Review: The Test by Sylvain Neuvel

Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Tor.com
Paperback: 112 pages

4/5 Stars

Thanks to Tor.com and the author for an advanced reading copy of The Test in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this ARC in no way influenced my thoughts or opinions on the novella.

This was my first foray into Neuvel’s writing and certainly won’t be my last. I have heard great things about his Themis Files trilogy and The Test gives me an anticipation boost to start the series.

The Test begins begins with a room full of test takers, including our protagonist, Idir, and a multiple choice, 25-question exam to determine the potentiality of citizenship in the UK. With a few questions knocked out of the park, Idir believes he will come through this with flying colors.
But when variables change and the test comes down to life or death, multiple choice doesn’t always hand you the answer you expect, or want.

I have to say, this novella blew my mind through the first 20 or so pages. I feel like I was dropped into an episode of Black Mirror where I am going down one path and BOOM, 180° turn. WTF??? To really explain this feeling would absolutely spoil the read for you so you’ll just have to find out what mean for yourself.

One thing Neuvel has going for him his character development. It has been a while since I have been so emotionally invested in a character, but Idir takes the freaking cake. I laughed. I cried. I felt triumph to only have it absolutely crushed into dust. But when it came down to the hard decisions, I had his back.

The Test is a very unsettling read, and a bit of a mindf^$k if I’m being honest. It’ll take you on an emotional rollercoaster ride, one with an underlying darkness that stays with you and will leave you with less answers than you began with. But I have to say, I highly recommend it. Short, engaging, and powerful.

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