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His Footsteps, Through Darkness and Light

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  166 ratings  ·  54 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 3.54  · 
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 ·  166 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
I had really big hopes for this Nebula-nominated novelette, but sadly they fizzled out.

A young circus trapeze master Binu also happens to be a master (and lover) of a jinni Shehzad, although he considers the jinni to be free. Jinni, having lived centuries beholden to those who have owned his lamp, knows that his life is a succession of kind and less kind masters. And then one day Binu is talked into helping a young devadasi girl escape her involuntary servitude to a goddess because her plight br
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
Elle (ellexamines)
Jul 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
OH. You can read this incredible short story for free here.

I finished this feeling... overwhelmed. It is the story of a circus, and an Alladin performer, and a Jinni, and the dynamics of freedom. It is the imagination and love behind the piece that ties it together: the love story, simple and steadfast and true. Mimi Mondal's character creation is excellent, enveloping you in these characters and their conflict with ease. It's a beautifully written piece, but I'll admit I didn't know how deep i
✘✘ 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, D
Michelle F
A prettily written story of devotion and the bonds of non traditional love. A quick perusal of other reviews tells me I drew many more spiritual references from this short than the first-page reviewers did. I find this interesting, even given the title alone. I actually wish that I hadn’t read into it. As a non-religious person, I like the reading that everyone else got better. When I look at it from a friendship/romance/dedication perspective, I think it’s a beautiful little tale.

In a story th
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 Bi ...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 hav
I’m usually not that fond of a circus setting but I fell in love with this traveling circus in India and the trapeze artist Binu. While we also get a bit of background about the devadasi customs and the main conflict in the story is kind of a damsel in distress subplot, the important theme here is that of freedom, friendship and love and I thought it was beautifully written.
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 Mim
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 rev
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. ...more
Jun 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: short reads fantasy
This short story was somehow an Aladin inspired story, although that was in a few notions. The world built was pretty good, as the setting was intriguing and magical, with the circus and the deities. The ending was unexpected as well.
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 😣

'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. ...more
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.
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gratis, short-stories
I really liked this story despite my intense dislike of anything that has the word circus in it.

It is at its core a love story, simple as that. The text leaves ambiguity enough that everyone can see the love portrayed as romantic, platonic, sexual or any other one of the forms love can take. I recommend checking it out for yourself!
Dawn C
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Utterly beautiful <3
Christina Pilkington
Jun 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
*2.5 stars

Out of all the novellas I read that were shortlisted for this year’s Nebula award, this was my least favorite. It felt like a few scenes that were taken out of a longer novel; it just didn't work for me in novella format.

Set in India, this story is about Binu, a master trapeze artist with the Majestic Oriental Circus and also the master of a jinn. The circus is called to perform at the wedding celebrations for the raja’s daughter. When they are leaving, a young girl asks Binu to help h
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 le ...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.
Hafsa | حفصہ
Dec 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Hafsa | حفصہ by: Elle (ellexamines)
Shelves: read-e-books
The Story

I've read less this year than I'd envisioned but the one goal that I had set at the start of the year, to have 80% of my reads be by BIPOC authors, that goal is going pretty well and this short novella was a perfect edition to it! I've tried to read from authors who are marginalized in various ways and Mondal is no different - she's a Dalit writer living in a country plagued with caste-based and other injustices. The story was brilliant in its depiction of friendship, love, responsibili
Miriam Cihodariu
Nov 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: india
I loved this fantasy short story about jinns and gods and mortals locked in a grand scheme of intentions and motivations that often lead to surprising outcomes. It's a story of love, loss, and the burden of immortality, but it felt too short. I would love to see more of it in Mimi Mondal's future writings. :) ...more
Apr 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Lovely, definitely whetted my appetite for more of Mondal's writing. Always looking for new fantasy/magical settings that aren't stupid Europe and men with swords on horses.

Want to point out that I read this for free on Serial Box.
Although it is a soundly written story it is ultimately not that memorable or unique.
The high point for me was the vivid and atmospheric setting. However, the dialogue is a bit rushed and the characters don't really feel real, which makes the story less engaging and developed.
Sep 24, 2020 rated it really liked it

A beautiful, fantastical short story. In all honesty, I didn't realize how swept away I was with the imagery and mythology until I reached the end and realized I was, indeed, in the real world and not this one. Definitely a refreshing read for a not-so-great reading month.
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.
Apr 13, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a story that features a jinni (genie), but the jinni is not really the focus. Our protagonist is a trapeze artist from a primitive part of the country, succeeding in the circus by what he sees as the chance of his agility. He ends up as the leader of the trapeze troupe (throughout, it is clear that the man is truly humble about his abilities--the author somehow relates them without the character taking any special note of them), and entrusted with the jinni, who puts on a cheezy jinni dr ...more
Prabhjot Kaur
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 suc
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