Top critical review
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Not bad, but not great either
on August 4, 2009
First off, this review applies solely to the Marchetti deck in the kit. The accompanying book is an adequate, if basic, introduction to the fundamentals of Tarot, and as such, it fulfills its purpose.
Now, for the negative stuff:
First: the Major Arcana cards don't "feel" like Major Arcana cards. Maybe it's because all the cards in the deck are identically bordered, I don't know. But in my opinion, the Major cards should stand out a lot more. They are supposed to represent major forces, and as such should "jump out" more than the Minor cards. Just my opinion.
The Marchetti deck is all at once both stunningly beautiful and horribly tacky. Many of the faces are copy-paste photos of real people, and it just drives me insane. The suit of Pentacles in particular is filled with them. I much prefer the softer, less jarring look of a completely digitalized image. Having real faces gives those cards the vague impression of a collage, and it just doesn't sit well with me at all. I just can't take those cards seriously.
Speaking of not being able to take a card seriously, a single look at the Devil, and I cracked up. Same deal with Death. I mean, I can't speak for every Tarot enthusiast out there, but personally, if a card's art makes me guffaw at first glance, there's something "off" somewhere.
And my biggest problem with this deck, on an esoteric level: the suit of Cups is attributed the colour orange (???) instead of the usual blue, the colour traditionally used to represent water. Swords are blue here in the Marchetti deck, which manages to work because of the sky-air association, but orange for Cups? It's too close to the Wands' suit colour red. It's too "active" a colour for Cups. It just doesn't "feel" right.
Cards whose artwork I really don't like at all: the Devil, Death (reminds me of a "death metal" biker-type tattoo), the Page of Swords (looks like a Renaissance circus freak), and the Ten of Swords (not "harsh" looking enough for my taste; it's too "soft" for what it's supposed to represent).
On the positive side, the symbolism is Waite-based, and as such ensures continuity and familiarity. And to give credit where credit is due, most cards are beautifully rendered and the artwork is rich, vibrant and highly textured. Worthy of special note in my books: the Fool, the High Priestess, the Hermit, the Wheel of Fortune, the Sun, the Nine of cups, and all Aces and Knight cards.
In conclusion, I think this is one of those decks that one either loves or hates, or feels totally uncertain about. I like most of the cards, really love some of them, and really can't stand a handful of them. For now I will probably use this deck for one-card daily draws and for practise. As for more involved readings, I will probably wait and see if the Marchetti deck eventually grows on me, and in the meantime will use other decks.