Review of Boxers & Saints

boxers Review of Boxers & Saints star2 Review of Boxers & Saints Boxers & Saints
Boxers
by Gene Luen Yang; illus. by the author; color by Lark Pien
Middle School, High School     First Second/Roaring Brook     328 pp.
10/13     978-1-59643-359-5     $18.99

Saints
by Gene Luen Yang; illus. by the author; color by Lark Pien
Middle School, High School     First Second/Roaring Brook     172 pp.
10/13     978-1-59643-689-3     $15.99
Boxed set 978-1-59643-924-5     $34.99

Yansaints Review of Boxers & Saintsg’s latest graphic novels are a “diptych” of books set during China’s Boxer Rebellion of the early twentieth century. Boxers follows Little Bao, a village boy with an affinity for opera; Saints centers on Four-Girl, an unloved and unwanted child who perfects a revolting “devil-face” expression. They meet fleetingly as children, foreshadowing their respective roles in the conflict to come. Little Bao, with the help of an eccentric kung fu master, learns to harness the power of ancient gods, forming the Society of the Righteous and Harmonious Fist in an attempt to rid China of the “foreign devils” who spread Christianity across the country. Four-Girl sits squarely on the other side of the rebellion. After repeat visits from Joan of Arc in mystic visions, Four-Girl comes to the conclusion that she, too, is destined to become a maiden warrior. She converts to Christianity, takes the name Vibiana, and strives to protect China against the Little Bao–led uprising. The inevitable showdown between the two characters leads to a surprising and bleak conclusion. While neither volume truly stands alone (making for a significant price tag for the whole story), Yang’s characteristic infusions of magical realism, bursts of humor, and distinctively drawn characters are present in both books, which together make for a compelling read.

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