Review by Carmen Fox
Fairy Tarots is a whimsical set of cards based on fairies. In reality they look rather like gnomes with wings attached – the artwork is very like Mr. Lupatelli’s other work, Tarot of the Gnomes. If you can get around this, though, it’s a beautiful deck with entertaining artwork. The colors are rich and enchanting, making this deck a pleasure to view.
There are titles on all cards in the Lo Scarabeo manner, depicting English, Italian, Spanish, French, and German languages. This can be helpful if you’re a new reader, or distracting if you prefer no writing at all on your cards. The LWB, which is 63 pages, is also in the multiple languages, making it easy to look up keywords if you need.
Some of the cards have names that aren’t standard Rider-Waite style – The Elf for The Fool, The Dryad for Justice, The Oread for Wheel of Fortune, The Sylph for Temperance, and The Troll for The Devil. In the minor arcana, the pages are knaves, and the suits change also : Bells = Pentacles, Leaves = Swords, Acorns = Wands, and Hearts = Cups. I found these easy to remember – bells are golden so Pentacles/Coins, Leaves = blades of greenery so Swords, Acorns are baby wood so Wands, and Cups are all about Heart.
The major arcana follow the Rider-Waite system closely except for those few titles, and are recognizable for what they are on picture alone. The Troll as the Devil works really well, Trolls would make good devils! There is very little nudity in this deck, but the Dryad (Justice) *IS* nude – so keep that in mind if nudity bothers you. In this deck, Justice is 8, and Strength is 11. The Hermit, my favorite card of the majors, has a charming gnomish character with a textbook and his little lantern – definitely a success for me, in that regard!
The minor arcana illustrates the number and suit on the top half of the card, with a small scene on the bottom half, which deviates from Rider-Waite by a great deal. It is my opinion that it may as well be considered a non-illustrated pip cards deck, because the scene at the bottom of the cards has nothing at all to do with the traditional meanings. For instance, the 10 of Acorns (Wands) has a little boy (fairy? Although he doesn’t look it) on his hands and knees peering at a beetle in front of him. This has nothing to symbolize the traditional burdens I’ve come to associate this card with. However I do recognize that an experienced reader may get far more from the illustrations than I did.
I also purchased the miniature deck at the same time, because I needed something small to put in my purse and take with me. The miniature has all the drawbacks of the full size, with more of its own – the colors aren’t as brilliant, instead they’re faded and a bit dull. And, being so small, all the fine detail in the miniature deck is just too hard to see.
Overall, I think this deck is beautiful, but not for beginners. I’m okay with that, I’ll put it away and save it for when I am experienced and want a challenge. On the miniature deck, I’m definitely disappointed – I wish I had not bought it. I heartily recommend the full sized deck for an experienced reader who enjoys fantasy settings, or a collector who enjoys something different, but do not recommend the miniature for anyone.