Review: “Clay Tongue” by Nicholas Conley

clay-tongueDisclaimer: I received an ebook version of this novelette from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The gorgeous cover to this novelette is a perfect match for the beautiful language and sweet story contained within. This short tale is well worth checking out for a quick escape.

The introduction of this piece is a bit slow, and doesn’t give any hint that this is anything other than a purely literary story. I was immediately intrigued by the use of Jewish protagonists, which I don’t often see in genre fiction. However, this reveal was immediately followed with a reference to the mythical golem, which is pretty much the only way we see Jewish protagonists in genre fiction (and fairly obvious, given the title of this piece).

In terms of overall writing, the use of simile and metaphor were a bit heavy for such a young main character, even as I enjoyed the beauty of the words and the evocative descriptions of Katie’s surroundings. “She couldn’t help but notice a deep sadness pervaded the cave, as if she’d stepped into someone’s abandoned dream” is probably one of the loveliest sentences I’ve read this year.

The ending was a touch predictable, but the emotions involved were still poignant. Ultimately, I’m glad that it ended the way it did because anything else would have been a disappointment in the context of the rest of the story.

Rating: 4 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.


Currently reading: Home Birth (Kaiju Revisited #2) by Jessica McHugh

Currently writing: 76,774/90k words

Published by steelvictory

By day, J. L. Gribble is a professional medical editor. By night, she does freelance fiction editing in all genres, along with reading, playing video games, and occasionally even writing. Her debut novel, STEEL VICTORY, was her thesis novel for Seton Hill University's Writing Popular Fiction graduate program in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Previously, she was one of the co-editors for FAR WORLDS, a speculative fiction anthology. She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland, with her husband and three vocal Siamese cats. Find her online (www.jlgribble.com), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/jlgribblewriter), and on Twitter and Instagram (@hannaedits). She is currently working on more tales set in the world of Limani.

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