Reviewed by Susan Violante for Reader Views (12/2014)
Article first published as Book Review: ‘The Message,’ Science-Fiction by Jeff Lefler on Blogcritics.
“The Message” by Jeff Lefler is based on the question: “Is there other intelligent life in the Universe?” and entertains the possibility of venturing into space to try to find the answer. I personally find this topic fascinating, and thus jumped at the opportunity to read this book.
The story begins by introducing the reader to Moriah, who is alone in a ship on a mission. Moriah’s mission is clear. He is on a journey to find Earth 2, or in other words another Earth-like planet. Thirty five years have passed since he left Earth by himself to venture in space. He had been tested before being the chosen for the mission, as whoever was to embark on this journey would need to be able to survive a life of solitude and the desperation that would come as the consequence of being isolated and away from his family, friends and natural environment. Lefler develops Moriah’s story through his own life reminiscence as he writes letters recording how he ended up all alone on that ship. The tone took me back in some aspects to the Odyssey movie I watched many years ago. A feeling of emptiness and dread yet of resolute and belonging came through Moriah’s own account. Lefler did a great job transferring this mood to the reader. My only complaint on how he presented the story was his choice to narrate in third person along with presenting the first person account from Moriah, which pulled me in and out of the story, making it feel repetitive and slowing down the pace too much. I would have preferred he just use Moriah as the narrator as his voice was pulling me into his head and heart, making me part of the story. The third person paragraphs were just repeating the facts learned from Moriah’s account and were also pulling me out of his head and thus the story would not move forward for me.
I also think that Lefler would have benefitted the story by subjecting the manuscript to professional editing for writing style and not just regular proof-reading. I believe most of the setbacks I felt while reading “The Message” could have been caught and corrected making it an exceptional work as the topic is of current interest and its creative storyline has merit. Its writing style just needed some work to make it more entertaining and move at a better pace.
In all, I found “The Message” by Jeff Lefler to be very interesting. Its premise grabbed my curiosity and did not let go until the end. I am sure all Sci-Fi lovers and alien seekers will find it a book worth reading!