It arrived here in the states. First impressions: a lot of the cards that weren't shown on the ostara link (cards meant to be a surprise) are more beautiful than the plentiful pix already shown. Cardstock is similar to the silver-witchcraft, prisma visions and zirkus: glossy hard. Softly rounded corners are a nice touch. I like that they don't have suit name titles, just roman numerals for all the minors; though the majors interestingly have no numbers just titles so you can place strength and justice where you will, but in the book they put justice first. I see that the downside (or plus side) is that you will have to study the cards beforehand so that when they come up in a reading you'll instantly know which ones they are. There are often actual cups or swords or tools in a lot of the cards to help remedy. Okay, don't quote me, but maybe those indicators of suit ARE on each card-- i'm at work right now, behaving badly writing this, so can't check. Anyway, i had a strong first impression that i'd want to do a little studying before reading w/ them.
I don't know how helpful this is, but it has a v. powerful vibe; more spiritual than i expected? I was initially attracted to the soft colors, the animal morphing, and the gentle healing quality; all of that is there, but there is also something-- i don't know if it's cutting-edge exactly but it feels both v. modern and v. timeless. You see humans watching a whale surfacing, and the empress' fingerless gloves and it feels like us, modern day humans living in the tarot; and then some of the cards are old, deeply rooted to the past w/ a strong pagan vibe: the knight of (swords I think?) in valkyrie headgear charging through the snow. [EDITING to add: his headgear is a bear's head, but there's a valkyrie in Judgement.] The blend is so seamless and works so well and none of this really takes into account the fantasy surreal elements, or how some cards are so gentle and others beautifully scary: devil and king of coins.
I was wondering if some of the animals would feel too cutesy, but they really dont, even though some are depicted among their tea-things. Others are totally in their natural environment, less, i guess, anthropomorphic. On a personal level, i'm a big fan of the Jamie Sams animal cards, especially its book and I love that a lot of those animals are depicted here, so i can cross-over my knowledge. As was mentioned earlier in one of the Ostara threads, it seems like it could attract fans of the Wild Unknown. Pagan, animals, something clean and modern about it. Wild Unknown never really attracted me, but this really does. Havn't read with it yet as i really want to take my time and look at before giving it a go.
I just posted in another thread about how this isn't really my favorite type of cardstock because of the scuffing that seems to happen instantly, however the full-bleed might help disguise that a little. I like the full-bleed but for people who buy the next release of it, i dont think it would be a huge detraction w/out it, assuming the figures stay about the same size.
The book is really nicely put together (and larger than a lwb) w/ both upright and reverse meanings (the reverse printed upsidedown). The collective did a nice job w/ a v. simple one line description of each card as sort of a premise, though the bulk of the space is spent with fairly typical meanings for the cards. I would have loved a few more details about the actual art, example what are sigils on the emporers body? but i also respect that it gives me the reader a free range and avenue for my own research. It's amazing how nicely the four artists styles blend; would love to hear more about what the creative process (and the collaboration) was like for them, though for all i know some of this is on their website; i'll have to go check it out more carefully now that i have the deck in hand. I love the repeated use of eyes by the artist who does the magician and wheel. As a whole there is lot of blindfolds, blinders, hoods and then also eyes being prevelent and wide open and shooting beams, or presented as a multitude of eyes throughout the whole deck. Seeing and unseeing? As if that were possible. lol. It'll be cool, don't quite know how it will work.