I fell in love with images that I had seen of this deck. Usually I stay away from decks with a gothic feel but this one drew me right in.
Until I got it. It arrived this morning and looking through it, I knew that what I had was another beautiful and unusual addition to a vastly expanding collection but not a deck I would be able to read with.
I love the artwork on these cards, some of them are just so unusual and otherworldly - perfect for stimulating the imagination if writing and great for meditation. However, with regards to reading ability, some of the cards left me cold.
I feel as though the artist put 110% into some of the cards and then ran out of steam for the others - the famous 3 Swords, the iconic image of the swords piercing the heart in this deck becomes 3 swords hanging over... nothing - a cloud of white mist. This totally alters the meaning of the card for me and becomes no more helpful than an non-pictorial pip card. Others, like the 5 pentacles, instead of being beggars outside in the snow, they are two dudes sitting in a pub with a drink sitting next to a cosy fire - again, too different to interpret in the normal way.
I would not trade this deck, I really love the feel and atmosphere of the cards but I would probably use them for something other than reading. I don't think that this would be a suitable deck for beginners because of the alternative card images.
The cards themselves are a good size, easy to shuffle and are of medium card stock, nice and sturdy but not stiff. The artwork is just beautiful and, in typical US Games fashion, laminated to within an inch of their lives giving the impression that each image is compressed beneath a pane of glass (which I really love).
Overall, I think a must have for collectors - if you use your decks for reading only, try to research this and see if you can find a way of looking through all the card images before you invest.