Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang | September 2013 | First Second (an imprint of Macmillan) | Boxed set $34.99
★ ★ ★ ★
I recommend that you Read Boxers and Saints together. Though the stories are fictional, and do include some fantasy elements, I still think I learned more about China during this time period than I ever did in history class at school -- probably because I kept feeling compelled to look things up as I read!
Despite the really difficult subject matter, I think the author did a great job of keeping the story perfectly "age appropriate" (that is, not for little kids but not at grad dissertation level either). The atrocities of war and what it can do to otherwise normal, relatable people -- particularly in a "civil" war -- are not glossed over, but are presented clearly in lovingly illustrated but unflinchingly realistic fashion (despite the bits of fantasy and the usual narrative license you get from historical fiction, I guess). Maybe I'm getting a little overenthusiastic with my adjectives, but I'm not sure how else to describe what I mean.
Definitely recommended for folks interested in war histories and/or the history of China, those who want to try graphic novels but who aren't tempted by the popular superhero stories, and readers who are willing to face the philosophical difficulties of human nature.
Yang, Gene Luen. Boxers. New York: First Second Books, 2013. Print.
Yang, Gene Luen. Saints. New York: First Second Books, 2013. Print.
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