Depeche Mode / MODE unboxed

SDE unboxes the new Depeche Mode ‘MODE’ box set which is released today. Watch the unboxing video below…

MODE is out now. The cheapest place to buy this at the moment is via Amazon in the USA, where it is currently just under $140 which is around £107.

Subscribe to the SDE YouTube channel to keep in touch with all our unboxing videos.

CD 1 – Speak & Spell (1981)
1. New Life
2. I Sometimes Wish I Was Dead
3. Puppets
4. Boys Say Go!
5. Nodisco
6. What’s Your Name?
7. Photographic
8. Tora! Tora! Tora!
9. Big Muff
10. Any Second Now (Voices)
11. Just Can’t Get Enough

CD 2 – A Broken Frame (1982)
1. Leave in Silence
2. My Secret Garden
3. Monument
4. Nothing to Fear
5. See You
6. Satellite
7. The Meaning of Love
8. A Photograph of You
9. Shouldn’t Have Done That
10. The Sun and the Rainfall

CD 3 – Construction Time Again (1983)
1. Love, In Itself
2. More Than a Party
3. Pipeline
4. Everything Counts
5. Two Minute Warning
6. Shame
7. The Landscape Is Changing
8. Told You So
9. And Then…
10. Everything Counts (Reprise)

CD 4 – Some Great Reward (1984)
1. Something to Do
2. Lie to Me
3. People Are People
4. It Doesn’t Matter
5. Stories of Old
6. Somebody
7. Master and Servant
8. If You Want
9. Blasphemous Rumours

CD: 5 – Black Celebration (1986)
1. Black Celebration
2. Fly On the Windscreen (Final)
3. A Question of Lust
4. Sometimes
5. It Doesn’t Matter Two
6. A Question of Time
7. Stripped
8. Here Is the House
9. World Full of Nothing
10. Dressed In Black
11. New Dress

CD 6 – Music For The Masses (1987)
1. Never Let Me Down Again
2. The Things You Said
3. Strangelove
4. Sacred
5. Little 15
6. Behind the Wheel
7. I Want You Now
8. To Have and to Hold
9. Nothing
10. Pimpf

CD 7 – Violator (1990)
1. World In My Eyes
2. Sweetest Perfection
3. Personal Jesus
4. Halo
5. Waiting for the Night
6. Enjoy the Silence
7. Policy of Truth
8. Blue Dress
9. Clean

CD 8 – Songs of Faith and Devotion (1993)
1. I Feel You
2. Walking in My Shoes
3. Condemnation
4. Mercy in You
5. Judas
6. In Your Room
7. Get Right With Me
8. Rush
9. One Caress
10. Higher Love

CD 9 – Ultra (1997)
1. Barrel of a Gun
2. The Love Thieves
3. Home
4. It’s No Good
5. Uselink
6. Useless
7. Sister of Night
8. Jazz Thieves
9. Freestate
10. The Bottom Line
11. Insight
12. Junior Painkiller

CD 10 – Exciter (2001)
1. Dream On
2. Shine
3. The Sweetest Condition
4. When the Body Speaks
5. The Dead of Night
6. Lovetheme
7. Freelove
8. Comatose
9. I Feel Loved
10. Breathe
11. Easy Tiger
12. I Am You
13. Goodnight Lovers

CD 11 – Playing The Angel (2005)
1. A Pain That I’m Used To
2. John the Revelator
3. Suffer Well
4. The Sinner in Me
5. Precious
6. Macro
7. I Want It All
8. Nothing’s Impossible
9. Introspectre
10. Damaged People
11. Lilian
12. The Darkest Star

CD 12 – Sounds of the Universe (2009)
1. In Chains
2. Hole to Feed
3. Wrong
4. Fragile Tension
5. Little Soul
6. In Sympathy
7. Peace
8. Come Back
9. Spacewalker
10. Perfect
11. Miles Away / The Truth Is
12. Jezebel
13. Corrupt

CD 13 – Delta Machine (2013)
1. Welcome to My World
2. Angel
3. Heaven
4. Secret to the End
5. My Little Universe
6. Slow
7. Broken
8. The Child Inside
9. Soft Touch / Raw Nerve
10. Should Be Higher
11. Alone
12. Soothe My Soul
13. Goodbye

CD 14 – Spirit (2017)
1. Going Backwards
2. Where’s the Revolution
3. The Worst Crime
4. Scum
5. You Move
6. Cover Me
7. Eternal
8. Poison Heart
9. So Much Love
10. Poorman
11. No More (This is the Last Time)
12. Fail

CD15 –  1981 – 1985
Photographic (Some Bizarre Version)
Sometimes I Wish I Was Dead (Flexi-Pop Version)
Dreaming Of Me
Ice Machine
Any Second Now
Now, This Is Fun
Oberkorn (It’s A Small Town)
My Secret Garden (Excerpts From)
My Secret Garden (Further Excerpts From)
Get The Balance Right!
The Great Outdoors!
Work Hard
In Your Memory
(Set Me Free) Remotivate Me
Shake The Disease
It’s Called A Heart
Fly On The Windscreen

CD16 – 1986 – 1990
Dressed In Black (Record Mirror Version)
But Not Tonight
Breathing In Fumes
Black Day
Christmas Island
Agent Orange
Pleasure, Little Treasure
Route 66
Sonata No. 14 In C#m (Moonlight Sonata)
Happiest Girl (Jack Mix)
Sea Of Sin (Tonal Mix)

CD17 –  1993 – 2005
My Joy (Seven Inch Mix)
Death’s Door (Soundtrack Version)
Death’s Door (Jazz Mix)
Only When I Lose Myself
Easy Tiger
Better Days

CD18 –  2006 – 2017
Oh Well (Single Version)
Oh Well
The Sun And The Moon And The Stars
Long Time Lie
Happens All The Time
All That’s Mine
Heroes (Highline Session Version)


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Today my order from Jan, 24th. from JPC arrived (€ 183) ❤️


Has anyone received the wrong CD case and contacted Sony for a replacement? If so who did you contact?

I received the Exciter cover for the Plating the Angel CD…

Fernando Gasulla

Hi guys, just to let you know that right now the price is 187€ in Amazon Spain.

Glen Withonen

So my Depeche MODE box set arrived safely this afternoon, sourced from Amazon US; it was packaged inside two boxes, so not a bit of damage thankfully (I was a bit worried!) – my heart goes out to those who have experienced otherwise. FYI my set is #041117…

It cost me all up $242.96 AUD delivered from USA, ordered via the Australian Amazon site, which is the equivalent to the initial cheaper $139 price first advertised by Amazon US. I’m very glad I ordered it when I did! I hope more people will have their orders filled…

It is indeed a very nicely designed box, much thought/effort has gone in the presentation, which may not seem apparent at first due to the minamalist design. But the production values are very high and don’t disappoint. All my discs were present in the correct sleeves.

Most impressive is the beautiful high quality soft-cover book – the main reason I decided I just couldn’t live without this box; colour-coded sections, featuring original cover artwork, every lyric and lots of DM photos, match the individually coloured discs and is very nicely designed. Lyrics for all non-album tracks are near the back, after the Spirit section, before the credits.

There is no commentary, essays or anything like that – the music, lyrics and artwork are all presented free of critique. My only complaint is the paucity of pictures from much of the mid 1980s, and maybe some single cover artwork could have been included, but otherwise the book is a really nice and well integrated companion to the music on the discs in the box.

It is hard to imagine that there was not at least 10,000 units planned for this release, but I think due to the reported production/quality control problems experienced last year, the roll-out has been slower than anticipated, and there likely are more sets on the way. People who want this should stay hopeful and keep an eye on those mid-February dates advertised on certain online stores – best of luck!


Received both my orders on Saturday. Glad I was able to order from two different sources as they were both damaged. Both received in thin cardboard box with no additional protection.
Packages shipped from Importcds and Popmarket.

I am returning the one with 4 dinged corners, and have kept the one that only has 1 bent corner (I know there probably aren’t any replacements available) and I will live with it as I did get a great price at $117.

My number was 02875.


Love the packet of crisps comment. Made me laugh.


It looks really nice, but a bit overpriced in my opinion. If it was a vinyl album box set, that would make this a more awesome set. Makes you wonder if they are gonna do that set?


Just received my Mode pre-order from amazon.ca and I am thrilled. Such a beautiful presentation, so first class. It is a thing a beauty. Even the texture of the box is special. Thank you Paul, I might have missed out on this had you not let us know it was coming.

[…] bargain compared to what’s being asked now. If you haven’t seen this in the flesh, then watch the SDEtv unboxing video which at over 40,000 views is SDE’s most viewed […]

John Lloyd

The success of this box remains up in the air, surely, with the charts released on Jan 31. It didn’t feature in the physical albums OR the vinyl albums top 100 in the UK, but went into the overall charts – blokes-talking-for-a-living-and-calling-it-rap included – in Germany at number TEN. Nobody gets a retrospective box in the charts in the UK that high (Supergrass managed 50-something, although a lot closer to the top twenty in physical charts). Was it just not chart compatible here, but was there, is the question, but I think that high appearance is more notable. And perhaps explains lack of copies in their homeland.


Good news for those who missed out on the first batch – Pre orders are back up on Amazon UK with an in-stock date of 14th Feb.


What I’ve seen in other forums, the number is not higher 6000-5000. It seems they have a “phased” release :) First numbers are produced and sold out right now, further number will follow. German Amazon says available at 15. Februar 2020.

Andrew Edwards

Hey everyone…Depeche Mode is being inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame….they are going to manufacture more box sets…with the state of the music industry you don’t think WB or Sony overseas is going to miss out on more sales….they are going to add up or the preorders and fill them all

Michael K.

I just picked up at copy at my local record store. It was the only box they received. It is still sealed so I don’t know what number I have, but I emailed Rhino yesterday to inquire about it and they said it is currently sold out and they don’t know if or when it will be back in stock. My question on how many were printed was unanswered…

Initially I wasn’t planning on getting this set, but I really think that Black theme is a nice change as is the fact that all B-Sides / Extra Tracks are in order. Just something different to listen too. Back in my days I had all the 12” up to Violator and mostly listed to remixes versus the albums. Now I get to re-discover the actual albums again :)


On german amazon:
Will be available at 15. Februar 2020


hi i receive today my copy of depeche mode MODE and the number is 05018 im curious for the number are pressed for this boxset please if you have the information post this its realy appreciate thanks for all help.

Rik Nicholson

I received #05911. I’m pleased with the box set – especially

Simon williams

All sold out in UK, will they make anymore?


Received email that my order from importcds and order from popmarket.com have just shipped today. There is hope after all! Let’s see if the packages arrive without any damage now…

Jonathan Riley

target cancelled my order since they f’ed up the release date and due to being a week late they couldn’t get stock in
due to this i missed out on a copy I had pending on amazon


Even worse: just got my order from Target and, as usual, the box arrived damaged, with all the corners dinged/bent/smashed. Terribly packaged in a plain cardboard box, with NO foam or any interior corner/box protectors. Totally unacceptable; already sent it back for a refund. I’ve been experiencing this on a semi-regular basis from virtually ALL major online retailers: Amazon, ImportCDs, Target, etc., etc. Because of the absolutely horrendous way all the carriers (USPS, UPS, and Fedex) seem to operate, this kind of thing has become the norm. When the hell are the dealers going to learn to do this right the first time? Such poor packaging only results in lost revenue, time, and additional expense. Idiots.

Jonathan Riley

I talked to a target supervisor and they led me to believe they never got any in
at least you got your order and for $70 something shipped which how much mine was going to be from target i would have kept it knowing i wouldn’t have gotten another one

did you preorder it or when did you order urs from target


Check the prices on this set today. Amazing!


Hi got mine today for £144 with free postage from grooves,land Germany.ordered on 15th Jan had it pre ordered on amazon uk for £199 so cancelled that ,am very happy with price i paid

Randy Metro

Odd how the back sheets listing all of the contents on boxsets are loose. Got me thinking how to do it right: T.Rex Tanx/Zinc boxset was printed with the back sheet on the cover. I took a closer look now and see four corner spots which were rubber glue which has soaked through on to the detail sheet and slightly scuffed the loose sheet. Never realized that or I would have removed it sooner. Took a lot of careful prying without ripping the glue soaked sheet. The discolored glue spots are permanent, but not sticky. Me & my OCD.


Thought I had no chance of getting this but Ameoba the large record store in LA just posted they had it available for $199.00. Ordered it and will be anxious to see if it ships.


Hi, just bought one copy today at Fnac in Madrid (nr 05499) and upon opening I found that I have a duplicated A Broken Frame sleeve although one of them actually contains the Speak & Spell cd, i.e., all the discs are there but one of the covers is missing and other is duplicated. Anyone found this same issue? I hope I can go to the shop tomorrow and maybe they will have another correct copy though I am not sure they even have more. Maybe the producer (Rhino / Sony ?) will issue a replacing cover? Would really appreciate if any of you have any info in this respect. Many thanks!


Question for anybody with the box – the top of mine seems to have some lines going through it like the black didn’t quite turn out fully black. Anyone else have issues like this? Just wondering if they are all same.


All sold out? Well we can’t say we weren’t given fair warning by Paul on this, I bit the bullet for my DM mega fan brother’s 50th this summer, I got this from Amazon USA for a great price after following this thread, snooze and you lose which is part of the fun of collecting. Easy to forget how huge DM are in the USA so no surprise it went quick.

Jonathan Riley

Now target.com is telling me anywhere from the 31st to feb 11th i should receive my order
They assured me the order wouldnt be cancelled due to the later so called release date


Has anyone heard the CDs?. Do they sound better than the original CDs?.

Mark Jensen

I’ve played the first three cd’s so far all the way through. They sounds very good, but there’s nothing new here: the first ten albums are the 2006/2007 remasters. They have the same errors: on album 2, Satellites is missing the first chord, on album 7, Personal Jesus has an extra slide guitar sound that doesn’t belong around 3:21. I also listened to the first part of album 11 and it does seem to sound a little different to me, but I’m pretty sure it is just the same master as the original 2005 cd based on DR Meter comparisons.

For the first album, I think the cd in the box sounds better than the original Sire cd but just different but not better than the late 80’s Mute remaster with bonus tracks. For the second album, I think the late 80’s Mute remaster cd sounds better than the cd in this box, but the cd in this box probably beats the original Sire cd. For the third album, I’m comparing the cd in this box with the original Sire cd and they are different but I like both in different ways. I do prefer the cd’s in the box fir the first and third albums.for track choices as they have only the correct original album tracks and no bonus tracks, unlike my other cd versions that add bonus tracks at the end (I always prefer my album to end at the right spot and put bonus tracks on a separate cd) or substitute and add different songs and versions like the Sire cds of the first two albums.

Mark Porter

Nothing more to add just had to be comment 101

Ben in Colorado

Not to be snide, but I think it’s a little funny that the Depeche Mode box that “nobody wants“ appears to be sold out. I have box 04319. Did they just make 10,000? Who knows.

There are a couple good deals on eBay US in the low 200s. And Amazon is listing an import addition for $333 to be released on the 31st. Who knows what that is. The box I have is made in the EU, so I don’t think that there is a European version other than the one that’s available everywhere.

As for the all black design I think it’s Flippin fabulous. I love that aesthetic; it’s cold and yet really cool.

ric mccauley

What’s up with Amazon US. It’s no longer available, and never released at all?


Mine was dispatched by Amazon US on Saturday, arriving in a few days thankfully.


Give it a chance, it’ll be back in stock.
They had production problems before Christmas, I reckon they’ve put out the first batch and the rest will follow.

Jonathan Riley

so target.com is totally pissing me off. First they got the release date wrong on the item, during the week it came out. Then today they fixed the release date but my preorder is backordered and its sold out on target.com. Target chat told me they don’t know if they are getting any more stock in and they told me if you preorder an item you aren’t guarantee a copy if its limited

I also have an order pending with amazon but it would be more expensive, as a backup

I also see the item is sold out everywhere


Have these albums been remastered for the box set?


I love the aesthetic idea of a “Collected Works” edition with the albums in a unified design like you get it from literary authors. Of course this is horrible expensive but after watching the video I couldn’t help buying this and it’s really beautiful.

Julian Hancock

I raised a query with Amazon.com as my order hadn’t shipped. They tell me they are out of stock, presumably because they weren’t supplied with enough to meet pre-orders as I order before release. They are waiting to see if they can get more from the supplier. Amazon have been great in terms of offering me a credit for the trouble etc. But it’s another example of me trying to buy a physical product and it turning into a song and dance.

Julian Hancock

PS. I see scalpers are asking £400 plus for a set. I stopped buying concert tickets because of this sort of nonsense. My purchase of physical high value sets is likely to go the same way if this continues. Service from SDE for the Gong box and JPD for Supergrass was great. On the other hand, experience for the Go-Betweens and DM has just been stressful. Perhaps I am being unlucky, but 50% hassle isn’t a great hit rate.

John Cooper

People had three months to order this, if people want to sell it on and make a profit what’s wrong with that? It’s not scalping it’s how trading has worked since the beginning of time, supply and demand. I preordered this for £156, it came on Friday and I haven’t even opened it yet. I put it on sale for £350 and it’s sold, I was hoping it wouldn’t as I wanted it but it sold straight away. I’m going on holiday to Las Vegas in two weeks and could do with the cash. I’m not a scalper, just sensible.

Julian Hancock

No, you are a scalpers.

Ben in Colorado

I agree it’s not scalping. I buy a lot of box sets and some of them that just don’t hold up, interest wise, I put up for sale. Usually I break even sometimes I can make a lot more. Quite often I get emails from people saying that I should just go to hell, and F off, and should feel ashamed for ripping off music fans. I used to respond to them but I no longer do. It’s not my job to teach Folks economics

Mike M

Ben and John you are scalpers, though I have a few other names for you but they aren’t suitable for a reputable site such as this. Your are nothing more than a tout, you leave a sour taste in some people’s mouths. “Real music fans” will lose out because of the likes of you :(


Hi Paul, did you say you interviewed Daniel Miller about this, I’m very keen to read what was discussed!


Ah, still intrigued to read this though, I’d love to know a bit about this package.


My CD of Construction Time Again arrived in a duplicate Some Great Reward sleeve. Has anyone else experienced such an error?


Hi, I have same issue but with other album. My Speak & Spell cd is in a duplicated A Broken Frame sleeve. Did you manage to get another copy? are you aware of any replacement program for this? Thanks


All I want is the Singles box set series to continue where it was left off years ago, at box #6 / single #36. Ending with the first single of an album was suggesting it would continue, wouldn’t it?

When are we gonna get the 7th box with #37, “I Feel Love”?

Still waiting…


Yeah, definitely need DMBX7/8/9 at least. But they would probably feel the need to reissue 1-6 also.

Where did the rest of the vinyl single box sets go – they seemed to have stopped right before violator.

Lee Carson

They are still being issued.

The remastering etc is not being rushed & the next set is likely to be the largest in terms of the number of discs


Where are the albums:
People Are People
Catching Up With Depeche Mode?

Am I somehow missing them when I’m looking through the albums?


They were also US-only


I wasn’t overly interested in this anyway, but now I’ve seen it I’m even less so. I hate CDs in cardboard sleeves and those monochrome ones are awful.

Shawn C.

Got mine from Amazon US on Friday, opened it up today. Personally, I love the design. The book is very nice, and has great photos of each album cover, if you’re missing those, as well as all the lyrics and nice photos. I’m quite happy with it and feel it was a deal at $139. I was a big DM fan around Music for the Masses/Violator period, but did not have much of their stuff, so this was a good purchase for me.

According to my book, my set is # 3745 – interested what others’ are, perhaps we can figure out how many have been produced?

Julian John Hancock

Amazon US dpesnt appear to have posted mine yet. I live in hope, but with the honourable exception of SDE and one or two others, getting stuff one has ordered seems to be increasingly challenging.


↑ I ordered the Editors Black Gold set on the 7th of Jan from the official store and am still waiting for it to arrive. Apparently they don’t have any of the Snowfield Demos CDs left and are waiting for more to be pressed. Makes me wonder exactly how many of these will end up being made if they just make more when they run out…

Dave H

The Snowfield demo’s were only guaranteed on pre-orders of the album which was officially released 25th October 2019. It’s not numbered and only a plain white sleeve with black text. It sounds like they’ve decided to issue them on all orders from the official website if they’re repressing some more.
I think it was delivered from Holland if my memory serves me well.

Rare Glam

Mine is No.5861. I have the first 12 DM albums in two box sets of Japanese mini LP CD blue spec discs and very beautiful they are. This black set is a nice art work and adds the 4 CDs of B sides and the last two albums all in one place. I like the book as well with the gilded edging. Got mine for £150 from an eBay seller two weeks in advance of release date. The edition seems to have sold out now from everywhere. So even if it was a large number of units made, they have seemingly all sold.


Mine was 01037, given the 5 digits I assume they were planning on having at least 10000 of these, even if they didn’t actually make that many.

I have to admit my first thought when I was looking at the set was the Disaster Area stunt ship from hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy (the black ship with black buttons that light up black when you press them).

What? MODE? Worry?

£200 for a black box (handle with white gloves) and a pretty book (also handle with white gloves) and the Record Mirror version of Dressed In Black, is really a MODE of bollocks for the price point.


my OCD got triggered by the fingerprint magnet. overall very boring. no-brainer pass for me.

Chris S

I own one DM album on vinyl (Speak & Spell), and one on CD (Playing the Angel), so I see this as a affordable way to get a DM collection.


When this box was first announced I must admit I was rather apprehensive about it all; the all -over blackness of it just made it look rather dull, and I’m someone who’s been hoping and waiting for a DM complete album collection for some years now. My entire Mode collection currently consists of the two singles collections (81-85) and (86-98) on vinyl, two 7″ singles and Master And Servant 12″. Not what you would describe as a hardcore fan. But having watched yesterday’s excellent unboxing video my attitude towards it completely changed and I eventually ordered up one this morning for £170 from Zoom.
The video really does show off everything that’s great about it far more than any still photos can so thanx for posting this up Paul, and looking forward to receiving my copy next week!


Although the DM box set is rather chic because of it’s minimalistic design, it’s not particularly exciting, or at least exciting enough to part with £200.

The Rhino issued deluxe double disc DM albums with hi-res stereo, DTS 5.1 remastering, bonus tracks and video of “Speak & Spell” through “Black Celebration,” that I collected a few years ago still remain (for me) the ultimate sound experience and presentation of Depeche Mode. I would have preferred that all the remaining DM albums up through “Spirit” be released in the same deluxe way, individually, or boxed together as a SDE.

Chris Squires

It’s too many to mention off the top of my head but it is quite a regular thing here that something that is ultimately quite easy to get and worth waiting for a deal alert seems to disappear from multiple outlets for a short while, which creates a short term panic (McCartney coloured vinyl for one). Like many here this isn’t worth it to me at £200 but panic can set in and FOMO (fear of missing out) can occur.
The most sensible comment below was if it hits £100 or less I might think about it otherwise I will happily let it pass.
It’s a work of art for sure, but as with all art it’s subjective, like a banana taped to a wall. I would have preferred what some groups do (a-ha alternative Hunting) and pick a slightly different sleeve. Most of the original Depeche albums have artistic and well thought out covers that were never just thrown together and as such there will be many alternative shots that would have fitted the bill. A whole set of 14 “slightly different to the original”covers would have been brilliant and far more interesting than black on black, however arty.

Tom Walsh

Paul, I’d love an article about the finances of producing these boxsets. What profit margin do artists make on high price but limited number boxsets. It seems like they provide a great cash boost for artists on old material but I would love to know a ball park figure.


Hi Tom, working in the print world I can tell you the cost of a box set isn’t cheap, I spent yesterday afternoon running off 1000 slipcases at £1.09 each, coming to £1308, that’s a full colour slipcase to hold 5 CDs ( unfortunately not an exciting music release, language tutorials which still sell well on CD ), the box sets themselves have to be sent out for folding and then into a finishing room, which is still quite labour intensive. I don’t how much the box sets are priced for a premium music box set out but we can’t get a basic box done for less than £3.00 a unit. The ones I do don’t have anything special, I took my Prince CD 1999 box set into work and our estimator said he wouldn’t like to price something that complex up. In short, they ain’t cheap.

Tom Walsh

Thanks Tony, I do find the economics and planning of these projects interesting. Must be my age!!

Tom m hans

For US customers: deepdiscount.com lists the box for 120.00 plus taxes and shipping I paid 133.00 USD. They charge card right away but list the box as backordered. Let’s see how it works out. I used them in the past for the Mansun 6 SDE, paid less than 60.00 USD, if I remember correctly. Peace.


I know it’s a box, so that’s what you get… a box. But given Depeche’s long-standing relationship with presentation, the pride (or Mute) seemed to take in even the limited 12-inch single’s sleeves, this really is just a box. And it’s black. So boring.

As for the book, I can hardly seeing it displacing Monument on the average fan’s go-to reading pile.