Boxers

Boxers

Book - 2013
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In 1898 China, Little Bao has had enough of foreign missionaries and soldiers robbing peasants, and he recruits an army of Boxers to fight to free China from its oppressors.
Publisher: New York : First Second, ©2013.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781596433595
1596433590
Characteristics: 328 pages :,chiefly color illustrations ;,22 cm
Additional Contributors: Pien, Lark - Colorist

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susanchyn
Aug 19, 2019

I read Saints first and Boxers second, but I think either sequence would work since the two volumes are so perfectly dovetailed, both thematically and in storyline.

Of the two, Boxers is longer, meatier, better developed and more cerebral. Unlike his brothers, Bao has a special affinity with the gods and demi-gods he has met while watching traditional operas: He talks with the Monkey King, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei—all heroes to emulate. But then foreigners come to his village and crops fail. Bao is pulled into the organization that would become Yihequan, the Righteous and Harmonious Fists.” Yet he sees inequity and injustice wherever he turns.

Bao does not know the best way to lead. Author Yang shows how his thoughts are torn by juxtaposing Qin Shihuang, China’s repressive but effective first emperor who urges violence with the Goddess of Compassion, Mercy and Kindness, Guan Yin, who presses for peaceful solutions. Qin Shihuang, who looks very scary and is dressed in black, is adamant that Bao show no mercy in the efforts to keep China united.

As in Saints, there is mysticism and magical realism in Boxers. Spirits fly and the dead are revived. Yet even with support from a pantheon of Chinese gods and demi-gods, Bao proves powerless to alter the tide of history.

IndyPL_CarrieS Jun 19, 2019

Boxers, and its companion volume Saints, do an excellent job of showing two sides of the same conflict. I don't know much about Chinese history, but I had heard of the Boxer Rebellion and a graphic novel seemed like an entertaining way to learn more about it. It is a strange and dark era of history. A delusional leader, convinces his followers that bullets will not be able to harm them if they believe in him. He then leads them on an attack of foreigners who he believes are holding too much power in their country. Be sure to read Saints to complete the story.

SCL_Justin Aug 05, 2017

Gene Luen Yang’s Boxers & Saints is a pair of volumes about rebellion in 19th century China. In Boxers, we follow a young man whose father is humiliated at the hands of the foreign devils and the people who’ve gravitated to their power so he turns to mystical powers to try to rid China of their influence.

The stories are good, but somewhat slight. I don’t know. I liked the representation of the Brotherhood of the Righteous Fist becoming gods in their fights. Whenever I read histories of the Boxer Rebellion it seems stupid that so many people would believe a little ritual would protect them from bullets. This represented things in a way much easier to empathize with.

Really though, these books are a decent enough fictionalization of history, but it felt like the characters were there as a means of showing us history rather than having real depth of their own. Which is disappointing, because Yang’s made me care about characters and their individual struggles before.

d
donutwombat
Aug 02, 2017

A touching, intriguing graphic novel, a companion to Saints. About a boy in rural China who leads the rebellion against the Christians. Truthful, interesting, a wonderful plot, history intertwined with fiction. Highly recommended!

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black_cat_9072
Oct 29, 2016

The Boxers and Saints books were recommended to me by a friend of mine who is really into history and graphic novels.

This book shows the horrors and truths of war and invasions without being biased for one side, which I loved.

The companion book, Saints, tells nearly the same story, but from the perspective of the opposite side.

So seldom have I seen a book about the Boxer Rebellion that paints the Boxers as human beings who were simply fighting for what they believed was right.

Nothing is white-washed, the characters are very lively and the setting is (so far as I can tell) extremely accurate and well-researched.

This book offers no Pollyanna ending, although to figure out what truly happened and answer some of the questions that may have been haunting you, you should read 'Saints' as well.

Instead, Boxers shows that we seldom get our perfect, fairytale endings and we seldom stay pure in our motives and virtues, but occasionally, we make it through. We survive, against the odds. It's beautiful.

I'd recommend reading this for a fresh perspective on the standard historical fiction work.

s
skyekilaen
May 11, 2016

(Reviewed as part of Boxers and Saints, they're companion novels.)

The Boxer Rebellion in China between 1899 and 1901, through the eyes of two Chinese teenagers: a young man in the forefront of the anti-foreign, anti-Christian movement, and a young woman who converted to Christianity and whose home comes under attack.

Yang does an amazing job humanizing the real people caught up in the conflict, and showing how tragic the whole conflict was for everyone no matter what “side” they were on. This book is a meticulously researched masterwork.

WCLSDemingLibrary Dec 02, 2015

A compelling read. Like many conflicts, neither side is blameless and you have to read it's companion title "Saints" for the full picture and the end of Little Bao's story.
~Alexa

s
shayshortt
Nov 10, 2015

This intriguing time period (1894-1900) provides ample scope for the story, and it is mythology and the costuming of Chinese opera that give Yang room for artistic flair rather than pure visual realism.

Read my full review: http://shayshortt.com/2015/11/10/boxers-saints/

CRRL_CraigG Jun 26, 2015

Boxers & Saints are a masterful pair of graphic novels that offer perspective on both sides of China's Boxer Rebellion. The struggle hinged upon the arrival of Europeans who brought Christianity to the Chinese along with an unfortunate dose of subjugation.

Read more at: http://www.librarypoint.org/boxers_saints_yang

LibraryK8 Jun 24, 2014

Longer than Saints, this book feels fuller and richer than it's companion novel. Bao's character is well rounded, as we watch him grow from a helpless boy into a man teetering on the edge of self-doubt. The drawing style is simple and compelling, with a careful use of color (especially for the Chinese gods) to draw the reader's eye. An interesting look at a conflict often overlooked by American schools.

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donutwombat
Aug 02, 2017

donutwombat thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

j
JihadiConservative
Oct 11, 2013

JihadiConservative thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Summary

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e
E_L_I_J_A_H
Jun 19, 2016

Talks about a child growing through war and him fighting for his country

LibraryK8 Jun 24, 2014

The companion novel to Saints, this book looks at the same situation from a different angle. Little Bao has grown up reenacting his favorite Chinese operas and looking up to his father. When his father is hobbled by European colonists, Bao's older brothers take over the family, relegating Bao to the role of little brother. In secret he trains with a martial arts master, and quickly out paces his brothers. When colonists threaten his small village, Bao harnesses the power of an ancient Chinese emperor to fight against them.

Sharing the secret of his martial arts training, Bao gathers and army of Boxers (including his brothers) to use the power of the Chinese gods to drive the colonists and "foreign devils" from China. As the Boxers travel to the capitol city to convince the Empress to free their country, they meet several challenges along the way testing their faith and fortitude. By the end of the book, Bao and Vibianain's stories cross paths to end in tragedy.

Notices

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JihadiConservative
Nov 07, 2013

Violence: slashing cutting and a lot of blood

j
JihadiConservative
Nov 07, 2013

Sexual Content: referring to drinking mentstrual blood

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E_L_I_J_A_H
Jun 19, 2016

"Its time for you to die"

s
shayshortt
Nov 10, 2015

“What is China but a people and their stories?”

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