Boxers & Saints: Boxers
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Boxers & Saints: Boxers (Boxers & Saints #1)

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  5,714 ratings  ·  694 reviews
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 noth...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 10th 2013 by Turtleback Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Monica!
Well, kids, if you ever thought to yourself, “Hmm, I wonder if the history books have lied to me, and the Boxer Rebellion was actually super successful and amazing?!” here is the book to remind you that no, the Boxer Rebellion totally sucked.

For everyone.

Except maybe the Germans.

Luckily for us, Gene Luen Yang is amazing at detailing exactly why everything sucked, which makes for an interesting (albeit horrifying) read.

George Lynch, a journalist at the time, wrote about the Boxer Rebellion that “...more
Wyatt Packard
How Gene Luen Yang approached this subject is amazing and I give him so much credit as an author and creator. I have read so very few historical graphic novels and it was so refreshing to see Yang paint a historical event, The Boxer Rebellion, in a more character and motivational driven light. To be fair, I knew very little about the Boxer Rebellion prior to my reading Boxers & Saints, but after a bit of research motivated by the author's books I found that Yang's books are both entirely acc...more
First Second Books
Sep 24, 2013 First Second Books marked it as first-second-publications  ·  review of another edition
I've got to be honest: my favorite panel of this entire book is one of the ones from the beginning -- where Little Bao imagines marrying Vibiana (the opera-masked girl) and having lots of opera-masked sons.

I think it is adorable! And also hilarious.
Joshua
After reading gobs of praise for this, I broke down and ordered a copy for kindle rather than wait until my next visit to the US to pick up a paper copy, and I am delighted that I was not disappointed. While it is not perfect in every detail (subtleness is sometimes lacking), this graphic novel is saturated with something I can only call resonance. One feels there is something behind this book, compelling it into existence. This quality is most apparent in the way Yang depicts the mystical exper...more
B
I'm so impressed that this author was able to take a dreadful time in China's history and make it absorbing and accessible to everyone else with the two books that explain this time period from different viewpoints. Some of the humor was more 21st than 19th century but I imagine that this might appeal to a younger audience, hooking them into wanting to learn more about the Boxer Rebellion.

And I really appreciated how he demonstrated that war based on cultural differences coming from misunderstan...more
Jason
Ignore the sociopaths that flock to the cause, and the brutal men that feel it is their calling to do violence no matter the time or cause and ask yourself: Why do men commit such atrocities as they do, time and again? This book answers, surprisingly well, that question.

The story of Little Bao follows him from a child determined to do right in the world, a commitment to justice and peace, and we see how this path logically, and horrifically, leads him to locking a group of women and children in...more
Steph Sinclair
I don’t know what I was expecting when I first started reading Boxers, but it certainly wasn’t a war. That may give you pause, but I went into this one blind. I didn’t read the synopsis and had only seen a few of the illustrations at the BEA last year before deciding I wanted to read it. Overall, it was eye-opening and violent. I enjoyed the way Yang told a historical story with fantasy elements and was impressed with the amount of detail. I also liked how religion itself was handled. It plays a...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Back in grad school, I had my first experience with Gene Luen Yang's work when we read his most famous graphic novel thus far, American Born Chinese. Though disparate in subject matter, Boxers does have something in common with his prior work, the magical realism that Yang brings to bear even on historical or contemporary subjects. In Boxers, Gene Luen Yang manages to pack quite a punch with his spare prose and straight forward drawings.

Though I learned about the Boxer Rebellion in college, I'll...more
Tracey G
This book is just a total surprise for me. The art doesn't really go with the tone of the story but it made sense together. I'ma little upset at the ending but he should have already known that burning books is never the answer. It hurt my heart to see that library on fire so I wasn't too upset when they all got shot. You don't fuck with the history of your country, some things are just not worth it.
Jacob Goldman
I thought this book was really good because some people in the world are forcing people to do what they want, even if its wrong,and this book shows why. I like how the boy, Little Bao, stands up to a lot of people that were trying to hurt, kill his family. There was one part where he turned in to black-robed god, and he turns in to a fire god a little bit later. The only thing I did not like about it is that there are so many racist parts in the book. Example: when Christians are called "Devils,...more
KJ, Madame Librarian
Real talk, this is the best portrayal of the consequences of white supremacist imperialism I've ever seen. Y'all know how I feel about history and historical fiction, and this is the one of the most impressive blends I have ever seen. The visuals are stunning. Yang cuts no corners and spares no one.

I've seen a tagline for these two books that reads "every war has two faces", but that tagline is totally superfluous. There is no black and white in war, and this book is nothing but shades of gray....more
Edward Sullivan
An extraordinary work of graphic historical fiction. Yang brilliantly draws readers into the complex issues of a major historical episode in a sweeping story that is completely engrossing and accessible. Boxers is the first of a two-volume work. The second volume, Saints, tells a parallel story set against the same events.
Jan
Combining historical fiction with magical realism, Boxers tells the violent story of China's struggle against colonialism around the year 1900 from the perspective of a Chinese peasant boy whose village has been plundered and abused by Westerners. While it is Yang's first book to be set in China, it revolves around the very topics that have always dominated his writing: the relationship between Chinese and Western culture, religion, the supernatural, youth, identity formation, family, moral obli...more
Sarah
I don't read many graphic novels, but there was so much hype about this series that when I saw it on the shelf at my local library I thought I'd give it a go. I am glad I did. I knew nothing about the Boxer Rebellion going into this, so it was a nice light way to introduce me to the historical event.

I liked that Yang uses a central character, Little Bao, to convey the story and the events of the Rebellion. Although, I do think it would have been more effective if he had combined "Boxers" and "Sa...more
Olivia
I really like the art. The colors are flat (no shading) but work so well. They're mostly neutral until water or god-stuff comes in to play, which emphasizes the fantasy world in Little Bao's mind.

The story didn't wow me. It's fine. It's fairly violent in places, but of course it is it's about war. Little Bao starts off as this kid who likes Spring fairs and operas and is slowly turned into a rebel killing machine to save the China he knows. It's not really a happy story, but the art makes it bri...more
Rob
I'm a big fan of Gene Luen Yang, and his latest graphic novel didn't dissapoint. While I still think the tone and characters of this comic make it a young adult book, I think it's a lot more mature than his other works. The themes of war and religion add weight to the coming of age story that Yang tells so masterfully. I am excited to sit down and read the second installment, Saints, when I have the chance. This book introduced me to the history of the Boxer Rebellion, which I knew nothing about...more
Samantha
A moving, thought-provoking graphic novel that covers a violent period in China's history, the Boxer Rebellion. Little Bao suffers some major tragedies in his childhood (his father barely survives an attack at the hands of foreign missionaries and remains a changed man upon recuperation, his idol who taught him kung fu is killed), but grows up to spread misery far and wide as payback.

Little Bao recruits commoners trained in kung fu to serve as an army whose mission it is to force the foreign mi...more
Thomas Maerke
Really enjoyable. Really interesting. Makes me want to read about the Boxer Rebellion. I guess, when it comes to authors, Gene Luen Yang is becoming one of my favorites. I haven't read anything of his that I don't like. This one is significantly longer than American Born Chinese and Level Up, but still I was able to read it through in one sitting, and not feel overwhelmed. I love the characters that Yang creates, and I love the stories that he tells. I definitely recommend this one and can't wai...more
Ashley
I’m a bit ashamed to admit that my only knowledge of the Boxer Rebellion before reading these books came from those crossover episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel where Angel, Darla, Spike & Drusilla are taking advantage of the carnage of the Rebellion, and Spike ends up killing a Slayer (“Fool For Love” and “Darla,” in case you’re feeling like a rewatch). And really, I was more concerned with the vampires than with what was happening around them. Now that I know the context, I rea...more
Nicola Mansfield
I'm very interested in Chinese history and have read about the Boxer Rebellion before. When I saw this set of books were about to be published I wondered what the Catholic-Chinese author would have to say and how he would say it. As a Catholic myself this was my main interest as I knew the history already. It is a beautifully told story of a peasant boy's miserable life as he is lead through the ranks of this raggle-taggle army representing themselves and any other peasants wanting to join in. T...more
David Schaafsma
So this is the first of a two volume set about the Boxer Rebellion for children/tweens/YA, probably YA, by the Printz-award-winning author of American Born Chinese, which is now justly a staple in schools. He also did (is doing?) the Avatar: The Last Airbender series, so he's known for that, too, but this is his next Big Book, though it's also a two book deal, where you get to see the historical war through the eyes of a young boy, in Boxers, and a young girl, in Saints, two kids who see each ot...more
Read  Ribbet
Boxers is the other half of the dual volume graphic novel set Boxers and Saints which was a National Book Award nominee and received a lot of attention this year. It tells the story of the Boxer Rebellion at the turn of the 1900's in China. The bloody battles between indigenous Chinese and outsiders including missionaries are captured effectively in Yang's story of how one man accepts his role in being a leader in this turbulent time. His path crosses with the young woman feature in the center o...more
Abby Johnson
These books (BOXERS and its companion book SAINTS) are just amazing feats of literature. I can't imagine how much work and research went into creating these books, sharing a period of history that teens probably don't know much about. While I enjoyed BOXERS more, the more I think about it the more I feel that you really do need both books to get the complete story.

While resources for further research are included, my one complaint is that an author's note about the Boxer Rebellion would have ad...more
Jolien
I gave this 3 stars, which means that I liked it but didn't necessarily fall in love with it.
I'd never really read anything about the Boxer Rebellion before and to be honest, I didn't even know all that much about it either.

This graphic novel gave a really nice overview of the Boxer-side of the rebellion. The artwork was beautiful and the story itself was also enjoyable. I just didn't find it as engrossing as others. I will read the Saints-sequel to this, because then I will have seen the two s...more
Dru
Like all of Gene Luen Yang's stories there is an element of the supernatural, but it's up to the reader to decide how much is true. Boxers follows the story of Little Bao who eventually helps lead the Boxer Rebellion. Intersects with Saints often and it would be a shame if you read just one instead of both.
April
Gene Luen Yang is one of my favorite graphic novel writers and artists. I feel like his stories have deeper meaning and just really resonate with me, even if the symbolism maybe goes over my head. Recently, I read Saints and so, because I am a bit obsessive, I absolutely had to read Boxers because it is a companion to Saints. Also, the book is all about grassroots revolution and history and that kind of thing is really, very fascinating to me.
Read the rest of my review here
Jeanette Johnson
This graphic novel shows one side of the war between missionaries and believers of the ancient Chinese Gods.

China,1898. Bands of foreign missionaries and soldiers roam the countryside, bullying and robbing Chinese peasants.

Little Bo is a peasant in a small village where bullies have been recently been harassing the villagers.
Little Bao and his older brothers train in kung fu and swordplay in order to defend against them, and when Little Bao learns how to tap into the power of the Chinese gods,...more
Jen
I never thought I'd say this about a graphic novelist, but Gene Luen Yang will be on my must-read list from now on. A graphic novel about the Boxer Rebellion -- oh, my does it work well. The depth of emotion that is conveyed by the pictures is amazing, and the brief text says everything it needs to say and much more than it seems. I love the idea of showing opposing sides of a war with companion volumes, each focusing on an individual involved with the conflict. I haven't read Saints yet, but I...more
Matthew
This book blew my mind in ways I could never comprehend. Ever since I read American Born Chinese, I've been wanting to get a deeper understanding of Gene Luen Yang's work and the themes that he incorporates into his stories. I wish I had the companion book to read now because this book WAS SO GOOD!!

This story takes place in 1894-1900 in China. The westerners have arrive to mystical China and pretty much wants to govern the country and preach about Jesus. Then it shifts on a particular boy name B...more
Michael
Can I be honest with you? When I heard Gene Luen Yang describing his two-graphic novel story Boxers & Saints in conversation with Paul Pope at San Diego Comic Con 2013 I was apprehensive. I am not a scholar of history, I did not know what the Boxer Rebellion was, and I don't particularly like "historical fiction". But I added it to my list of graphic novels to read, and a year later I got around to reading it.

By page 8 I was hooked! This is solid gold.

Boxers is the first half Boxers & Sa...more
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Gene Yang began drawing comic books in the fifth grade. In 1997, he received the Xeric Grant, a prestigious comics industry grant, for Gordon Yamamoto and the King of the Geeks, his first comics work as an adult. He has since written and drawn a number of titles, including Duncan's Kingdom (with art by Derek Kirk Kim) and The Rosary Comic Book. American Born Chinese received National Book Award.

He...more
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