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The King in Yellow

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  9,035 ratings  ·  994 reviews
THE KING IN YELLOW -- recently featured in HBO's hit series TRUE DETECTIVE -- is a collection of 10 short stories, the reading of which will curse one to a terrible fate. You have been warned! This edition features an introduction by H.P. Lovecraft.
Kindle Edition, 205 pages
Published February 27th 2014 by Wildside Press (first published 1895)
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Rory If anything it seems more that True Detective was inspired by this (with it's supernatural undertones).

However if you do want to read something in…more
If anything it seems more that True Detective was inspired by this (with it's supernatural undertones).

However if you do want to read something in similar fashion to that I would seriously recommend 'Galveston' as it's written by Nic Pizzolatto, the show's creator.(less)
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3.49  · 
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 ·  9,035 ratings  ·  994 reviews


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mark monday
ƸӁƷ

5 Stars for the wonderful opening story "The Repairer of Reputations".

although i wonder if 'wonderful' is the correct word. after all, this is a story that opens with a bizarre, sometimes dire alterna-history leading up to a 1920s America where on-lookers gather to contemplate terminally dispirited disportment within suicide-abetting "Lethal Chambers." and after this bit of surprising strangeness, the reader is plunged right into the mind of a classic Unreliable Narrator (the poor lad struck
...more
Jean-marcel
Apr 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can art drive a person insane? Could there be a book, or a film, or a piece of music that vibrates against the cortext in a certain way, or opens great gulfs of revelation so profound and so shattering that you could never be exposed to it without being changed forever? If the truth of such a piece got out, wouldn't anyone and everyone want to be exposed to it, scoffing and thinking that they, above all else, would be well equipped to handle any dangers, and yet feeling inescapably drawn to find ...more
Amy (Other Amy)
Along the shore the cloud waves break,
The twin suns sink beneath the lake,
The shadows lengthen
In Carcosa.

Strange is the night where black stars rise,
And strange moons circle through the skies
But stranger still is
Lost Carcosa.

Songs that the Hyades shall sing,
Where flap the tatters of the King,
Must die unheard in
Dim Carcosa.

Song of my soul, my voice is dead;
Die thou, unsung, as tears unshed
Shall dry and die in
Lost Carcosa.

Cassilda's Song in "The King in Yellow," Act I, Scene 2


(I probably shouldn't
...more
Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho
This is a hard book to give a rating.

There are more things that made me wanna stop the book than to continue. But I stand firm and continue my path unfortunally the last two stories were too much for me. I read and skipped several paragraphs at time because it was too damn boring without any purpose or interest. But there are some cool stories.

First of all, if you would like to try reading Robert W Chambers start with the first four short stories/novellas. These are the beginning of Weird Fictio
...more
Chris_P
Oct 20, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shorties
The Repairer of Reputations: **
The Mask: ****
In the Court of the Dragon: ***
The Yellow Sign: ***
The Demoiselle D' Ys: ****
The Prophets' Paradise: *****
The Street of the Four Winds: ****
The Street of the First Shell: **
The Street of our Lady of the Fields: **
Rue Barée: ***

3.2


Before Algernon Blackwood, Robert E. Howard, Ray Bradbury, Thomas Ligotti and many more, there was Robert W. Chambers. But the one who was influenced the most by Chambers was H. P. Lovecraft. Some basic ideas from the myth of
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El
In 1986 Robert Chambers killed a young woman in Central Park in New York. The media called Chambers the Preppie Killer.

This Robert W. Chambers is not the same guy. Robert W. Chambers died in 1933 and, as far as I know, didn't kill anyone. Just so we're clear on that.

The first four stories or so in this collection are loosely related, in that there's this connecting theme of a fictional drama called The King in Yellow. Those who get their paws on it and read it wind up going crazy. These stories
...more
Alex
Oct 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rth-lifetime, 2014
Camilla: You, sir, should unmask.
Stranger: Indeed?
Cassilda: Indeed it's time. We have all laid aside disguise but you.
Stranger: I wear no mask.
Camilla: (Terrified, aside to Cassilda.) No mask? No mask!
- The King In Yellow


I came to this by way of the HBO show True Detective, which is pretty cool although not anywhere near as clever as it thinks it is, and which features references to the Yellow King and to a ruined city called Carcosa. Robert Chambers was the first guy to write about the Yellow K
...more
P.E.
Otherworldly as far as the first four fantastical stories go, then queerly realistic.

You never saw such a blend of vividness in settings and sharp foreboding as in The Repairer of Reputations, The Mask, the Court of the Dragon and The Yellow Sign!

As to the other half of the book, you may enjoy The Demoiselle d'Ys and The Street of the First Shell, enjoy them hugely even, if you're into magical realism and impressionnistic accounts of wars (the likes of Ambrose Bierce's or Celine's).


Civil War Sto
...more
Nate D
A classic of proto-weird, bearing all the marks of decadent era during which it was conceived (ie 1895; Chambers was likely exposed to the currents of fin-de-siecle writing when studying in Paris a couple years before), at turns uncanny and voluptuous. Borrows some names from Ambrose Bierce, lends some themes, much later, to H.P. Lovecraft. Opening story The Repairer of Reputations is justifiably the most noted here for its projected dystopian 1920s, creeping unease, and rather spectacularly unr ...more
Ctgt
Feb 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: weird
This was an odd collection. My version contained 10 stories of which only 5 had some correlation to The King in Yellow. I could find no relevance to this theme in the remaining five stories. I went into the book figuring all the stories would have some tie to the main concept but I suppose that was my own fault for presuming. The interesting part about this idea of The King in Yellow is that those who read the book become madmen but you, the reader, never find out exactly what this book/play con ...more
Jason Pettus
Mar 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
FTC DISCLOSURE: I am the publisher of this book.

Are you a fan of the hit HBO show "True Detective?" I sure am! And after finally checking out the real 1895 horror collection that this show's Satanic mythos is based around, Robert W. Chambers' 1895 "The King in Yellow," and especially after being disappointed at all the crappy, sloppily done editions currently for sale at Amazon, I decided that my arts center could do better; and thus volume one of our new "CCLaP Victoriana" series, in which we p
...more
Merl Fluin
The five stars are for the first four stories in this collection: "The Repairer Of Reputations", "The Mask", "In The Court Of The Dragon" and "The Yellow Sign". Those four are the "King in Yellow" stories proper, and they're superb.

To paraphrase Clive Barker, when you read a horror story you should feel that you're in the hands of a madman. That was how I felt while I was reading those stories – particularly the first, a spectacularly wild ride, and the fourth, which operates more stealthily (a
...more
Rick Soper
Mar 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read this book because I saw an article that mentioned it as a source material for the HBO series True Detective. And yes there are parts that might have been pulled from this book, but they aren't the only source for the show. I found this book pretty interesting from a historical perspective because it was very influential to many horror authors who came afterwards, very specifically HP Lovecraft. Now I've always loved HP Lovecraft and i could see where he might have found inspiration in The ...more
Aidan Hennessy
Classic of weird fiction and inspiration for much of Lovecraft's imagery.
Wreade1872
No... nope, does not work. I tried i really did and i can see why people like these tales but i seriously believe they're judging them more on potential than actuality.
Look the writing isn't bad, Chambers has a decent ability to paint a scene and his characters are actually quite good, as are his ideas.
However there is not a single completely satisfying story in the bunch. Its quite remarkable but everyone of them has some sort of crippling tonal inconsistency or plot incoherency. At times it f
...more
Mike (the Paladin)
I read this short volume of "interrelated" stories some time ago, but wanted to go over it again before I rated or reviewed it. The "book" is built around the existence of a fictional play, "The King in Yellow". In the opening story, The Repairer of Reputations" (which can be seen not only as horror but also as a sort of alternate history, though in it's own time of writing it was placed 25 years in the future), we are told that the book is universally reviled, condemned, and censored. It "appar ...more
Ed Erwin
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-story, fantasy
I have seen the Yellow Sign!

(view spoiler)

The first 4 (or maybe 5) stories here are classics of Weird stories, included in the Cthulu mythos. They are also very difficult to decipher. They seem simple on a first reading, but nothing is what it seems. Narrators are very unreliable. No interpretation seems definitive.

It is possible to find this for free on Project Gutenberg and other places. I decided to splurge on a 99 cent version with "notes". The notes consisted only of an i
...more
R.
May 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Non-text note: This particular Ace paperback edition of The King in Yellow contains an ancestor of the online pop-up ad: the cardstock paper cigarette advert embedded into the binding approx. midway, for True and Newport cigarettes. True: slashes tar in half and a taste worth smoking! (illustrated with a Sesame Street-ish big white No. 5 sitting proudly atop the phrase "mgs. of tar") ... Newport: Alive with Pleasure! (the concept of "pleasure" illustrated as a mustachio'd Bo Duke looking dude tr ...more
Bill
Jun 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this because of the 2013 HA Horrors Best Book challenge. The King in Yellow is a collection of short stories first published in 1895. I liked the way a few of the stories, although completely different, were connected to “The Yellow King” or “The King in Yellow”. The reading was a bit slow for me and the horror is subdued, but the stories themselves are told very well with a lot left to the imagination.

It is interesting to note that this collection created an entire mythos of its own and
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Kirstin
May 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Repairer of Reputations 5 stars- Excellent story!
The Mask 4 stars-Brought to mind a Twilight Zone episode
In the Court of the Dragon. 3 stars- Didn't really make an impression on me
The Yellow Sign 5 stars- Loved this one!
The Demoiselle d'Ys 4 stars- Enjoyable read
The Prophets' Paradise 1 star- Can't say I liked these short snippets of conversations
The Street of the Four Winds 4 stars- Really liked this one!
I didn't finish the other 3
Lilyn G. | Sci-Fi & Scary
I've never read 'The King In Yellow' before. Somehow I wasn't even aware of it until fairly recently. Then, when I was, it seemed to pop up everywhere for a while.  It was like the fates were decreeing that I needed to read this book. I decided to consider it part of my "Read all the Horror Greats" crusade that I am (ever so slowly) making progress on.

On a side note: I was quite surprised by the reception of The King in Yellow when I asked about it on Instagram and Twitter. (You can find me both
...more
Suvi
When I re-read Ambrose Bierce's An Inhabitant of Carcosa in February, I decided to finally revisit The King in Yellow after trying to get into it several months back and never managing to gain enough enthusiasm for it. Now the situation was completely different.

The first story, The Repairer of Reputations, is a great introduction to Chambers's universe. It starts as a sci-fi story of sorts, but then it slowly makes you question everything you've read previously. In The Mask, an unusual scientif
...more
Joe
Oct 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: collections
The King In Yellow by Robert W. Chambers is a Classic collection of ten short stories with a creepy supernatural feel and a book within a book.

The first five stories all have one recurring item linking them together; a old and twisted book that seems to have incredibly disturbing and damaging effects on all who read it. This book's title is of course ‘The King In Yellow’. All these five stories worked really well, both on their own and together. Having this weird and inhuman book affecting all d
...more
Jeff Raymond
First, let's all be honest. We're only all reading this because we're addicted to True Detective. The show is inspired, at least in part, by this book, so reading it became a priority.

If you're looking for insight into the show, nothing is obvious. The themes that are borrowed have been discussed at length. That leaves the short stories, half of which feel like they inspired Laird Barron directly, half of which are ultimately forgettable on a whole. Not all of Lovecraft's stories were winners, e
...more
Kyle
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Initially, I went into this with low expectations (it’s hard not to notice the low GR rating), and so maybe that was why I ended up enjoying this one more than I thought I would.

The King in Yellow is comprised of ten short stories. The first 5/6 of which mainly deal with the aforementioned: the titular “King in Yellow”— a play that, if read, drives the reader mad— as well as the dreaded “Yellow Sign”.

Each of these stories surprised me- they were macabre and quite unsettling. I should mention how
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Elektrohase
Just dnf'd it. It was too boring, sorry to say that. It was a great start with the repairer of reputations, the stories after this were mediocre and got more and more uninteresting.
Dergrossest
I only read this book because I am a True Detective slappy and needed something to help with my withdrawal after the conclusion of the series. I confess that I embarked on my reading with some trepidation since I saw that the author inspired H.P. Lovecraft, who I think is as frightening as over-cooked pasta and as exciting as a Mitt Romney campaign rally.

Anyway, I am happy to report that my fears were unfounded. The King in Yellow has a truly weird vibe to it, sprinkled as it is with odd excerpt
...more
Rob
Feb 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank goodness for True Detective. Without it, The King in Yellow might never again have made it back into the mainstream, which would be a shame. This is a wonderful and creepy book.

The opening four stories are what lend the book its title. All four refer to the fictional play "The King in Yellow." It's a work so horrible in its truth that it drives mad all those who read it. Needless to say, several within the first four do.

The back six are, while occasionally tinged with the supernatural, for
...more
Robin Bo
I hardly know what to write about this one. I would agree with most people that the first story is the best and left with me with a feeling of genuine disquiet after reading it. There are several of the other stories that I thoroughly enjoyed however my one complaint is that while the initial stories obviously had the King in Yellow theme, the later stories seemed not to and I began to lose track of how there were connected. I have no doubt the stories are all meant to connect somehow but I seem ...more
David
Mar 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014
Perturbing little collection. The first five stories are certainly more directly unsettling, and if you're here because of True Detective, you'll find more overt connections there. But the rest of the stories are certainly worth reading, and I think the themes of TD definitely connect deeply to those last stories.

Side point: this is why the current approach to public domain in the US is disastrous. Look what a wonderful web of intrigue Pizzolatto's woven from this old work, and what a cool thing
...more
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272 followers
Robert William Chambers was an American artist and writer.

Chambers was first educated at the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute,and then entered the Art Students' League at around the age of twenty, where the artist Charles Dana Gibson was his fellow student. Chambers studied at the École des Beaux-Arts, and at Académie Julian, in Paris from 1886 to 1893, and his work was displayed at the Salon as ear
...more
“Ah," she said, "to come is easy and takes hours; to go is different—and may take centuries.” 28 likes
“for I knew that the King in Yellow had opened his tattered mantle and there was only God to cry to now.” 14 likes
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