17210470Boxers by Gene Luen Yang
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: First Second
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

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 – Goodreads

Review:

I am not big in the graphic novel world, for various reasons, mostly because I get very overwhelmed with what young adult novels are out there that I haven’t read, do I want to add more to that? Well, I guess I do! I have now started the graphic novel bandwagon and I love and adore them.

Set during the late 1800s, Boxers is the story of the Boxer Rebellion,  it is the story of Little Bao and how he wants to protect his family and his country. Through use of history and excellent detail, Yang shows how Little Bao forms an army of what become the Boxers and how they will save the country. They have always been fine with how things are. They never needed or requested missionaries and soldiers come in to “save them.” All Little Bao and his group know is that things are changing and they do not seem to be changing for the better.

Finally one day the Boxers have had enough and they rise up. They say “no” and they stand their ground. This book does not have a happy ending, which suits the story and the time period. The real Boxer Rebellion did not end happily. And, although I have a history background, no background is needed to read these books. They consistently stand by themselves with no knowledge. If anything they are an amazing refresher. I also give a great hand clap to Yang because the drawings and the story had me intrigued throughout Boxers.

 

17210471Saints by Gene Luen Yang
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: First Second
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

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 willin
g to die for her faith – Goodreads

In the companion novel to BoxersSaints tells the story of the other side, the side of the Christians. What I found most interesting about Saints is how Yang made the two intertwine. Yes, obviously the two are telling the same story, just from opossing sides, Saints is not just a retelling, it is something more. It’s the story of Four-Girl and how her life path actually crossed with Little Bao in Boxers we the reader, just weren’t aware of it at the time.

Four-Girl never really belonged in her family. She never really belonged until one day, she found Christianity. Her whole life was changed in that moment and she made her family with missionaries who came to China. She felt comforted and at home with missionaries. Four-Girl believed if only everyone would welcome Christianity into their lives things would be okay. Better even.

Although a shorter work, Saints still packs a punch to the story just like Boxer did and it reiterates the point that there are always two sides to every story even if its a side that you don’t necessarily agree with or even ever think about.