Monday, January 21, 2013

Unholy Night, by Seth Grahame-Smith

The wise men in Seth Grahame-Smith's retelling of the Nativity story are anything but wise, but they are charmingly human. Balthazar, the main character, is a thief with a conscience, who stumbles into the manger scene complete with a healthy dose of skepticism. Despite his unbelief, Balthazar's life becomes inextricably entwined with those of Mary, Joseph, and their infant son, and a non-stop adventure ensues.

Grahame-Smith does an excellent job of weaving together the Biblical tale, his own imagining of Balthazar, and a realistically recreated setting of ancient Judea. The little details such as the madness of King Herod prove amusing along the way. Mary comes through as a refreshingly strong character compared to the "meek and mild" descriptors that usually are associated with her, and Balthazar's eventual transformation is heartening to watch unfold. The very final pages of the book hold one last great surprise that brings loose threads together in brilliant conclusion to an exciting and inspiring story.


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