This is a Hay House Deck, so the box and the cards are standard Hay House.
The Cards measure 9 cm wide and 12,8 cm tall. The box is a little deeper than most Hay House deck boxes because this is a tarot deck, so it has more cards.
As far as the cards go, they are traditional Hay House thickness and they have a silver edge to them. Looking at the back of the cards and the images in the front of the cards, a gold edge would look better. Each card has the number on top then it's name and then keywords and after the image, on the bottom there are three small sentences to convey the basic meaning of the cards. In the court cards, instead of the keywords on top, there are four human qualities that could represent a person. This is good for beginners, because they can learn the various meanings of the cards using the booklet less. The major arcana have the Archangel that represents them instead of the keywords on top.
The images are well conceived and executed. They are vivid and some of them are quite stunning. Just look at the Queen of Fire (my favourite) and the Queen of Air. It is clear that the artist has a lot of talent and imagination, even if i don't like some cards or don't agree with some depictions. I'm not an angel person. I never was. Angel decks are usually boring and more of the same. This is a bit different. I found about this deck through friend, who is a big Doreen Virtue fan, a month after it was published. It took me ages of weighing the pros and the cons before i decided to buy it. In the past, i bought several DV decks and none worked for me because they were too fluffy, shallow (ill-conceived) or boring. The only one that survived the giveaway rush was the "Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards" deck, which is her best yet. Since this is a tarot deck and has a defined structure, i decided to give it a try. I really like the minor arcana. They are eclectic, because they have fairies, dragons, mermaids, unicorns, whales, other reptiles of unknown source, angels(few) and human sort of beings that seem to come from a different origin. The landscapes are beautiful. It looks like the artist had a vision of unknown worlds and painted them to lure us in.
However, there are things i don't like in the cards. The first thing is the colour. I love purple. I really do, but i don't see the the point in having a suit that can confuse itself with the Major Arcana. The Major Arcana are purple and suit of Air is a faded purple. Some say it is a bluish purple. It is still purple. The suit of Air is traditionally linked to yellow, so why not use a muted shade of this colour that could match the images? The deck would look better and less confusing. Some of the names of the Major Arcana have been changed. I prefer that the names stay the same, but i can understand why she changed the most challenging ones. She wanted to avoid negative feelings.
The Major Arcana are a disappointment. Some of the Angels are repeated, like Archangel Michael, who appears in three cards. Aren't there enough Angels to go around? The Dreamer (the fool) card is similar to the Ego Card (the devil) with a different background and most of the angels aren't depicted in their glory. Some of the images are plain. Where is the powerful Michael? Siting in a throne looking sullen. Archangel Michael could be the "ex libris" of the Major Arcana and he looks small and always in the same position. He also features in the back of the cards which are beautiful until his picture appears, making him feel tiny. The backs aren't reversible.
I also don't like the expressions on some of the cards. The angel in The Lovers has his lips painted red. That looks odd. The left man in the Two of Fire, looks like he is posing for a picture and the one on the Six of Fire looks silly. The King of Water looks like he is wearing too much makeup and the sirens in the Two and Ten of Water look like they have gothic eyeshadow.
The borders in the front of the cards are too big, especially in the Major Arcana. It is not that i hate borders, i just don't like waste of space.
The booklet that companies the deck is a traditional hay house one, so it is thick and it is the same size of the cards. It has 135 pages, but there are some half empty pages. Sometimes even three quarters empty pages. It has quite a bit of information, but it could have more if they used the aforementioned empty space on the pages. I guess the author did not want more information there, because she wrote a book about that deck called "The Big Book on Angel Tarot" and wants to sell it. Still it is a good booklet with a good feature: in the court cards there is a description for the situation and another for a person, in case the card represents a person or human qualities. This is good for beginners, because they can find out first hand that court cards can have various meanings, besides the physical aspect. As i said good, but not great.
I don't know if there was a glitch in the factory, of if it was that one in a million, but my deck was not in top shape. The lid on the box had one side a bit longer that the other and when it closes it touches my wood shelf and dents (slightly). The Suit of Earth (Green border cards) were damaged. Bits of the green border were missing in the front of the cards, so the white is showing. Two or three cards of Fire and Air had this too, but to a minor extent. The Dreamer was also damaged in several parts. Some of the cards have uncentered borders in the front. The one on the right is thinner than the one on the left.
The cards came like that and they were shrink wrapped. I have several Hay House Decks and they have good quality, so i'm willing to consider this a factory mistake.
Overall I find these cards beautiful (most of them) but not fluffy, although there are some disturbing images with conspicuous makeup.
There are no negative meanings in the booklet because she found a positive thing to say about each card. While i understand this, it is not my cup of tea. If a situation is negative, I want to know about so that i can take the most appropriate action in order to turn it into a positive one. There are good images for meditation and the bottom meanings of the cards help you get another picture of the situation, since we are used to traditional tarot meanings.
Reading with them has not been easy. Having beautiful images is a fine thing, but connecting them to card meanings is another. There are images that are easy to read and there are others that are puzzling, like the unicorns. That was the reason i bought the book. I understand the possibilities of this deck and i have stated them above. Still, i can't say that i connect well with the deck. Some readings are fairly accurate and some are not. It is possible this is happening because i never liked angels, but i think it is mostly due to all positive meanings written on the cards (which differ from the traditional meanings) and some fantasy images that don't seem to fit very well. Those are not intuitive at all. In order for me to improve, it will require more practice (lots of it) and more study of the Big Book (i have only read it once), which is not very deep, so i will need some luck too.
After i read the back of the box and information on the site, it made me a bit angry. This happened also when i bought the Big Book of Angel Tarot. First of all, it is not true that this is the first gentle tarot. I have The Tarot of Transformation by Willow Arlenea and Jasmine Cori, which came out in 2002 and you shall find nothing frightening or lurid in the deck or book. You shall not find it either in the Art Of Life Tarot by Charlene Livingstone. There are other decks published in the last century that have accomplished this.
If one wants to market one's product in a certain way, it's fine. Nevertheless, it is not right to do it at the expense of others, that have accomplished the deed long before. It is good to have pride in difference and accomplishment, but it is arrogance to think that because of it one's work is the only one that counts.
I don't regret buying this deck, because i believe that i can still learn from it, but it is not a deck that i will use regularly, nor will it be one of my favourites.
I guess this is a deck with more value to someone that loves angels, is a beginner, or has super sensitivity about "less" positive images.
A friend asked me to see this deck, because i complained a lot about its poor quality and she decided to keep it, since it was the only DV deck she didn't have. I have ordered another one for me from another seller and another one for my cousin from a third seller, because she loves angels. I hope i get decks with quality this time.
I will not gift this deck again, because i don't know if my friends that like fantasy themes, could use it and understand their readings comprehensively without the Big Book.