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His Footsteps, Through Darkness and Light

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  84 ratings  ·  26 reviews
I am not a fighter. I am a trapeze master.

An act of compassion puts a trapeze artist in India on a collision course with a terrifying supernatural power in His Footsteps, Through Darkness and Light: a Original from Dalit writer Mimi Mondal.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
ebook, 28 pages
Published January 23rd 2019 by Tor Books
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Average rating 3.46  · 
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Bumping from 2.5 to 3 stars on reread. It worked better for me the second time around. :) This story is free to read online at Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:

Binu is a master trapeze artist with the traveling Majestic Oriental Circus in India. He has the secret benefit of being the master of a jinni, Shehzad Marid, whose lamp has been entrusted to him. Binu is a benevolent master, perhaps partly because he’s also in love/lust with Shehzad. When the circus goes to the
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
Note to self #1: next time you want to read a story about a jinni/jinn/djinni/djinn/genie/whatever either, 1) Rererereread this piece of wondrousness (these are evils guys as opposed to total bores, ergo instantly very delicious) or 2) Watch a marathon of the best TV show that ever was and ever will be.

Yes, I have Impeccable TV Taste, too.

Note to self #2: these Tor shorts? They are obviously hazardous to your reading health. So if unless they're written by Brooke Bloody Shrimping Bolander, DO
Feb 07, 2019 rated it liked it
I love the groundwork Mimi Mondal lays for her story “His Footsteps, Through Darkness and Light”. Binu is a trapeze artist for the Majestic Oriental Circus in India, who also plays the character of Alladin for a real-life jinni’s illusion show. The jinni, Shehzad Marid, trusts only Binu with the care of his lamp. This makes Binu his de facto master, though Binu doesn’t see it that way. While performing at the wedding for the raja’s daughter in Thripuram, a devadasi (holy courtesan), convinces ...more
3.5 stars. Nice and refreshing setting, unique relationship among some of the MCs, though the saving-the-damsel-in-distress plot kind of took me away from enjoying it fully.

Speaking about setting, I am glad I was introduced to the concept of devadasis, which practice is apparently still rampant in India. Around 450,000 women are still imprisoned in its sex slavery scheme, which was shocking.

I agree with some reviewers that this feels like a first chapter of a much longer story. I'd like to
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is weirdly the lowest rated of the Tor’s short fiction newsletter but right now it is my favorite. It’s about a traveling circus in India who puts on the show Aladdin. Their secret is that they have a real jinni in their midst.

It’s inclusive, being an own voices narrative and the MC is bisexual. It’s a love story more than anything else and I thought it was really sort of romantic, but it is also about the nature of freedom.

I thought it was really well done and I’ll be looking for more
Feb 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-freebie
Meh. Interesting story, but not a lot of background info given. How did he get the lamp two years ago? Who had it before him? Not bad, but lacking in the info I wanted. 2.5 stars, rounded up for originality.
I enjoyed this short story - available free on Tor.Com HERE

There are a number of reviewers who didn't enjoy it - and complained about lack of resolution and the abrupt ending, and referencing the fact this could have been a first chapter rather than a standalone story. These are all valid, but such is the way with short stories.

I won't outline the plot - too much of the joy of a short story is seeing where it goes in such a short time, and if you want a plot outline there are plenty in other
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Jan 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-fiction
One of those stories that just doesn't capture my interest. It's perfectly ok, but not what I really enjoy. I do love to see more jinni and such in fantasy, and this has a very nice take on the human master / jinni slave relationship.
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-before-2020
My reading progression through this short story

Circus - nostalgia - Interesting start - tell me more about the lamp - *eyebrows raised* - don't just say Devadasis - explain what they are - oh good you did - getting so good -WHAT THE HELL - what was that absolutely incomplete story - I thought this was meant to be a short story instead it's like the first chapter of a book with so much promise

Rebecca Crunden
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
And then there was an arm around my waist, holding me upright again, there was a hand wiping dust, blood, and tears from my eyes. It was Shehzad Marid—ever loving, ever loyal, always on my side in my hour of need.

This was a really good short story about a trapeze master and his jinni.
Dawn C
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Utterly beautiful <3
'Enough time at the Majestic Oriental Circus opens the mind to all kinds of possibilities.' Interesting idea: a jinn in a lamp in love with its owner, but sidetracked by a subplot of letting a temple girl join the circus, with (predictably) unforeseen consequences.
Zoe's Human
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful take on the traditional djinn story, both beautiful and compassionate.
Alex Sarll
A circus troupe in India put on the story of Alladin (or maybe Alladdin, the spelling is inconsistent), with the audience little suspecting one of them is a real jinni. And then when they perform at the wedding of a raja’s daughter another trope includes on the troupe, because somebody wants to run away with the circus. Somebody it's morally imperative they accept, for all that you just know it's going to end badly. I feel like any story prodding at how freedom's just another word for nothing ...more
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read this short story because the Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club has a buddy read thread this month. I also had already purchased it. So this gave me a good excuse to read it. I love circus stories.

The India folklore aspect was stronger than the circus aspect, IMAO. That was also very interesting to me. I'm the sort of person who enjoys researching things that I didn't know about previously.

So I recommend this to people who are interested in India.
Prabhjot K
Mar 26, 2019 rated it liked it
His Footsteps, through Darkness and Light is about a circus group who perform at different towns a story about the famous Aladdin and his Jinni. It took me by surprise in the beginning as I really liked the world that it's set up in and the story progressed very well in my opinion but then it just stopped. I know it's a short story but I was at least expecting a bit more at the end of it as the end seemed incomplete and not in a good way.
This short story was full of some really good moments
Jun 22, 2019 rated it liked it
A long plodding buildup finally starts happening in the last few pages, before all at once it ends and the story's over. So, very heavy on description, and quite light on narrative development, and sounding quite trivial, a bit like an attempt to use Toni Morrison's style. From a writing blog I found:
Research and authenticity are all well and good, but beware of being too committed to your art. Your style should be both true to you and true to your time. If you try mimicking a distinctive writer
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
rep: mlm mc, indian setting
Feb 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Reads more like the teaser for a book than a complete short story. Great setting, but doesn't quite go beyond that.
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Not the ending I expected, but well thought out nonetheless!
Feb 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Would it be as interesting set in a different, more familiar culture? I think maybe not. But I do see the author's page that (implies) that it's #OwnVoices, so points for that.
Feb 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Enjoyable albeit slight story. I have not read a story by Mimi Mondal before but I am encouraged to read more.
Feb 07, 2019 rated it liked it
There is definitely more here that I want to see... darnit.
Aug 13, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a nice little pastiche, fantasy and queer and a nice little bit of fluff. It almost felt like the prologue to a longer book. Perhaps we will see more of these two in the future.
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
That ending broke me in a way I never saw coming. But I loved it.

You can read it online on
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