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Unholy Night

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  5,758 ratings  ·  1,012 reviews
From the author of the New York Times bestselling Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, comes UNHOLY NIGHT, the next evolution in dark historical revisionism.

They're an iconic part of history's most celebrated birth. But what do we really know about the Three Kings of the Nativity, besides the fact that they followed a star to Bethlehem bearing strange gifts? The Bible has lit
Paperback, 270 pages
Published January 2012
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Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-SmithThe Night Circus by Erin MorgensternInsurgent by Veronica RothLeviathan by Scott WesterfeldThe Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
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If you're gonna go a-messin' with one of the holiest stories ever told, you'd better be respectful, or the wrath of the religious right will rain down upon thee like a plague of locusts.

I'd say the author of this book can relax. Only the most pious could find fault here and that will probably be for giving the virgin Mary a bit of spunk and some opinions of her own.

This tale mostly concerns the life and adventures of Balthazar, a wise guy and thief so skilled that his nickname, The Antioch Ghost
I went in to reading this with very little expectations. I kind of thought I would hate it, I hadn't read anything by the man who ushered in the literary / zombie mash-up genre, but I figured he was pretty much a one-trick pony, a hack who happened on a great idea, someone who would be about as funny as I imagine Christopher Moore to be (I haven't read him, but when does that stop me from having strong and unfounded opinions).

Maybe it was because I had so little hope for this book, maybe becaus
Rebecca ♥ Matrim, Kishan, Warner ♥
Sep 07, 2014 Rebecca ♥ Matrim, Kishan, Warner ♥ rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of violent historical adventures or high fantasy
This review can also be found on my blog: A Match Made in Heaven

I found this book strangely moving. It was my first Seth Grahame-Smith book and I didnt know what to expect. Although there was some humour, I thought it would be more out there, and ridiculing the whole story. But really he just expanded on the story that already exists in the Bible, filling in the blanks with his own ideas. There was very little that was altered from the original story, mostly just the timeline and a few other det
Julie Davis
Listening to this again for a discussion at A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast. My review is below.


“Joseph? Mary? My name is Balthazar. This is Gaspar . . . this is Melchyor. We don’t want to hurt you . . . we’re just looking for a place to rest. But, Joseph? if you don’t put that pitchfork down, I’m going to take it from you and stab you to death in front of your wife and child. Do you understand?”
Wanted thieves Balthazar, Melchyor, and Gaspar, disguised as wise men, sh
Lorca Damon
I never did read the author's previous bestseller, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. It came out around the time of the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies craze and I judged it as just another one of those fun-yet-silly reads (I did read Zombies, it was good, but...).

So when I picked up Unholy Night (having never heard of it thanks to living in rural AL without a bookstore!), it was a very intriguing concept. I had heard of A. Lincoln, so I wondered what kind of twist the author would put to the sto
Rick Fisher
As a true bibliophile, I try not to limit myself in what I read. I am, however, as a Christian, leary of reading something that could be overtly sacriligious. So, my thanks to Mr Grahame-Smith for delivery a wonderfully retold rendition of the greatest event in our history.
SGS deftly weaved a wonderful plot involving the three wise men into the already amazing story of the birth of CHRIST. He created a great backstory about Balthazar and the his eventual introduction to Gaspar and Melychor. I
When I reviewed Seth Grahame-Smith's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn't just another throwaway mash-up. I remember writing that this would be a great book to help introduce the historical figure of Abraham Lincoln, one of America's most beloved Presidents to a youthful audience. If you stripped away the vampire hunting, you still had a pretty decent tale of the life of Abraham Lincoln, and with some guidance from a teacher (to let the students know ...more
Scott Rhee
Seth Grahame-Smith has done something pretty amazing in his novel "Unholy Night". It should be noted that this is the same author of the now-cult classic "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" and the surprise best-seller "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter".

Nothing is sacred to Smith. Really. Nothing.

So, it should come as no surprise that "Unholy Night" is an uber-violent action/adventure epic about the Nativity Story. Seriously.

Smith has taken the most beloved story of the Christian faith and turned
Dec 04, 2014 Jason rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: owned
I had higher expectations for this book, in comparison to Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, because Abraham Lincoln was so much better than I expected. It's safe to say that Seth Grahame-Smith exceeded my expectations.

Mr. Grahame-Smith is a fantastic writer. I am torn because on one hand I want to see what Mr. Grahame-Smith can do if he gets away from the gimmick of retelling well-known stories. On the other hand, he is so good at retelling well-known stories that I want him to continue. I can't w
Deviously clever, and not at all the sacrilege you might expect, given that this is the same author who so brilliantly twisted literature and history. The book plays around with the Nativity story, particularly the place of the Wise Men. In this tale, the Wise Men aren't kings or philosophers but petty thieves on the run from Herod who come across Mary, Joseph, and the infant Jesus. The primary character Balthazar, known as the Antioch Ghost, is a formidable protagonist who believes in little bu ...more
As a Catholic, I was really wanting to see how Seth Grahame-Smith would incorporate a Biblical event and give it his own twist. The Three Wise Men were really greedy, sword-wielding bandits that just happened to fall into King Herod's bad graces and stumble upon our Lord, Jesus Christ as a baby?!? What the hell? The book was harder to get into simply because it seemed to jump around from character to character, yet as I allowed myself to get pulled into the storyline, I found this to be the best ...more
Sabra Embury
Sometimes a straight story hits the spot; one that reaches in and grabs your guts to let them remember the meat and gore you're made of. By straight I mean: Balthazar aka "the Antioch Ghost" is stoic and strong; his duty is to protect an innocent/naive family (in this case Mary, Joseph and their newborn Messiah) from being butchered by ruthless Roman soldiers. Along the way there are tests of love and death, talks of faith and epic camel chases.

There's also a healthy spin on biblical tales most
Grahame-Smith, the evil genius between "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter", has re-imagined the Nativity story: what if the Three Wise Men were in fact three thieves on the run who stumble upon Jesus, Mary, and Joseph by accident? The story that follows is crazy and surprisingly reverent fun. I had to read "Unholy Night" in one sitting, I couldn't concentrate on anything else!
Scott D.
Discussed with Julie on the A Good Story is Hard to Find Podcast:
Episode 73: Unholy Night.

A fun, fun book.
I love reading Biblical fiction and this was the main thing that attracted me to this story. Second, was the author. Since I really like Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer I thought I couldn’t go wrong with Seth a second time.
The prophets have been telling King Harrod for years “the Messiah, the King of the Jews was to come and he will rule over all the Kingdom.” But the story does not center around the coming of Jesus but around one of the Wise Men who came to see the baby Jesus after he was born.
Joanna Wilson
The movie Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is based on the book by the same name by author Seth Grahame-Smith. He also wrote the popular book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. When I heard he wrote another book, Unholy Night, which incorporates the characters from the Nativity story, I knew I had to read it.

Seth Grahame-Smith's latest book Unholy Night was released earlier this spring. The lead character is Balthazar, a thief of reputation throughout Judea during the reign of King Herod. Also know
We generally know the story of the three wise men, who came to Jesus in the manger bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Some say they were sages. Some say they were ancient astronomers. But what if the real story was entirely different and not told until now?

Okay, okay, it's not the “real” story, per se, but it's still a story. Unholy Night is written by Seth Grahame-Smith, who wrote the other re-imaginings Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and the recently-turned-into-a-movie Abraham L
Mogsy (MMOGC)
The story of the birth of Jesus Christ may be one familiar to many, but on the other hand very little is known about the three wise men that brought him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. This is why this book is so entertaining. Unholy Night pretty much asks, what if these Three Kings were actually a bunch of thieves and killers?

I was all prepared to give this book a high rating just for the unique and hilarious premise alone. And I would have, if only I wasn't so disappointed with the writ
Brandon Lopez

This book is a good old fashioned Hollywood style romp through the desert. Although not labeled as such, it has the look and feel of a young adult novel. It's easy to read, written from a very modern perspective, is the standard young adult length of 300 pages, and of course(surprise, surprise) has a hollywood ending. It doesn't pull any real punches, it just follows the adventure movie archetype to a T, and gives historical and biblical accuracy the same kind of reverence as your average Nick
You'll never be able to look at a Nativity scene the same way again. Mr. Grahame-Smith has done a brilliant job turning the biblical account of the birth of Jesus into an engaging adventure. Let's face it. The Bible story has a lot of holes in it. Who were the Three Wise Men? How did Mary and Joseph, two poor peasants who'd probably never been further than a day's travel from their homes, get all the way to Egypt with Herod's forces hot on their heels? And did Joseph really buy the "This is God' ...more
Fuzzy Gerdes
*Unholy Night* is something of a puzzler. It's by Seth Grahame-Smith, the author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. The premise is as simple as the ones encompassed in those other two titles: It's the story of Jesus' birth, but instead of the three Magi being wise men or kings, they are three killers and thieves. I feel like there's usually two ways these sorts of rewrites of an existing story go. In one kind of rewrite, especially around the Christmas story, ...more
Jason P
I don't have much to say about this book other than it was, meh....
Seriously though, it started out at a good pace, but then just fell flat about half way through. I bitched and moaned about it to a few people, and of course, they said "then put it down and stop bitching". But I didn't; i felt the need to finish it.

So, now that it's done, I give this "novel" a two star rating. It was okay, but I wouldn't go back for a re-read.
S. K. Pentecost
Sep 28, 2015 S. K. Pentecost rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to S. K. by: NoveList
I have perused two of Seth's earlier novels and wouldn't call myself a fan. Not a hater either, because when NoveList recommended this as a Christopher Moore read alike, I didn't immediately recognize Seth's name.

I just listened to a TED talk about how creativity may involve turning off the part of your brain that keeps you from making mistakes, and I'd say that Grahame-Smith meets that criteria consistently. In both P&P&Z and ALVH, the genius was in the concept. Neither of those books w
This honestly had a little too much gore in it for me (and some of it was a little more detailed than I cared to read). However, I must say that Grahame-Smith's explicit detail in this regard helped make Herod an even bigger villain that I've considered through the years. In the book the man has not one single redeeming feature--(I will leave it at that, shudder). The story itself was a fun re-imagining of the Three Wise Men, and I loved, loved, loved how the author "wrapped up" the ending.
If your Christian this is a wild alternative about the life of Jesus. It was so plausible it made me think that it was certainly the way it could have really been in Herod's day. It kept me reading and I could not wait to see how this 'alternative history' turned out. I did not feel it was blasphemous and the name ' Jesus' was actually never mentioned.
The plot falls apart, since you simply can't have a straight revenge story and then a mostly orthodox portrayal of Jesus, Mary, Joseph and God. It reads as if God chose Jason Bourne to defend his infant son. I would think using the Gospels as background should have made the author complicate his plot line a bit. Oh well.
Seth Graham-Smith mi aveva colpito tempo fa con "Orgoglio e pregiudizio e zombie", non solo per le grasse risate, ma anche per la capacità di seguire fedelmente il libro facendo sentire la sua voce.. Il dubbio se fosse capace solo di riprendere trame altrui rimaneva e quindi la lettura di questo libro era decisamente obbligata!
Sono contenta, credo che l'autore sia davvero valido!!
Per mia grande ignoranza, non so quanto di ciò che racconta sia 'vero' o 'simile alla storia conosciuta', ma nondimen
I have to confess I didn't finish it. I just found it dull.
Jason Edwards
Got this one from a friend who loaned me a whole stack of books. I’ve been out of the reading rhythm for a while so I decided to start with this one since it seemed light-hearted and silly. It really wasn’t. It was kind of tedious, but I chalked that up to my being a rusty reader. Having just finished it though, I’m not so sure if it was me or just the novel.

Ostensibly a re-telling of the baby-Jesus story and His flight to Egypt. But what do you expect from a re-telling: is it an homage, a parod
Joseph R.
Unholy Night has a premise that makes a lot of people nervous, if not outright offended. The story of the three wise men visiting the baby Jesus is changed into an action/adventure yarn about a trio of thieves who pass themselves off as wise men to escape execution. They wind up in Bethlehem just as the Christ child is born. They take umbrage with Herod's orders to kill all the children in Bethlehem and start slaughtering all Herod's men. Then the wise men/thieves take the Holy Family under thei ...more
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Joseph Beth Sci-F...: Unholy Night 1 2 Nov 26, 2012 08:36AM  
VAMPS-R-US: Another by Seth Graham-Smith 6 10 Oct 07, 2012 06:46PM  
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Seth Grahame-Smith (born Seth Jared Greenberg) is an American author, screenwriter and film producer. He is best known for his novels Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter which both hit the New York Times' best seller list. Seth Grahame-Smith lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife, Erin, and his son, Joshua.
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“Hug your children...Kiss your mothers and fathers, your brothers and sisters. Tell them how much you love them, every day. Because every day is the last day. Every light casts a shadow. And only the gods know when the darkness will find us.” 12 likes
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