcrate previously has done gilded edges on their editions of The Kingdom of Back (silver) and Goddess in the Machine (gold). I’m curious to see what color they’ll go with (I’d love to see gold or rose gold edges!)

As for the fandoms of the month, I’ll admit that I haven’t read any of them! I’ve actually never really heard of The Secret History, If We Were Villains, or Truly Devious. Luckily, Owlcrate tends to design items so that even people who aren’t part of the fandom can enjoy the items. We already know that we’ll be getting the next ADSOM tin in this box, which will be a decently sized item (they’re nearly the size of a smaller hardcover!) as well as a booksleeve, so between those and the book, I assume that the other items might be on the smaller size, but I still am excited to see how everything will compliment the theme. Owlcrate’s items haven’t wowed me in a long time, but I’m always willing to give them another chance, and I just might do it for this box. (I haven’t gotten an Owlcrate box since August 2020!)

In conclusion, I’m still a bit on the fence about getting this box, but I wouldn’t be too upset if I accidentally “forget” to skip this month, if you get what I’m saying. 😉 The book sounds great, and since the tin is part of a collectable series, you might want to get it if you’re trying to collect all four. (I have the second tin but not the first, but I’m not too torn up about not having the whole set, so it’s not a priority for me.) If I get the box, you’ll definitely see an unboxing of it on here and on my Instagram.


  • Fun exclusive book customizations, included gilded edges
  • Book sounds really interesting and has LGBTQ+ rep!
  • Includes a monthly enamel pin inspired by the book
  • US based shipping facility (affordable shipping for me!)


  • I haven’t read any of the fandom series
  • The book, booksleeve, and tin might take up most of the room in the box, meaning that the other items might be smaller items or even paper items. (Not confirmed, but that’s my suspicion.)
  • Owlcrate’s items haven’t really impressed me in a long time.

Thanks for reading my ramble! Let me know in the comments what you think of the book, theme, and items! Would you get this box?

Follow me on Instagram for book pictures, mini-reviews, and more!

Check out my shop, Total Bookish Eclipse!


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