2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An excellent deck let down by the card stock,
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This review is from: The Vampire Tarot (Paperback)
I have to admit that I approached this Tarot with some trepidation as I wasn't sure of the concept of "wrapping" the Tarot around a novel, but I'm pleased to say that Robert Place has done a very good job.
The book and cards are held in a wonderfully sturdy cardboard box. Should you feel so moved you can knock on it as though it were a door without damaging it, quite unlike the vast majority of modern decks.
The book is a fairly hefty 220 pages long, starting with a 60 page discussion of the history and philosophy of the Tarot. There then follows a 70 page chapter on the vampire in legend and art. The rest of the book describes the deck itself without including pictures of the card under discussion: a sensible move as you have the cards sitting next to you.
The cards themselves are larger than the average deck at 9 by 13.5cm and are heavily laminated. Almost too heavily as they slip and slide over each other, or else stick together which makes shuffling more difficult than it need be, especially given their size. They rest in a plastic holder. Unfortunately, there is no smaller box for the cards themselves, which makes this Tarot a little on the bulky side to carry around.
A further let-down is that the cards are cut square, instead of having rounded corners. Already, after only a couple of weeks, my cards are already showing some damage, despite the care I take in handling them.
Several of the major arcane have new names derived from Stoker's Dracula: The Fool becomes Jonathan the Fool, The Priestess becomes Mina, The Empress becomes The Brides, The Hanged Man The Madman, amongst others. The suits are Holy Water (Cups), Knives (Swords), Garlic Flowers (Pentacles) and Stakes (Wands). The Court cards are illustrated with people associated with Bram Stoker and the Dracula legend, Stoker himself being the King of Garlic Flowers.
The pip cards mix scenes from the novel with vampire legend and "vampirised" versions of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. I always feel that it's important for the suit symbol to be present on the card the appropriate number of times, and that certainly happens in the Vampire Tarot, with more than half the space of some cards being given over to the suit symbols.
Curiously, although the reverse of the cards is symmetrical, suggesting that the deck is intended to be used with reversals, the book is quite clear that reversals should not be used as the theme of the deck is quite dark enough already. The artwork uses little shading as such, almost resembling woodcuts. With some familiarity with Bram Stoker's novel the deck can be read quite intuitively, but it isn't a deck for a beginner.
I would give this set five stars; the box is excellent and the book is thorough, but the set is let down by the quality of the card stock and the square corners of the cards, so, regretfully, I can only give it four stars.