Boxers&Saints Boxed Set Edition
One of the greatest comics storytellers alive brings all his formidable talents to bear in this astonishing new work.
In two volumes, Boxers&Saints tells two parallel stories. The first is of Little Bao, a Chinese peasant boy whose village is abused and plundered by Westerners claiming the role of missionaries. Little Bao, inspired by visions of the Chinese gods, joins a violent uprising against the Western interlopers. Against all odds, their grass-roots rebellion is successful.
But in the second volume, Yang lays out the opposite side of the conflict. A girl whose village has no place for her is taken in by Christian missionaries and finds, for the first time, a home with them. As the Boxer Rebellion gains momentum, Vibiana must decide whether to abandon her Christian friends or to commit herself fully to Christianity.
Boxers&Saints is one of the most ambitious graphic novels First Second has ever published. It offers a penetrating insight into not only one of the most controversial episodes of modern Chinese history, but into the very core of our human nature. Gene Luen Yang is rightly called a master of the comics form, and Boxers&Saints will cement that reputation.
Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature
One of Publishers Weekly's Best Comic Books and Best Children's Books of 2013
A New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of 2013 A Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2013
An NPR Best Book of 2013
About the Author
Gene Luen Yang is the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and is a MacArthur Fellow, a recipient of what's popularly known as the MacArthur "Genius" Grant. He began drawing comic books in the fifth grade, and in 1997 he received a Xeric Grant for his first comic, Gordon Yamamoto and the King of the Geeks. He has since written and drawn a number of titles, including Duncan’s Kingdom, The Rosary Comic Book, and Prime Baby. American Born Chinese, his first graphic novel from First Second, was a National Book Award finalist, as well as the winner of the Printz Award and an Eisner Award. He also won an Eisner for The Eternal Smile, a collaboration with Derek Kirk Kim. He is the author of the Secret Coders series (with artist Mike Holmes) and has written for the hit comics Avatar: The Last Airbender and Superman. Yang lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
As with many of Gene Luen Yang’s stories, Boxers & Saints is an unexpected and engrossing story. The historical fiction two part series tells the story of the Boxer Rebellion, from the viewpoints of either side of the story. Both graphic novels begin in the childhood of the main characters, Little Bao and Fourth-Girl. The two stories interact with each other often, however the two characters only meet twice. Little Bao grows up in the Shandong Province, at the end of the 19th century. The Christian Europeans, known as foreign devils, bully the Chinese and attempt to convert them. Bao is trained to fight with Kung Fu, and learns to use spiritual powers. Bao teaches the Brother-Disciples of the Big Sword Society, and they join together to reunite China and restore its power. With the help of their god-like abilities, they attempt to expunge every Christian from the land. On the other side of the conflict, lies Fourth-Girl. Her family did not want her, so they did not even bother giving her a name. She eventually finds a family with the Christian Church, which she originally thought was devil training. After her Baptism, the girl chooses her first real name, Vibiana. She then begins to have visions of Joan of Arc, who helps to guide Vibiana through the rebellion. These stories are short and seem to be written for children at first glance. However, I was surprised to find many adult themes and content in them. The battles, both physical and psychological, are extremely brutal for everyone involved. Since the story is told from both sides, many flaws and misconceptions are pointed out. For example, the Boxers believe they transform into gods before battle, however the Saints see them as average Chinese. Though they are comparable to modern terrorists, I could not help feeling sorry for the Chinese. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes moral conflict, or anyone looking for a very short yet interesting read.
Two sides. Awesome easy read
This two-volume graphic narrative set against the historical events of the Boxer uprising in turn-of-the-century China tells the complementary tales of Little Bao, an adolescent Chinese boy who leads the Society of the Righteous and Harmonious Fist in defense of his homeland against British and European imperialists, and Vibiana, an adolescent Chinese girl who converts to Catholicism in an effort to seek a sense of belonging. Their stories intertwine in plausible and compelling ways that force us to examine the reasons why adolescents—even in the most dire of circumstances—value community and peer support. Without taking sides, Yang masterfully depicts his protagonists as flawed but sympathetic teens who earnestly attempt to grow, learn, and develop their principles amidst a backdrop of political and religious conflict. Both Little Bao and Vibiana experience mystical encounters with spiritual beings who guide them through their ordeals; the magical realism infuses their stories with metaphysical resonance and calls to mind the ancient Greek epic of the Iliad, during which the gods fought alongside mortals. Joan of Arc appears as Vibiana’s spiritual guide, foreshadowing Vibiana’s sad fate. In addition to the rich history covered in these two volumes, Yang addresses issues of gender through his depiction of the Red Lanterns (the distaff counterparts of the Society) and Vibiana herself, a strong-willed tragic heroine who stumbles upon her faith almost accidentally but ultimately comes to value it over all else. I highly recommend these narratives for their engaging depictions of complex adolescent protagonists as well as their value as historical texts that tell a story unfamiliar to most Western teens.
Although this amazing story is set in China, it actually applies to ALL conquered peoples throughout the world. Fascinating book(s).
A truly fascinating point of view from 2 sides of the same conflict