If you haven’t read «The Test» by Sylvain Neuvel, what are you doing with your life?! It’s incredible! Mind-blowing! Astounding! And many other positive adjectives that I can’t think of right now!
The best way to experience this novella is to dive into the story blindly. The less you know the more surprised (and shocked!) you’ll be. The blurb for this book is very precise and I think it’s perfectly on point. How many times have we encountered long blurbs that spoiled half of the story? That’s why I tend to avoid reading them at all costs. (I’m the same with movie trailers, btw. Recent trailers are just a summarized version of movies and I don’t like watching them! 😀 )
Britain, the not-too-distant future.
Idir is sitting the British Citizenship Test.
He wants his family to belong.
Twenty-five questions to determine their fate. Twenty-five chances to impress.
When the test takes an unexpected and tragic turn, Idir is handed the power of life and death.
How do you value a life when all you have is multiple choice?
«The Test» was my first book by Sylvain Neuvel and it definitely won’t be the last one. I already own the first book in the Themis Files series and plan to start it soon.
[Soon = once I finish all other 38719 book series I’ve started over the years… I’ve been planning to make a post about all the book series I’ve started / finished / abandoned, but there are just too many of them and I can’t decide how to make them all look pretty and not scary. I used to track them all on FictFact but it closed last year and now I’m lost. Goodreads doesn’t really offer a good “series tracking tool”. So if you have any recommendations, please leave them in the comments below!]
Getting back to «The Test», it’s a short novella, only 100 pages, which you can read in less than 2 hours. Therefore, I don’t want to say too much about it, to not spoil anything.
It’s a story about Idir, an Iranian national, who after many years of living in the UK with his wife and their two children was eligible to finally do the citizenship test, that would change his and his family’s future. There is a lot at stake. If Idir fails, he and his family will not get the same chance again.
Even though I went through the “immigration process” when I came to Portugal, the possibility to stay here was never as important to me or at risk as it was for Idir and his family. They left Iran because of the horrors their family went through and the possibility to live in the UK was like a fresh start, a possibility to be happy once in their whole lives.
Sylvain Neuvel weaves into this short Sci-Fi book a lot of social commentaries – from xenophobia and racism to multiple other parameters we (as a society) often judge people by.
You probably heard that «The Test» is often compared to an episode of Black Mirror and that’s very true. Once you pick this book up, you won’t be able to stop reading until you’re finished!
This is a spectacular novella that everyone needs to read at least once in their life.
Have you read any books by Sylvain Neuvel? Would you recommend his other Sci-Fi series?
Let me know in the comments below!