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Unholy Night Hardcover – April 10, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 212 customer reviews

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About the Author

Seth Grahame-Smith is the New York Times bestselling author of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. In addition to adapting the screenplay for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Seth also wrote Tim Burton's film Dark Shadows. He lives in Los Angeles.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1 edition (April 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446563099
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446563093
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (212 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #683,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Garvinstomp VINE VOICE on April 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
UNHOLY NIGHT is Seth Grahame-Smith doing what he does best: Taking that which we know and putting his own spin on it. Like he's done with Jane Austen (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES) and Abe Lincoln (ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER), Grahame-Smith blends the classic with the supernatural, bringing freshness and excitement to stories that we've all heard many times.

The first thing to note is that this is the best-written of his books. With P&P&Z he was hemmed in by the boring prose of Jane Austen. With AL:VH, since it was written largely as Lincoln's journal, he was restricted to the more formal, anachronistically stilted writing style that our 16th President would have used in the mid-1800s. In fact, with the first two novels, I always enjoyed the concepts more than the actual execution of the novel. But with UNHOLY NIGHT, he's able to open up and write freely. He doesn't use any narrative tools or invoke anyone else's voice to tell the story. He's free to speak as he sees fit, even using modern-day words to describe situations.

The story surrounds the three wise men who are told to have visited Christ at his birth in the manger in Bethlehem. Smith isn't the first to tackle the topic of these three very famous, yet largely obscure, figures. Christopher Moore, in his laugh-out-loud Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, told of Jesus' missing years as he wandered the land searching out the three men from his birth to receive instruction and help him grow spiritually. The story is told from the perspective of Jesus best friend, the girl-chasing, swearing, troublemaking Biff.
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Format: Hardcover
The title and topic caught my attention. This was a fun read. Very different take on the birth narrative and yes the author takes some liberties with the material. I thought the book was well paced, the main characters nicely done and the denouement satisfying. Like another reviewer I wish the other "wise men" had been more fleshed out and involved with the story. This book is not trying to make any theological points and doesn't take itself too seriously. It's just a solid adventure set in a context most people are familiar with.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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, is practically a household word. You will learn how he meets two other thieves named Gaspar and Melchyor, and comes to be the chief protector of a young couple and their preternaturally calm infant - a child so unusual that even though he sups constantly at his mother's breast, never, never seems to sully a diaper. Whether fending off an army of the undead or arguing theology with Mary and Joseph, Balthazar never strays from his Inigo Montoyaish quest for vengeance. And even he has to admit - There's something about that baby.

The faint of heart should take care - this is a taut, action thriller with loads of violence, though from what I've heard, it's not quite as gory as The Holy Bible.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I heard an interview with the author about this book on NPR and thought that it would be worth reading. When I finished it, I was neither happy to have read it, but I also did not feel like I had completely wasted my time. The story is fairly entertaining, if you do not mind very detailed violence, gore, torture, etc. (Though, the author does stop short of describing sexual encounters and rape.)

My main complaint with the book is that it is poorly written. I thought that it was going to be an interesting spin on an old story, but really the fact that it is the story of the 3 Magi is irrelevant. Mary, Joseph, and 'the infant' could have been replaced by any no-name characters and the book would have lost almost nothing. Additionally, there is no subtlety in the writing. If there is some metaphorical meaning, or theme running with the text, or an attempt at a biblical reference, a reference to another point in the book, the author is sure to point it out to the audience, often with something as obvious as italics.

If you come to this book looking for anything religious--either the growth of your faith if you are a Christian, or a scathing inditement of religion if you are a New Atheist--you will be disappointed, as it provides neither.

Overall, I would only recommend this book to people who are fans of Grahame-Smith, or gory pop-literature, but if you are looking for a well written interesting twist on an old story, this book is not for you.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Did you ever wonder about the Magi of the New Testament? We know their names, and we were told of the gifts they brought to the Christ child. But beyond that, not much is known. Seth Grahame-Smith creates a story about the Magi, especially around the one called Balthazar. Part mystery, part Spartacus, Balthazar is basically a common thief--- until an event turns him into a vengeful, bitter person who believes in nothing good, nothing sacred. How could such a man find his way into the Christmas story? How could such a man breathe the same air as the Christ child?
Grahame-Smith brings to us vivid, imaginative details of Herod, Pontius Pilot, Joseph, Mary and the Babe. Some scenes are fantastical, others surreal. We are but bystanders to a vast, ancient stage that displays the gory glory of Roman rule. Men slay their fellow men propelled by power, greed and revenge.... Balthazar among them until he is thrust into the presence of Joseph, Mary and the Babe, and thus into history.
If you're opposed to age old tortures, swords and all, there are parts of this story you will not like. Still, it is set in the early days of Christ, so parts may be unsettling, but the story is worth it. And, with Grahame-Smith's imaginative gift (Zombies, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) one really shouldn't be too surprised. With the lack of facts about the Magi, Unholy Night provides an almost plausible, but certainly entertaining story.
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