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Boxers by Gene Luen Yang
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It took me until the very end of this comic to understand the title. It took my husband two seconds. World history was never my strong suit. In fact, I really dislike history and historical fiction. Congratulations Gene Yang!! You have educated me about the Boxer rebellion in a wonderfully told graphic novel! ( )
  WickedWoWestwood | Feb 15, 2014 |
Boxers is a graphic novel about Little Bao, a young man on the Boxer side of the Boxer Rebellion in China (1899-1900). He finds a way to harness the power of the ancient Chinese gods and leads an army of Boxers to fight all "foreign devils" in China.

As with the companion book, Saints, the art is simple but expressive. The fantastic color and animated looks of the Chinese gods contrasts well with Bao's otherwise drab life as a commoner. ( )
  DeweyEver | Feb 11, 2014 |
Boxers follows young Bao as he fights first for his village then for his country in the Boxer rebellion in the late 1800s. He learns magic and kung fu and leads his army to battle the "foreign devils" and missionaries. The group is able to use a ritual to transform into old gods that Bao admired from historic operas.

Bao makes many tough decisions when leading the group, and as with any battle, many lives are lost on both sides. At times I understood his decisions and others I felt he was being cruel - but that's the point in a situation like this and he felt very human. I will say I have no foreknowledge of the Boxer rebellion, so I took everything at face value and just enjoyed the heartbreaking story of a boy going off to war for his country.

I love the artwork as well. There is really no shading, but the detail and colors of the opera gods' clothing is wonderful to look at - especially against the muted tones of the landscape and villagers clothing. The paper is nice and thick too, very smooth and gives the book some weight.

Obviously with a graphic novel there's more seeing than reading, but I still felt that I was experiencing a full story. I flew through this and can't wait to read it's counterpart -Saints. I'm not quite sure how old Bao is but I'd probably recommend this book for anyone 12+ depending on their maturity level, as it does contain violence and death. ( )
  MillieHennessy | Dec 5, 2013 |
Yang weaves history and mythology together to share the story of how the people of China rose up against Western Imperialists in the late 19th century. ( )
  kivarson | Dec 3, 2013 |
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. They believe their gods have magic and that the magic is transformed through them as they fight making them unbeatable. Truth, inevitably brings them down. However, there were people on both sides who were cruel and there is no "good side" to cheer for. Yang makes sure we understand that the Boxers wanted the slaughter of all foreign devils and secondary devils (this means white men and Christian converted Chinese). No one was safe, boy, woman, or child. Bao is a character we can sympathize with right away when we see events only from his perspective, not seeing through language and custom differences nor already established prejudices on both sides. The book is big but reads very fast as there are many wordless action scenes and text does become sparse through many other scenes. The words and the pictures together tell this raw, heartbreaking tale of needless death at a time when China's government was very weak and flip-flopping to side with whomever seemed the safest bet at any appropriate time. You will care for these characters, though you may not care for what they ultimately choose to do. ( )
  ElizaJane | Nov 23, 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.

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