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on April 21, 2014
I purchased this book after learning about it from some articles about the TV seriesTrue Detective. I have read other older horror/mystery stories before. This collection is similiar to the style of H.P. Lovecraft in that it is haunting...and also leaves a lot up to the reader to imagine. It is an interesting read for anyone who enjoys this genre but somehow never stumbled upon this book. It does not follow the TV series beyond the reference to the King in Yellow, as well as the theme of madness. If you are looking for something similiar to the series, this isn't it. However, if you enjoy odd stories with strange endings...this is a your book.
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on March 11, 2014
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 King in Yellow. The book is a collection of 10 short stories broken into three subjects, The Weird Tales, A Ghost Story, and The Artistes. The first two section are pretty cool, not over the top King/Lovecraft cool, but the kind of stories that can stick in your mind. The basic premise being that the people who read the book "The King in Yellow" (which is a play according to the stories) go crazy. The King starts ok in the first act, but then the second tears off the wrapper of the craziness and seeps into the readers brain like a cancer that consumes them with delusions that tear apart their view of reality. But then we get to the Artistes stories which were ok from the perspective of historically seeing what Paris was like at the time this book was written in 1895, but other than that they really don't go anywhere and strike me more as filler than a continuation of the wonderment that started off the first half of the book. All in all the first part is worth checking out, but the back half leaves a lot to be desired.
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on April 16, 2014
Well, I won't give too much of a plot away, except to say that Robert Chambers's book follows an anthology-type format and involves a mysterious play which has a horrible effect on any who dare to read it. Many people probably were tempted to read the book after the "True Detective" tv show.

Everyone should know that this book is in the public domain, meaning that anyone can put out a printing. Meaning the quality will vary wildly from one edition to another. The version I recommend that readers get is the hardcover, yellow cloth-bound version from Buccaneer Press. The binding is very solid(sewn!) and the wonderful yellow cover is very....yellow? :)
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on January 13, 2016
Classic tales. I only read the first four of the eight, since I was mainly interested in The King in Yellow at the time. The stories are filled with dread and gloom, and it's obvious to see why this man, along with Poe, was such a heavy influence on H.P. Lovecraft. The detail he put into building an alternative reality (future for him, at the time) of the United States, and creating this evil play called The King in Yellow is incredible. The situations and circumstances people find themselves in when encountering this scary play is also intriguing. I recommend these stories to anyone with an interest in horror, gothic fiction, and just great storytelling as a whole. Robert W. Chambers was a great writer.
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on June 3, 2017
I checked this out for its connections to True Detective and HP Lovecraft, but honestly many of the stories are dense and do not lead to a satisfying conclusion. It's worth it if you're willing to invest in the stories (or so I've been told), but this is not light reading.
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on April 1, 2014
This book is amazing, disturbing and very enjoyable to read (for a New Yorker) as it describes the city in the late 19th century. Yes, I discovered it through the "True Detective" television series, and I have to say it's been a great way to continue the creepy vibe after the show. However, it really stands on it's own merits as a work of horror.
I'll have to go back and read Ambrose Bierce now to get a better understanding of Carcosa.
As for this edition of the book - it's lovely and perfect. The fabric cover and high-quality paper fit with a book of such historical origin and continued relevance. I also love the blank yellow cover which is suitably creepy. It sort of makes me think of insanity, sickness and a crypt all at the same time.
You can get this book for free on your kindle, but this edition just makes the experience that much more enjoyable.
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on February 13, 2014
This is a fascinating book. I see why Lovecraft called Chambers a "titan", but I also see why Lovecraft found him frustrating at times too.

In brief, my reactions were that the opening 5 stories related to the King In Yellow were transcendent and marvelous works of horror and the uncanny, and probably ought to be placed among the highest achievements of American weird fiction written during the reconstruction era. I found the experimental poems in this book likewise remarkable and enchanting. But--alas!--the final sequence of stories set during the seige of Paris read like second-rate O. Henry or DeMaupassant tales. I found them frustrating and wondered if I was missing something.

This is an important book that will rightly live forever in the canon of weird fiction and horror fiction. Like most story collections, there are good and bad tales to be found within. However, in the case of the King in Yellow, the good doesn't just outweigh the bad. It utterly obliterates it.
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on February 23, 2015
I read this collection based on an amazon recommendation, and had no knowledge of its alleged connection with the true detective series. However, I now see the crossover.

In this book Chambers constructs series of world's and realities with clever and bizarre intersections, often leading the reader close to an overall understanding of the greater meaning of these short stories but never reveals it.

The characters are vibrate and familiar, even to contemporary readers. I often found myself uncomfortably connected to and empathetic with his broad range of antagonists/protagonists as these stories developed.

Though this collection will likely leave you with more questions than answers, you will surely be delighted by the genius of his stories.
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on October 2, 2016
This has got to be one of the best books I have read in a long time. The prose was beautiful the characters were well written and it had a sense of hopelessness. Most of the stories within contain hints of the infamous king in yellow, while others were just stories but they all went together . Simply eloquent.
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on October 7, 2014
People who say this book does an injustice to true detective or feel ripped off by it due to the show need to do some research.

This book was published in the 1800s and is public domain. There is no copy right and the book is not ripping off a television show that predates the invention of television by many decades.

As for the book itself, the first half was the best for me as it deals with more horror and interesting topics. The second half of stories is still good but if you read cover to cover you will find it getting a tad dull.

For a book over a century old, this still reigns as a good classic, with a cult following.
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