Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Boxers (Boxers & Saints, #1)” as Want to Read:
Boxers (Boxers & Saints, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Boxers (Boxers & Saints #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  11,837 Ratings  ·  1,383 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
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 10th 2013 by First Second
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Boxers, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Ian Young You should try to read them in order. Saints would be perfectly comprehensible if read first, but there's some beautiful interplay between the two,…moreYou should try to read them in order. Saints would be perfectly comprehensible if read first, but there's some beautiful interplay between the two, and the meta-narrative definitely flows best if they are read in order.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jan 01, 2017 rated it liked it
After having read and loved beyond words Gene Luen Yang's American Born Chinese, I was more than excited about picking up his other works. But upon sitting down to write this review, I found that I hadn't that many positive things to discuss like I did with the author's previous work.

Set in China, 1898, Boxers follows bands of foreign missionaries and soldiers as they roam the countryside, bullying and robbing Chinese peasants.

Little Bao has had enough. Harnessing the powers of ancient Chinese
Raeleen Lemay
Jun 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphicomanga
this was a very very interesting read
Jan Philipzig
Centered around the experiences of a Chinese peasant boy whose village has been plundered and abused by Westerners, Boxers combines historical fiction with magical realism to tell the violent story of China's struggle against colonialism around the year 1900. It is Gene Luen Yang's first graphic novel to be set in China, though it deals with themes that have always dominated Yang's writing: the relationship between Chinese and Western culture, religion, the supernatural, youth, identity formatio ...more
Liz Janet
Oct 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourites
Historical-fiction and comics? Sing me the hell up! Myth and legend alongside Christian and polytheistic religion? Sign me the hell hell up! Well, I was signed up, and ended up with tears down my face and a closed fist hitting my pillow out of anger.

Boxers and Saints are two volumes based at the time of the Boxer Rebellion, an anti-imperialistic uprising from 1899 and lasting until 1901. It is told through the eyes of Little Bao, a teen with a desire for a free China from the imperialistic main
First Second Books
Sep 24, 2013 marked it as first-second-publications
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.
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fantastic, important, and absolutely tragic. I'm such a huge fan of Gene Luen Yang and this was simply wonderful.
Wyatt Packard
Feb 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-fiction, graphics
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
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
Dec 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2013
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
Bryan Alexander
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this because my daughter recommended it. She's a lifelong comics fanatic, and a fine creator to boot. I always trust her taste.

Boxers is a graphic novel in that rare but important and burgeoning subgenre, the historical graphic novel. Its topic is the 1900 Chinese uprising against European and American colonialism, known in the west as the Boxer Rebellion. The narrative focuses on a young peasant man as he grows up in a village, gets radicalized, discovers local militias and secret societ
Oct 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
At times funny, at other times heart-breaking, but always wonderful. I had never even heard of the Boxer Rebellion until it came up in a Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode when I was in my 20's. It's a part of history that we just don't talk about in America (I guess because it was a war we didn't fight), and don't know much about. This is an interesting look at one side of it, and there's a companion book, SAINTS, that covers the other side of this conflict between the newly baptized Christians a ...more
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Jen (Book Syrup)
Nov 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5/5 stars
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
I loved this graphic novel! It has taught me so much about the Boxer Uprising and the Chinese culture of which I, unfortunately, don't know much about. I'm definitely going to do some more reading on these topics and that all thanks to this beautiful, beautiful book. I love these kinds of books which make me feel like I have gained something by reading them.
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was definitely a very moving and interesting portrayal of war, especially for someone like me who knew little to nothing about the Boxers Rebellion before. I plan on reading "Saints" as soon as I can to see the other perspective. 5 of 5 stars.
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
Boxers is the first of a 2-part graphic personal history of China's Boxer Rebellion. This story centers on Little Bao, the youngest brother who rises up to become the leader of a rebel group trying to take back China from "foreign devils" (Europeans and Christian missionaries). Little Bao loves opera and mythology, and also secretly begins learning kung fu with a special teacher/mentor. Bao is a natural leader, and after a series of experiences, he finds his place as leader of the homegrown mili ...more
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Gene Yang does an amazing job putting faces and heart-wrenching stories behind the people who led and fought on the Boxer side of the Boxer Rebellion in China. Even though this is a comic book, I had to put it down a couple of times to take a bit of a breather because the depth and intensity overwhelmed me and I couldn't even imagine how my ancestors' ancestors lived through the war and tension. I can't help but wonder if what happened in history affects the "keep the peace" disposition many ove ...more
Macarena Yannelli
Actualización por re lectura Agosto 2015: de nuevo, increíble.

Reseña Agosto 2014: Es una de las primeras novelas gráficas "extensas" que leo y la ame.
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
I liked this better than American Born Chinese. This was more historical fiction and more serious. It still has a cartoony style that I still think fits Yang's writing. There are more reference to Chinese mythology in this and even some Three Kingdom reference too. Kind of makes me wish Yang or someone else would write a comic book based on the Three Kingdom saga. I also learned some stuff about the Boxer Rebellion in this other than I just knew what it was about.
Get X Serious
Aug 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Don't let the illustrations fool you, these books aren't for children. There's no gratuitous violence or foul language, but the concepts are adult all the way through. Cultures clash within and without the characters and because of such, they are fraught with moral ambiguity.

In Boxers, our central character and his allies, using an ancient kung fu technique, are able to summon forth and assume the form of Chinese deities and legends. In his case, he becomes Ch'in Shi-huang, the first emperor of
Aurora Dimitre
This book was such a weird reading experience.

It started slow for me. That's the reason for the four star rating, is that I had to knock off a star because for about a hundred pages, I didn't care all that much. But once I did care, I did care. I got so invested in the story, in how everything was going, that there was a surprise tearing up near the end of the book. It was weird.

I do own the companion novel, but I'm not reading it just yet - though it will be interesting to see the other s
May 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Maybe I'm misinterpreting the intent of this book. Considering how much attention and promotion it's received (much of which I've read), that seems odd. I've read most (maybe all) of Yang's published work, and seen him speak. I dig him, as a creator of stories.
But I get the impression that a duo-work like this (and Saints) was created to portray both sides of the story. The story of the Boxer rebellion. And it kinda does.
But why does Boxers get to be almost double the length of Saints?
I left the
Nusrat Mahmood
Nov 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: most-favorite, 2015
this is awesome. like AWESOME- AWESOME! one of the best graphic novels i've ever read. why? because the art is fantastic, because the story line is fantastic and yes, I am a fan of historical fiction and recently I've read about boxer war in china. well, well, you'll ask so many questions and can't actually deny the brutal act of both parties involved in the war but you can't even hate this book. It's a stress relief to a history lover like me.
Jun 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
interesting read... very interesting.
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Joint review of both this and the companion volume, Saints. Boxers and Saints are both set in China during the Boxer Rebellion. Boxers is, naturally, from the perspective of one of the Boxers, while Saints is from the perspective of a Chinese girl newly converted to Christianity. I can't speak to the historical accuracy, or lack thereof, of either book, so I won't even try. I was surprised that Yang didn't include any historical context in either book, just a list of sources.

Both books include
Kailey (BooksforMKs)
I was enthralled by this graphic novel! It's incredible how, despite the violent and serious nature of the story, there is still humor and friendship and family. All the good things of life are entwined with the horrifying circumstances of the Boxer Rebellion.

Little Bao is an ordinary youngest son being picked on by his older brothers, but when his father is beaten by "foreign devils" and his village is cheated by the Christian Chinese, little Bao learns to fight and begins a journey seeking for
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Boxers and Saints 1 13 Mar 06, 2015 06:29PM  
Wild Things: YA G...: Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang 2 15 Jan 29, 2014 07:30PM  
  • March: Book One (March, #1)
  • War Brothers: The Graphic Novel
  • The Adventures of Superhero Girl
  • Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans
  • Dogs of War
  • A Game for Swallows: To Die, to Leave, to Return
  • Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant (Delilah Dirk, #1)
  • Will & Whit
  • Little White Duck : A Childhood in China
  • Gaijin: American Prisoner of War
  • Bluffton: My Summers with Buster Keaton
  • The Underground Abductor (An Abolitionist Tale about Harriet Tubman) (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales, #5)
  • Hidden: A Child's Story of the Holocaust
  • Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong
  • The Silence of Our Friends
  • Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas
  • Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller
  • The Undertaking of Lily Chen
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.

More about Gene Luen Yang...

Other Books in the Series

Boxers & Saints (2 books)
  • Saints (Boxers & Saints, #2)
“What is China but a people and their stories?” 11 likes
More quotes…