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Unholy Night

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  7,588 ratings  ·  1,236 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, 307 pages
Published November 13th 2012 by Grand Central Publishing
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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 ·  7,588 ratings  ·  1,236 reviews

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Miranda Reads
Jesus, Mary and Joseph...did not belong in this one

I get that it's Seth Grahame-Smith's thing to take classic stories (i.e. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) or famous people (i.e.Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) and throw his own twist on them. Normally a grisly supernatural twist that just adds so much life to the story.

For Unholy Night, the twist was what if the three Wisemen were thieves and murderers who helped out the holy couple flee King Harod? That twist did not belong in this story.

Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ
Apr 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Edward Lorn
Dec 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the hell out of this buddy read with Kells. Gotta admit, though, I did not expect that I would like this book as much as I did. I'm not one for mashups, so I've successfully skirted much of Seth Grahame-Smith's catalogue. You'll likely see me tackle that Abraham Lincoln vamp book, but only because I found it for a quarter. Found this one for a quarter, too, but had I paid ten bucks for the ebook version of Unholy Night, I don't think I'd be a bit disappointed. Well worth the price of a ...more
Feb 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ♥
Jun 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Dec 07, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The premise and the beginning of this book is highly promising. If I judge the book by its first third, it is a fun, hilarious, action-packed fantasy novel. The Three Kings are anti-hero thieves. And I can't tell you enough how I excited when I was reading the swordfight of Melchyor. He is not a swordsman, he is a sword saint!

I understand that due to plots, the story should getting more and more serious toward the end of novel. But I noticed the humor diminished completely at the end.

Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you read the blurb to go with this book you may think, "eh, whatever. This is a good author, but...I don't know if it is worth my time." Let me answer that for you, it is definitely worth your time. This book is amazing!
What if the three wise men were thieves who escaped execution. What if the newborn babe needed protection from a mad king? What if the wise men were the protection?
Excellent story that added spice to a wonderful story. I didn't feel that it poked fun at the birth of Christ

Wow...Seth Grahame-Smith can pretzel-bend history like nobody's business. The well-known nativity scene gets an epic reboot. I won't spoil any details but this book is full of action, suspense, blood, but also faith and redemption. This was definitely a fun book to read as long as you can see it for entertainment and not take the distorted Bible story too personal (depending on your religious preference). Check it out!

My favorite quote:
“Hug your children...Kiss your mothers and fathers, your bro
Interesting. I liked it, but it just didn't make me want to scream from the mountain tops about it. It's probably me.
Julie Davis
Good Story #73. Julie and Scott escape from prison and meet a very nice couple and their newborn baby. But there's just something about that baby...


“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,
Lorca Damon
Apr 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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 turne
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
Mar 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Timothy Boyd
Nice interesting telling of the events surrounding the birth of Jesus that reveal the truth behind the 3 wise men. While not as good to me as the Abraham Lincoln novel he wrote this is still a good entertaining read. Recommended
great title, great writing, great characters, loads of action. loved it.

it really is the bible as you've never read it before.
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gave a bit of an action twist to the biblical story of Jesus being born and the three wise men that visited him. I enjoyed it.
This was my first Seth Grahame-Smith work and I have to say that I was surprised on a few fronts. First, I thought it was going to be a purely humorous book, but although there were definitely some very funny parts, there was a lot more substance to the book than I expected. But also, I thought it was going to be full of supernatural monsters, but that turned out to be only a very tiny part of the book, lol. I have no idea what the author's religious views are but irreverent is definitely one of ...more
Sabra Embury
Apr 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wayyy to long. The writer also talks everything through until every last little detail. It's exhausting!
If you ask me, the story should have started at the execution (about 100 pages in): it's gets interesting there and it's a much stronger opening.
This book is a perfect example of why I love (good) short stories so much: it gets rid of all the clutter.
I was just bored throughout most of this book, but it had some strong story points. It could have been so much more.
Also, there was very little
May 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unholy Night is a take on the the tale of the Three Magi, the three wise men who visited the Christ child at his birth in Bethlehem. But in this case the Magi is actually three escaped criminals who inadvertantly venture into the stable and after a quick face down with Mary and Joseph are roped into providing protection the child on his escape into Egypt.
Do not expect any corrolation between the story you heard as a child on Sundays with the story in this book. Seth Grahame-Smith takes a great a
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Alexis P
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book really gives you another perspective on not only live but the life of Jesus and the "village" of people who helped him escape. I really loved how it was action packed with a new twist or interesting fact around every corner. I would highly recommend to anyone looking for an action-packed, adventurous story about our king as a baby, his parents, and the Antioch ghost.
Scott Danielson
Discussed with Julie on the A Good Story is Hard to Find Podcast:
Episode 73: Unholy Night.

A fun, fun book.
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
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #122: Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith 1 3 Dec 28, 2013 09:19AM  
Live Video Chat with Seth Grahame-Smith 58 60 May 21, 2013 02:13PM  
what do you think about this book? 10 54 Feb 02, 2013 07:32PM  
Joseph Beth Sci-F...: Unholy Night 1 3 Nov 26, 2012 08:36AM  
VAMPS-R-US: Another by Seth Graham-Smith 6 11 Oct 07, 2012 06:46PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: Unholy Night 1 4 Aug 04, 2012 06:48AM  

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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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