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Saints (Boxers & Saints Graphic Novel Book 2) by [Gene Luen Yang]

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Saints (Boxers & Saints Graphic Novel Book 2) Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 70 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-Acclaimed graphic novelist Yang brings his talents to historical fiction in these paired novels set during China's Boxer Rebellion (1899-1900). In Boxers, life in Little Bao's peaceful rural village is disrupted when "foreign devils"-a priest and his phalanx of soldiers-arrive. The foreigners behave with astonishing arrogance, smashing the village god, appropriating property, and administering vicious beatings for no reason. Little Bao and his older brothers train in kung fu and swordplay in order to defend against them, and when Little Bao learns how to tap into the power of the Chinese gods, he becomes the leader of a peasant army, eventually marching to Beijing. Saints follows a lonely girl from a neighboring village. Unwanted by her family, Four-Girl isn't even given a proper name until she converts to Catholicism and is baptized-by the very same priest who bullies Little Bao's village. Four-Girl, now known as Vibiana, leaves home and finds fulfillment in service to the Church, while Little Bao roams the countryside committing acts of increasing violence as his army grows. Mysticism plays a part in both stories, and Yang's spare, clean drawing style makes it clear that Vibiana's visits from Joan of Arc and Bao's invocation of the powerful Chinese gods are very real to these characters. The juxtaposition of these opposing points of view, both of them sympathetic, makes for powerful, thought-provoking storytelling about a historical period that is not well known in the West.-Paula Willey, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, MDα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the paperback edition.


“A masterful work of historical fiction that happens to be in the form of a graphic novel, and a very accessible view into a complicated moment in Chinese history.” ―Dave Eggers

“In Boxers and Saints, Gene Luen Yang once again masterfully draws us into the most difficult issues of self-identity and communal understanding, with characters who struggle to act out of their deepest cultural and spiritual selves.  But when they find that their commitments lead them in terrible, frightening directions--one toward massacres, another toward martyrdom--they must ask questions for which there are no easy answers.  The brilliance of this novel--and I mean, aside from the brilliance in the telling of a major historical episode about which most North Americans know very little and which provides some critical lessons in political relationships--the brilliance lies in the merger of fast action and humor and very real characters and startling graphics with a shattering sense of the brokenness of the world and our terrible need for compassion.  Read this, and come away shaking.” ―National Book Award Finalist and Newbery Honor winner Gary Schmidt, author of Okay for Now and The Wednesday Wars

--This text refers to the paperback edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B00ERUY4GA
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ First Second (September 10, 2013)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ September 10, 2013
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 180438 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Not enabled
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 176 pages
  • Lending ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 70 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
70 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on August 17, 2020
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not appropriate for a Jewish family
By Leib Gershon Mitchell on August 17, 2020
Ironically, this book was recommended to me by a person from my Orthodox synagogue--and then I had to go through the book and block out every single word that cannot be visualized in a Jewish Home.

I'm just not sure what lessons I want my kids to draw from this, if any.

*Christianity is becoming very popular today in China, but those people that this author portrays (both Chinese and Christian) -- likely somewhat tendentiously -- are not the same thing as the ones from a century ago. Nor is the mechanism of Chinese conversions the same then as now. (At the time of the events in this book, they really were linked with occupying sovereigns. But, these days converts are trying to fill a spiritual vacuum left by the collapse of Communism and Chinese people's 2200-year-late realization that there are other countries in the world they may have learned a thing or two.)

*The reason for the colonization and subjugation of the Celestial Kingdom had its origins at least a hundred years before the Boxer Rebellion. (That would be Lord McCartney's 1793 visit to the Qing emperor, after which he was told that his wares were "toys for children." Also, the emperor Qianlong asserted that McCartney was a subject of his, because he was the sovereign of all under heaven.)

If you didn't know that going into this book, you would not find it out.

The Christians may have been along for the ride with many other sovereign powers that were attacking a weak / corrupt/ besieged Dynasty. But, they were certainly not the causative factor--any more than one single snowflake is the cause of an avalanche.

And they may not even have been an impelling factor.

*The Qing dynasty was set up by Manchurians. And in that way, the interaction of the foreign powers was with them, and not with the majority Han Chinese.

It seems that the Han were props in somebody else's game during this period in history.

This author is a Chinese man from Taiwan, and he has the same resonances to all other diaspora Chinese communities in that their perception of China is a snapshot of what it was at the time that their ancestors lived there. (For example, the book is Romanized in that oh-so-obscure Wade Giles code.) And time is about people living out the conflicts of dead men.

And in predictable fashion, he sets right about the business of taking up a conflict between men that have been dead long before he was born.

*Yes, there are two sides to every story. But we didn't need to wade through two books just to figure that out.

Verdict: Not recommended.

1. Yang has written other books, and his illustrative style is what the kids seem to like. Content be damned.

2. I'm trying to not have my sons turn themselves into/ be turned into Professional Victims, and I have my work cut out for me given that they are only half Chinese. (The other half is black.)

3. The time of history that was covered here is something that is way too complex for a comic book to even attempt to take on.

4. If there was a message that there are two sides to every story, then there are probably better books on that then this one.

5. I have no earthly idea of the reason for Joan of Arc's insertion into this plot- and if that is so, then what is a child who is 9 or 10 years old going to get from it?

And so, I will focus on purchasing some of his other books for them to read because they should not have as much uncomfortable baggage as this one does.
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Reviewed in the United States on April 23, 2021
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5.0 out of 5 stars Must read Boxers (vol. 1) to enjoy this book
By Douglas Heinl on April 23, 2021
I came across the 1st vol., Boxers, and loved it, could NOT put it down! This one though, Saints, I only enjoyed because it tied into the 1st one so we'll. That said, I would recommend this ONLY if you've read Boxers as this book is not worth the read by itself.
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Reviewed in the United States on December 25, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on October 9, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on November 22, 2013
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Reviewed in the United States on November 7, 2013
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Reviewed in the United States on December 18, 2016
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Reviewed in the United States on October 20, 2013
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Top reviews from other countries

Jos� Pedro Garcia de Castello Branco
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best comics I've ever read.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 13, 2013
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