Boxers by Gene Luen Yang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I picked up both Boxers and Saints at the same time, and I couldn't tell which came first, so I guess I read them in the wrong order. But, they are each stand-alone books, and I don't think one necessarily needs to be read first. However, this book did clarify a lot that I didn't know in the second, so I would try to read this one first. While reading Saints, I didn't know exactly who The Righteous and Harmonious Fist was, etc (my knowledge of Chinese history being pretty much nonexistent).
I really enjoyed learning about the Boxers rebellion, although the book was more fantasy than history. I found myself wondering if people had given accounts of the fighters turning into gods, or where the idea came from. However, the graphics in this one were more enjoyable for me. I've read 3 of Yang's books now, and although they have good stories, I feel that a graphic novel should be equally strong in both story and graphics, or else why not just write a novel? I guess I feel that if a writer uses this format, the illustrations should add to the story, and in the case of this author, this is the first book I thought his story lent itself well to the format.
I enjoyed this book more than the other 2 I've read by this author, and I think the reason is the illustrations. The gods were all vivid and colorful, and those places in particular were enhanced by the artwork (if you told me 'then he turned into a god' I would not have imagined the colorful, striking images of their gods but a more austere, western version of god).
Overall, this was a very good graphic novel and an excellent story.
Content: lots of war violence.
Recommended for: Age 10+ for violent scenes.
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