Cover Image: The King in Yellow, Deluxe Edition

The King in Yellow, Deluxe Edition

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I had never heard of this book, which is strange because I've seen the first season of True Detective about 12 times, and it includes Carcosa and it is just fascinating.  This book was creepy and unsettling in the best way.  I loved it.
Was this review helpful?
A great collection of classic horror stories that are definitely worth it. 

I was expecting just one type of story so I was a bit disappointed to read others while the title indicated otherwise. Even so, they were pleasant to read and I enjoyed them more than I thought I would. The novel consists of four horror tales, each different from the other but still loosely connected. The King in Yellow is a cursed book that no one seems able to read until the end, driving people to insanity and even commit suicide. It makes an appearance in all the four stories I think it’s a nice touch, the book seems to have the ability to compel people to read it, which adds spice to the stories.

The style of writing is beautiful and compelling, like hearing a soft, creepy melody coming out of the book but with words instead of music notes.

Here are the summaries and some light comments of each story:

The Repairer of Reputations
A weird but enjoyable read. The narrator tells the story of how he fell from a horse and confined to a mental institution until the doctors realise there was a misdiagnosis. After being freed, he plans to take revenge on the doctor while trying to deal with growing feelings for his brother’s fiancée. The narrator spends time with a mysterious man that “fixes” reputations by dealing with scandals. Everyone seems to think this man is mad… or is the narrator the mad one?

I truly enjoyed this one! It’s creepy, very well described and a great start to the collection.

The Mask
It tells the story of the young creator of a sculpture called “The Fates” and his death. The sculptor, also a chemist, creates a potion that whatever is put inside turns to stone. He begins to experiment with flowers and goldfishes but finishes by filling his pool with the solution…

This one is more on the creepy side since we see it through the eyes of the narrator, the man in love with the sculptor’s wife. With that said, it’s not hard to guess what takes place after. Even so, it was a tragic line to it.

In the Court of the Dragon
A man becomes increasingly troubled as he becomes aware of an evil force during church services. It seems that this force is working against him. Is there an evil force at work or is it all in his head?
​
The worst things are those you can’t see. This story takes this to a new level and it leaves trying to figure out of there is actually something there or not. Very psychological indeed! On the downside, I think the author had space to go develop a bit more the character and go a bit more in-depth into the story. I feel it wouldn’t lose any intensity if it was a bit longer.

The Yellow Sign
Similarly to the “In the Court of the Dragon”, a bohemian artist senses an evil force around the night watchman of the churchyard right outside his window. The man almost looks like he’s dead and skeletally so. In the beginning, he discards his wild, irrational fears, but when hi favourite model begins to suffer from bizarre nightmares, and the neighbours tell a few disturbing tales, he begins to question his sanity. The King in Yellow come out to play and we all know that it’s not the sign of a happy ending.

Robert Chambers and his work was unknown to me before I read this book and I highly enjoyed it. I will definitely look at his other works.

I recommend this book to fans of short stories, both from the horror and romance/drama genres.

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher Pushkin Press for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
Was this review helpful?
Indescribable horror...									3 stars

This is a short collection of four horror stories, all linked by a play called The King in Yellow which, we are told, reveals truths so awful that anyone who reads it will be driven to madness and despair. The first thing to say is that it appears that Chambers’ The King in Yellow collection usually includes ten stories. For this new edition, Pushkin Press have extracted the four that are linked and omitted the other six, which reviews tell me are mostly of a different style.

Each story is very short, so the entire volume isn’t much more than novella length. In truth, I found it a rather disappointing collection, with only one story that stood out for me. The awful truths contained in the play of The King in Yellow are not revealed to the reader, so fortunately at least I was spared from being driven insane. But this technique of telling the reader that there is something so awful it can’t be described – a technique used frequently in weird fiction – strikes me as a major cop-out.

Here's a brief idea of each of the four stories:

The Repairer of Reputations – a story told by a madman, driven mad obviously by having been foolish enough to read The King in Yellow. He is convinced he is entitled to become a King which involves him having to bump off the man he believes stands in his way. All very weird, but not really in a good way. I gave this one a generous 2½ stars.

The Mask – a sculptor, Boris, has discovered a solution that turns living things into the purest marble (including sweet little bunny rabbits – you have been warned, animal lovers!). Meantime Boris's friend, the narrator, is in love with Genevieve, Boris's wife. There's lots of gothic drama, high, exalted love, madness and despair, mixed together with some nice horror and just a touch of weirdness. Good stuff! I gave this one 5 stars.

In the Court of the Dragon – a man goes to church just after reading The King in Yellow. He becomes obsessed by the organist - a dark figure who keeps appearing wherever he goes. Is he paranoid, driven to madness by the play? Or is there a more sinister reason behind the organist's appearances? Hmm – I found this OK-ish, but nothing special, and gave it just 3 stars.

The Yellow Sign – An artist and his model seem to be sharing a common nightmare about the artist being in a coffin in a hearse. Needless to say, they've both read The King in Yellow, thus allowing evil and madness into their lives. This one has some quite good horror aspects, though, and a nice sense of creepiness to it. I gave it 3½ stars.

So a mixed bag. The question is – would I recommend it? In truth, not for the quality of the stories themselves on the whole, but I'm led to believe these are considered to have been influential on Lovecraft and others, and are often referenced by later writers, so I guess I'd recommend them to people who are interested in the development of weird fiction. 

NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, Pushkin Press.
Was this review helpful?
So this is the King in Yellow. It's a nicely-bound edition of the story. I'd read it before, and I did not re-read this one. I actually got to see a physical copy at Winter Institute this year, presented by the publisher. It's a nice one, and I'm glad it's out there. Most of the versions I'd seen around have been public domain, self-published versions that random people had produced and sold. Many of those were awkward and low-quality. This edition is really nice, though it's a little more expensive than I would have hoped, but it's not bad. It's a nice little book that fans of weird stories will enjoy.
Was this review helpful?
This is a wonderful collection of four short stories that is clearly very influential in the horror/weird fiction genres but not nearly as celebrated as it should be, so it's great to see this Deluxe Edition being released. Each story is related to the mysterious King in Yellow story, which we the reader is not familiar with but we soon learn that anyone who reads the King in Yellow does not have a happy ending! These stories are very well written and fantastically crafted. Each one is quite different but is linked by the King in Yellow and there are eerie and unsettling themes throughout. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this collection and I intend to re-read it in October because I think that would be a perfect time of year for these spooky stories!
Was this review helpful?
What a delightfully weird set of stories. There are four tales here, all linked by the play 'The King in Yellow' which causes insanity in those who read it. The stories have a real Lovecraftian feeling to them in terms of an overarching mythos that is never fully explored or explained. I particularly liked 'The Yellow Sign,' the last of the four stories. It had a very sinister tone and I read it with a sense of dread, awaiting the hammer to fall. The prose is a little archaic, which lends credence to the stories somehow and although the plots are simplistic, this doesn't detract from the ominous quality of the narratives. I re-watched season one of 'True Detective' alongside reading these stories, which gave both the reading and watching experience greater depth. Carcosa, like the lands described by Lovecraft, is a place of wonder and horror in equal measure and it is no surprise that a show as dark as True Detective would be inspired by this mythos. A great addition to any library of weird fiction.
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Was this review helpful?
The King in Yellow could be called The King of Suspense/Horror.  I read these stories every few years, and each time is enjoyable -- they are delightfully unsettling!  All four stories are scary reads, but I always feel the most sympathy for Tessie.
Was this review helpful?
The King in Yellow is one of my favorite stories of all time. I read it at least twice a year and this deluxe edition is my new favorite. It completely reminded me of why I love this story. And why it’s so haunting , and beautiful and relevant even in our times today. I will definitely be buying a physical copy of this, as this is the new edition I will be reading every year.
Was this review helpful?
This is a collection of short stories, which are wonderfully told.

The horror tales were my favorites, although all the tales are interesting and good to read.

I loved the writing style and the settings, and each one is very different from the others. 

recommended
Was this review helpful?
This is the first time I've ever picked up and read The King In Yellow, and I'm actually glad I finally decided to read it, even though I did find it a bit strange and little confusing at times, with that said I would like to think Netgalley for giving me the chance to finally reading it in a change for my honest opinion,.
Was this review helpful?
I received an advanced copy of this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Let me start off by saying, I'm really curious to read the actual King in Yellow. I wish it actually existed. I looked it up on wikipedia and I was able to get a bit more information on it but not much. I also realized that this version only includes the 4 short stories and is missing 6 other stories. I'm curious as to why they weren't included. 
Before I realized that the King in Yellow wasn't actually a book that I could read, and before looking it up in wikipedia,  I didn't really grasp the significance of all the references to the king in yellow, or the yellow letter, etc. I also don't tend to do well with short stories but I was curious about this one because it's early horror. I wasn't really able to give this attention it deserves because it didn't really keep my interest. 

I had to keep reminding myself that the author wrote this in the late 1800's and he did a pretty decent job. The story about the sculptor, "The Mask" was probably my favourite. It actually seemed a bit advanced for the time that it was written. 

For lover's of original ghost stories from the late 1800-early 1900's, this book is definitely for you. For myself, I might appreciate something on the more modern side, or something that I could relate to so it might actually scare me.
Was this review helpful?
After reading these four stories (I'll read more definitely), I can clearly see the influence Chambers had on Lovecraft. For me, Chambers is somewhere between Poe and Lovecraft, with the right amount of creeping dread and formless despair. I would recommend this collection to all lovers of weird fiction, hoping that the edition contains more than 4 stories.
Was this review helpful?
Great to finally read the well-known book known to be a key-stone in the 'weird' genre. Reminiscent of Edgar Allan Poe and with better dialogue than Lovecraft it was a delight from start to finish (disregarding the early questionable ethics in the very first pages).
Was this review helpful?
The term "weird fiction" could have been coined to describe “The King in Yellow”. First published in 1895, and soon to be reissued in a deluxe "gift edition” by Pushkin Press, it features elements of horror and the supernatural and even a touch of science fiction and yet fits uncomfortably under any of these categories. It is frankly, just plain “weird”. 

The book consists of four short stories which are linked some common characters and, more importantly, by a recurring leitmotiv, a mysterious play called “The King in Yellow”. This play is, purportedly, a work of such evil genius that whoever reads its second act descends into madness and despair. Chambers uses a technique which would later greatly inspire H.P. Lovecraft (he applies it to great effect in his Cthulhu stories) – we are never actually told what the play is all about, the narrators in each story merely make vague references to its contents, leaving us to surmise what evil horrors this banned work might hold within its pages. 

The first story – “The Repairer of Reputations” – is set (like the fourth) in an imagined future America of the 1920s and sets the macabre tone of the work. It is narrated by a young man just out of a mental institution, who has delusions about ruling America in allegiance with the powerful “King in Yellow”. This story recalls Poe in its portrayal of obsession and madness, leading to a bloody denouement. The second tale, "The Mask", is a sort of “Pygmalion” in reverse. Set in France, it tells of a sculptor who discovers a chemical solution which can turn live beings into statues. This story introduces a new ingredient to the mix – the bohemian milieu beloved of fin-de-siecle, decadent literature. It is not uncommon in such works to encounter a fascination with the Catholic faith, or at least, its cultural trappings. This is the case with “In the Court of the Dragon”, in which the protagonist seems to be pursued by a demonic church organist. This sinister predator is likely just a tired musician escaping to the loo during a longish sermon, but to the narrator, fresh from reading that abominable play, he comes across as a malign figure sent by the King in Yellow to claim his soul. “The Yellow Sign” takes us back to 1920s America, but we are again in a world of artists and their models. There is also the presence of a Catholic church, such that at first, the atmosphere is not far removed from the previous story. This time round, however, the haunting is not done by an organist but by a “worm-like” churchyard watchman who, it seems, is possessed by the King in Yellow and is after the Yellow Sign, a curious gold clasp found by the narrator’s model.

Chambers’ short story collection originally contained six other stories, but it is only the first four which are linked by the “King of Yellow” theme. So it makes sense for this edition to be limited to these four tales which, partly thanks to Lovecraft, have achieved cult status amongst lovers of weird fiction.
Was this review helpful?
My first impression of The King in Yellow was that it reads with all its grandiose wording of the old classics we were required to read in English literature way back when I was young. This was my mistake as I most likely did not read the description thoroughly when I chose this book. Classics such as this tended to cause my eyes to droop more of boredom than remain alert with intrigue. Maturity has allowed me to acknowledge that while this may not be my preferred style of writing, the creativity and talent is superior.  I do find it intriguing as a predecessor to the modern horror genre that I do enjoy. The shared theme between the four stories was interesting. The writing was articulate and engaging. While I appreciated each story, I can only claim to have truly enjoyed the second, The Mask.  If you treasure these classics then I am sure you will find this book amazing. If, like me, this style isn’t one you enjoy then you will still surely recognize the eloquent writing, interesting stories and talent within.
Was this review helpful?
This is the perfect read for Halloween. The atmospheric horror is delicious, with no outright gore or grotesque things occurring, but with plenty of ambience to get the blood pumping.

Of the four stories in this edition, the weakest, I felt, was the “In the Court of the Dragon”, which doesn’t quite settle between psychological horror and actual paranormal one. The references to the King in Yellow add just the right touch of disquiet to the stories, and I love the running thread that connects all of these stories together.  “The Yellow Sign” was my favorite of the bunch, with just the right amount of disquiet, and lots of mentions to what happens in the mysterious play that drives anyone who reads it mad.

If you are looking for a fun read for Halloween that will leave you with a vague sense of evil, then this is a great choice.
Was this review helpful?
While there are many who clearly follow in the footsteps of the mythos’ founder. It is quite a rare author that can write on par with them - in terms of style, quality, and mood - Chambers is such an author.
Was this review helpful?
Review: THE KING IN YELLOW DELUXE EDITION (Pushkin Press) by Robert W. Chambers

I first read this short collection 18 months ago, in April 2016, in an earlier edition, and I fell in love with the weird fiction of Robert W. Chambers. As with my first encounters with H. P. Lovecraft, John W. Campbell, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Fredric Brown, and Tim Powers, I was awed and humbled. I recognized the presence of a master. THE KING IN YELLOW tales are every bit as scarifying today as on first read. I say "scarifying," not "horrifying" or "terrifying," because the terror is so subtle, akin to sitting in a darkened house at night, and knowing, just knowing, you are not alone, but not realizing who or what. The terror is in your peripheral vision; just beyond the reach of human hearing. It's the invisible, inaudible scare that arches a cat's back and raises gooseflesh on your arms. It's just around the angle, and it's reaching for your throat.

This Deluxe Edition Is a special new edition and will be published by Pushkin Press in February 2018.
Was this review helpful?