When I was a teenager, I had a horrible habit of getting way too caught up in Facebook games.
There was one in particular, Pet Society, that was the bane of my existence. Well, kind of. I loved it, but it really knew how to steal me from the real world. I’d spend hours playing with my little pet, a green bear thing named Carlos, and saving up currency so I could buy mystery boxes.
They were magical, beautiful, ribbon-wrapped gifts I could get for myself, and they would either have something really cool, really average, or really lame inside.
I got hooked hoping for the really cool things.
I’d buy them in batches of 10, opening them all up one by one to find things I could sell for more money than I’d spent in the first place. I actually made a lot of money that way, and I put it all toward more boxes, and it became such a cycle.
That game eventually disappeared off of Facebook; I don’t think it actually exists anymore.
I spent a while being sad about it. Then I forgot completely.
I didn’t even think of it until about a year ago, when I discovered that mystery boxes are a thing in real life too.
Picking my first mystery box
When I started using Instagram more regularly, it didn’t take me long to find several different companies that made mystery boxes for subscribers. I immediately remembered the mild addiction I’d had for them in Pet Society, so I kept myself very carefully away from such temptations.
It wasn’t until Shelflove Crate announced that its July theme would revolve around Harry Potter and the Hunger Games, two of my favourite franchises, that I caved.
I deliberated for a few days, trying to logic myself into a decision without feeling bad about spending money. It’s not easy being frugal.
Obviously, I decided to get it.
I ordered it about a month ahead of time, and then within a week had promptly forgotten all about it. Until the day I was working from home, not a care in the world, and a delivery guy happened to drop it off for me.
That day was suddenly a whole lot more exciting.
Opening my first mystery box
At first, I told myself I should hold off on opening it, because I wanted to do an unboxing video or something. That’s what people do when they get an exciting new thing, right?
Turns out I’m way too much like a kid, and I couldn’t wait.
I wasn’t at all sure what to expect, because I’d never ordered anything like this before. The description had said there’d be a signed book (although it didn’t say which one), an on-theme candle from Flick the Wick (the other vendor I was seriously considering getting a box from), and an assortment of bookish goodies.
As I dug through the box, finding each of those goodies, I kept getting more excited. Here was an amazing-smelling candle, based on Caraval, the one book series in the theme I wasn’t familiar with; now I’d found my new favourite pair of socks, covered in mockingjays and arrows.
And now, right before the book? A beautiful, hand-painted jigsaw puzzle of the Triwizard Maze from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I was immediately in love.
And the pièce de résistance
Of course, what would a monthly book box be without a book?
I’m horrible at buying books blindly, because I always like to know that I’ll get hooked on it. That’s why I was a little unsure about the book included; The Bird and the Blade.
It wasn’t anything I’d heard of.
That’s also why I was so bad at doing my reading in school, but that’s a story for another day!
Anyway, it took me a bit to find the time to start reading, but once I did, I was captivated. Now, just a day and a half later (including work and sleep time), I’m almost halfway through—and I can’t wait to see how it ends.
All in all, I loved my geeky, bookish crate. And although it wasn’t nearly as addictive as the many, many mystery boxes Carlos and I opened, I’d say that’s probably a good thing!