The Test by Sylvain Neuvel | Book Review

March 12th, 2019

I’m no stranger to Sylvain Neuvel’s writing. I flew through every book in the Themis Files and eagerly awaited the next installment. I was thrilled to see that he was coming out with something new.

The Test is not exactly what I was expecting, and I mean that in a good way. Part of my surprise was the size of the book. It’s tiny, barely hitting over 100 pages. Not a lot of depth can happen in 100 pages, so I wasn’t sure about what to expect from the story.

In the not too distant future, citizenship in the United Kingdom is determined by a test. This is where we’re going to get into spoiler territory, so if you’re planning on reading it, come back in an hour after you’ve read it and then we can chat.

Done? Good, let’s talk about it.

I was intrigued by the idea of a simulation that requires people to make choices about who to save. I liked the psychology of that choice, and was intrigued by the idea of that being the determining factor for getting to stay in a country.

I also liked being given the other side of those choices, and seeing what goes into the back end of the simulation. I liked Deep as a character more than Idir, but that may have just been because of the nature of their roles in the story.

To me, Deep’s choices and his test is more interesting than what Idir chooses. Based on what you learn of him and what he’s been through, it’s easy to see the direction and the choices that he’s going to make int he simulation. What you can’t see is Deep’s choices and their lasting impacts.

The length of this story is a blessing. It doesn’t need more than 100 pages to get its point across, and I enjoyed that.

I also know that I’ll enjoy pretty much everything Sylvain Neuvel writes. He uses format to his advantage and the same is true of The Test.