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The King in Yellow

Written by: Robert W. Chambers
Length: 7 hrs and 36 mins
5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Originally published in 1895, Robert W. Chambers' The King in Yellow is a marvel of supernatural fiction that has influenced a number of writers in the genre, most notably H. P. Lovecraft. Its powerful combination of horror and lyrical prose has made it a classic, a masterpiece of weird fiction that endures to this day.

There is a book that is shrouded in mystery. Some even say it's a myth. Within its pages is a play - one that brings madness and despair to all who read it. It is the play of the King in Yellow, and it will haunt you for the rest of your days.

The King in Yellow is a collection of stories interwoven loosely by the elements of the play, including the central figure himself.

Public Domain (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • David S. Mathew
  • 2016-11-23

Great Introduction to Robert Chambers

Robert W. Chambers is primarily famous for his supernatural horror stories, collectively known as the Carcossa mythos or Yellow mythos. These incredibly creepy stories were favorites of later horror authors like H. P. Lovecraft, who actually incorporated them directly into his own Cthulhu mythos. Also, Chamber's most famous horror creation, the titular King in Yellow, has recently been resurrected in True Detective.

First of all, this is a recording of the original 1895 edition of the King in Yellow. That edition didn't contain the complete Carcossa mythos since Chambers hadn't written it yet. And as many have already noted, only around the first half of this edition contains Chambers' horror stories. Around the last three hours, the stories shift from supernatural horror to love stories set in Paris. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but just know what you're buying.

Also, while I really enjoyed Stefan Rudnicki's very deep, baritone voice it may turn some off. Best listen to the sample first. With all that said, I'd ultimately recommend this as worth a credit. Enjoy!

20 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Susan Lewellyn
  • 2016-05-28

So bizarre

Would you listen to The King in Yellow again? Why?

I've listened twice and probably will again. Each story is so bizarre and sometimes confusing that I love trying to figure it out each time.

What other book might you compare The King in Yellow to and why?

I have no idea.

What does Stefan Rudnicki and Gabrielle de Cuir bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Stefan Rudnicki's voice is absolutely wonderful to listen to. In an almost punny way, his voice brings a great depth to the stories.

Who was the most memorable character of The King in Yellow and why?

I think I most enjoyed the character, who's name I unfortunately have forgotten, who gets lost in the moor and is saved by the young girl with the bird.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • jkeramidas
  • Brooklyn, NY
  • 2014-10-02

A tale of two books

What disappointed you about The King in Yellow?

The complete shift of story type in the second half. The first half of the book is a series of macabre short stories in the vein of Poe, but then the second half turns into a series of pointless romantic blathering about American artists in Paris' Latin Quarter at the close of the 19th century. I kept waiting for the stories to take a turn but they just continued to prattle on about pots of pansies and the inane interactions between the artists and their various crushes.

Would you be willing to try another one of Stefan Rudnicki and Gabrielle de Cuir ’s performances?

Rudnicki's monotone performance with little distinction between characters means I am unlikely to listen to something by him again. Gabrielle de Cuir only performed the occasional snippet of poetry at the beginning of a story. Basically a non-entity.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment. The actual stories around the fictional play of the King in Yellow were intriguing, but the rest was a waste of time

8 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Vincent C. Daniels
  • Detroit, MI
  • 2019-09-21

Cosmic Horror . . . Romance?

The first two stories were very engaging. I quite enjoyed them. They kept to the cosmic horror theme so prevalent in H.P. Lovecraft stories. However, the last few stories were more akin to grocery store romance novels. It kind of ruined the mood and overall feel of the book as a whole.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • TCH
  • 2019-08-19

great story

great narration and the story is engaging. lovecraft is difficult to follow in general. I like the audio version.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Hannah Sanchez
  • 2019-08-06

Evocative stories of strange lands, namely Paris.

Interesting ideas, solid writing, great performances. The thematic link between the short stories can at times feel repetitive, but the dark tone and flowery love are mixed well.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Ian
  • 2019-03-20

scattered

this feels like two separate collections tied together by the rather strange notion of love in France.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Eivind
  • 2019-01-17

Good

The first stories are wonderful, the last two-three arnt as interesting. But still worth the price.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Joseph Brisson
  • 2019-01-13

Sci-fi begging romantic end?

The first stories of the book are of semi Sci fi, alternate reality, macabre nature that is very exciting and leaves you wanting more literally.

after the first few stories which I would listen to again and again. The novel turns to 1900 American in Paris loves story which are nice but not the same.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Joel Bagley
  • 2018-05-11

A Bait and Switch

I had went into this expecting 1920's Weird Fiction, and when it started it delivered quite well. I began to realize it was more a collection of short stories and thought they'd be tied together by the play that share's this books title. Instead it just drops the weird fiction part halfway through and drones on and on about American artist faffing about in French art schools and romance, with none of the strangeness I had such expected. Derleth's reworks of the mythos stuff is usually frowned down upon, but at least there The King in Yellow wasn't just art in France.