Graphic Novels, Historical Fiction, Reviews

Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang

Title: Boxers & Saints

Author: Gene Luen Yang

Goodreads Plot: (Boxers) China, 1898. Bands of foreign missionaries and soldiers roam the countryside, bullying and robbing Chinese peasants. Little Bao has had enough. Harnessing the powers of ancient Chinese gods, he recruits an army of Boxers–commoners trained in kung fu–who fight to free China from “foreign devils.” Against all odds, this grass-roots rebellion is violently successful. But nothing is simple. Little Bao is fighting for the glory of China, but at what cost? So many are dying, including thousands of “secondary devils”–Chinese citizens who have converted to Christianity.

(Saints) China, 1898. An unwanted and unwelcome fourth daughter, Four-Girl isn’t even given a proper name by her family when she’s born. She finds friendship–and a name, Vibiana–in the most unlikely of places: Christianity.  But China is a dangerous place for Christians. The Boxer Rebellion is in full swing, and bands of young men roam the countryside, murdering Westerners and Chinese Christians alike. Torn between her nation and her Christian friends, Vibiana will have to decide where her true loyalties lie…and whether she is willing to die for her faith.

My Thoughts: I absolutely enjoyed this series. The illustrations were beautifully done and very clean. The production and quality of this series was superbly done. A++ for you. I was immediately drawn into the stories of both characters, Bao and Four-Girl. You are able to create an attachment with both of them even though they are on opposite sides. I actually checked some of my old history textbooks from college (I was an Asian Studies Major), and the books were historically accurate for the most part. I love how the author hinted at the main problem of the Boxer Rebellion which was a fundamental misunderstanding of the west. The Boxers thought the Westerners were these invincible devils who were not human.  On the other hand, the Chinese converts were made up of people who sincerely believed in Catholicism, people who did not fully understand the Catholic teachings, and people who converted for personal gain. It is very apparent that the author did his research, and I appreciate that. To me, Boxers is the main story line as Saints is an add-on, complementary story to the main book. This is probably my favorite graphic novel I have ever read. Everyone needs to pick this up. Right now. Go buy it.

My Rating: 10/10

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