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Saints (Boxers & Saints) Paperback – September 10, 2013

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Series: Boxers & Saints (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: First Second; First Edition edition (September 10, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596436891
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596436893
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #268,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In American Born Chinese (2006), Yang spoke to the culture clash of Chinese American teen life. In Saints—the concluding volume in a two-book set beginning with Boxers (2013)—about the Boxer Rebellion at the end of the nineteenth century in China, he looses twin voices in harmony and dissonance from opposite sides of the bloody conflict. Saints follows Four-Girl, an outcast in her own family, who embraces the Christian faith spreading through her country and places herself in the dangerous path of the Boxers. Between the two books, Yang ties tangled knots of empathy where the heroes of one become the monsters of the other. Four-Girl and her foil in Boxers, Little Bao, are drawn by the same fundamental impulses—for community, family, faith, tradition, purpose—and their stories reflect the inner torture that comes when those things are threatened. Yang is in superb form here, arranging numerous touch points of ideological complexity and deeply plumbing his characters’ points of view. And in an homage to the driving power of stories themselves, Four-Girl is captivated by a vision sprung from lore: a young Frenchwoman clad in golden armor, Joan of Arc. Much blood is spilled as Four-Girl marches toward her grim fate, which is even more unsettling given that Yang hasn’t fundamentally altered his squeaky clean, cartoonishly approachable visual style. A poignant, powerhouse work of historical fiction from one of our finest graphic storytellers. Grades 7-11. --Ian Chipman

More About the Author

Gene Luen Yang began making comic books in the fifth grade. He has since written and drawn a number of titles. His 2006 book American Born Chinese was the first graphic novel to be nominated for a National Book Award and the first to win the American Library Association's Michael L. Printz Award. It also won an Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album - New. His 2013 two-volume graphic novel Boxers & Saints was nominated for both the National Book Award and the LA Times Book Award. Gene currently writes the graphic novel continuation of the popular Nickelodeon cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender. The Shadow Hero, his recent comic book series with Sonny Liew, revives the Green Turtle, an obscure 1940s character who is arguably the first Asian American superhero. The Shadow Hero is now available as individual digital issues via Amazon Kindle. The print trade paperback collection will be released on July 15, 2014.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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The books challenged both my intellect and my spirituality.
Rafa K
The story and characters are complex and can lead to good discussions about each character's motivations.
A customer
This made them feel more real, but also made them very frustrating.
S. Mercier

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A customer on September 28, 2013
Format: Paperback
I read this with my 12 year old son and we both enjoyed it. After we finished this graphic novel we were interested to learn more about this time period in Chinese history. There's a documentary called "In Search of History: the Boxer Rebellion" on YouTube that is well done (but I suggest reading the novel first, then reading up on the history if you're not already familiar with it). In my opinion, the novel is good for co-reading with older kids. Four girl is beautifully brought to life. The story and characters are complex and can lead to good discussions about each character's motivations. Just like real life, nobody in the novel is all good or all bad.

There is one one obscenity in the dialogue (wh**e), and violence throughout. There are funny parts and sad parts. Four girl is mistreated by her family and the story contains some really tragic events. Would not be a good choice for kids who are sensitive.

We will be definitely getting all of Yang's graphic novels, including Boxers.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Christina (A Reader of Fictions) TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 10, 2013
Format: Paperback
Saints is a companion graphic novel to Boxers, which takes on the opposite perspective: that of a secondary devil. This terminology may not be familiar to you, so allow me to explain. A secondary devil is a Chinese person who has converted to Christianity, thus aligning themselves with the foreign devils. Saints covers the same time period, but has only one moment with the same scene happening, though it does offer further insight into the events of Boxers just the same. Though they're companions, I do think reading them in this order does work slightly better.

In Boxers & Saints, what Yang really digs into are people's motivations. How does an unassuming Chinese boy grow up to kill his countrymen as a Boxer? Why would a young girl convert to Christianity, rather than sticking to the gods of her country? Yang doesn't set out to teach the reader exactly what happened; there aren't any specific dates or anything like that. Instead, he shows the feelings and the ways of thinking that led to the bloody battles and the hatred. Boxers & Saints are nuanced, subtle and thought-provoking.

The main character of Saints made a brief appearance in Boxers, as the girl young Little Bao wanted to marry when he grew up because her face resembled an opera mask. Four-girl, so called because she was the fourth child to the family and believed to be a devil and to represent death, has no true name and is not beloved of her family. She tries to get them to accept her, but all they see is how she falls short. As a child might, she begins to act out for attention, by making a devil face. Her mother, sick of the comments from others about Four-girl's devil face, takes her to a Doctor, who happens to be a Christian, and he convinces her to stop with the devil face.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nicola Manning-Mansfield on November 23, 2013
Format: Paperback
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. Being Catholic myself, I expected just a wee bit more from this book than it delivered however I came away from it quite satisfied. Boxers and Saints are stand alone books that can be read separately but the books need to be read together to experience the true impact of the novels, especially this one. I would recommend reading Boxers first, then Saints. I can see some people saying to read them the other way around because some things happen in Saints that are explained in Boxers but by reading Boxers first, one is hit with emotional revelations from that story as told in Saints. I didn't quite take to the use of St. Joan, hence my 4 star rating, as it felt clear to me Vibiana is not have visions of her, and I can't find any historical references of anyone having had visions of her; while if one knows the history, the Boxers actually believed they had magical powers from the gods and the Empress was led to believe so before she would agree to support them. Christ came across as a true vision to Vibiana, though. CRYPTIC SPOILER ALERT. It is extremely poignant that one person gives their life for their religion while giving the gift of life to another through that same belief.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Mercier on March 27, 2014
Format: Paperback
After reading "Boxers", my expectations for "Saints" were pretty much set. I expected a fairly strong main character, underdeveloped secondary characters, and a fantastic justification for the Christian missionary side of the Boxer rebellion. Unfortunately, this is not what I got.

The main character of "Saints", Four-Girl, is rather easy to dislike. She is not really a very good person for most of the book, and her dedication to her faith is more out of self-imposed necessity instead of belief. Unlike in "Boxers", "Saints" gives us a few additional characters which are also rather well developed. Several members of Four-Girl's family, as well as Mr. and Mrs. Won are rather well fleshed out as a supporting cast. I really enjoyed the fact that none of the people in "Saints" are all bad or all good, they seem to live in that grey area in between. This made them feel more real, but also made them very frustrating.

Unlike in "Boxers", "Saints" lets the whole justification for the Christian missionary side of the rebellion fall to the wayside in a very loose explanation. In "Boxers", the plight of the Chinese peasants is rather well argued. They are being attacked and pillaged by government-sponsored foreigners, so they take matters into their own hands. In "Saints", you would think we would get some insight. I expected to see the overwhelming faith these missionaries have in their God and why they want to share that love with the world. At the very least I would expect to see some of the foreign government officials justifying why they are essentially bullying China from a tactical perspective. Unfortunately, we are given a very brief, underwhelming explanation of only one missionary's experience.
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