Unholy Night - Seth Grahame-Smith 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 writing. Maybe it's just me, but I found the writing in this novel to be horrifically bad. I was actually shocked to see that it was Seth Grahame-Smith's most recently released novel, because I loved his work in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and quite frankly what I saw in Unholy Night felt like a step backward. The prose and some of the phrases and metaphors he used in it just seemed downright amateurish. Descriptions felt lazy and sloppy.

Also, while this book is supposedly about the so-called Three Wise Men, we only really get to know about Balthazar. In fact, beyond Balthazar there's hardly any development of the other characters at all. What characterization there was felt very flat and shallow, and completely squandered. For instance, I felt Mary and Joseph came across as nothing more than a couple of naive religious nuts, when this otherwise would have been a fantastic opportunity to explore the thoughts, personalities and motivations of these two extraordinary figures. I was also not very impressed as how Herod was portrayed as a villain -- a crazy mad man who is a violent egomaniac, who rapes women and kills people for sport? He was basically a caricature of someone "really, really evil(TM)" and not much more.

I was entertained by the story, I will give it that. However, I was really disappointed overall, given how much I was looking forward to reading this. A great idea, but wasted on an unimaginative plot and poor character development.