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Racism, Evil Governments And Our Small Lives: A Relevant Story In Today’s World The Test by Sylvain Neuvel, ★★★★★ 5 stars

Sylvain Neuvel is an amazing writer, and The Test is an incredible book. I don’t understand how you can put this much tension in merely around 100 pages!! And I have absolutely no idea how to review it without spoilers. Maybe you could just take my word on the fact that you should absolutely, definitely read it?

The Test by Sylvain Neuvel

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★★★★★ 5 stars

It’s the near future, and UK has taken some big measures to determine who gets citizenship and who doesn’t. It’s a decision that came following some truly horrid attacks, but you’ll be able to decide whether it’s justifiable or not only after you’ve heard what the test is. More than that, the test is secret. Nobody knows what it is until they take it. And they can never tell after they pass. Does that already ring an alarm bell?

Sylvain Neuvel creates a tense thriller that tugs at your heartstrings and questions the morality of the test givers in just a handfull of pages, which is stunning on its own. You will not walk away from this book without being changed by it.

Can We And Should We Let Fear Rule Us And Affect Our Decisions?

The Test puts it all together: our questions about inequality, our fears about terrorism and our misgivings about how these fears shape society and impact politics and state-wide decisions. The Test is about unfairness and about how twisted governments can be. And that governments are essentially just people – so its about how twisted we humans as a society can be. How the decision to administer such tests lies with you and me, because we form the whole – we make the decisions, and each of us could always say no and break the chain. If more of us say no, some things can be prevented.

The Test Explores Incredibly Tough Moral Questions

Reading The Test HURTS. It just hurts. It will probably hurt more if you’re an immigrant in the country you now live in, or if you’re part of a minority. But I think it will hurt even if you’re not – I mean, if you have a heart. If you’re human, it doesn’t matter what race, gender or nationality you are, you will be horrified and pained at the concepts presented in this book, and you will worry that the world may be moving in the very direction of what’s described in The Test. Where human lives are just big data, manipulated by an Al, analyzed and dehumanized. Where the people, living these lives that make up ‘the data’, are mere toys. Where someone’s integrity, safety and mental health means less than a test score. And what’s more – where the test to determine if you’re ‘human enough’ to become a citizen, actually renders you less human in the end because of what it’s done to you.

It’s A Tense, Thrilling Read

I could tell you so much more about The Test, if I wasn’t worried to spoil the book for you. But revealing almost anything about the story will take away the element of surprise, and The Test has a few surprises in there, so I’d rather not ruin it for you. Let me just tell you that it will make your palms sweat and it will make you angry. You might even want to throw the book, because it will feel so unfair. I guess what The Test does, essentially, is show how the process of labeling people dehumanizes them. And it helps you understand better how these same people might feel and what it does to them, when they’re being labelled like that. Perhaps The Test will work as a warning of a world we will surely build, if society continues along the route the West has been headed in for the past several years. And this, among other reasons, is definitely why you want to and should read it.

Overall...

Absolutely worth a read, unless you think you might be triggered, which is also a risk with this book.

The Test shows how labelling people dehumanizes them, and it helps the reader understand how they feel being labelled and how harmful that can be for them in the end. ★★★★★ 5 stars: Click To Tweet

But Beware Of The Triggers

You can expect this to be quite a violent, triggering book with some twists. It deals with citizenship and immigration, so naturally there will be racism discussed, and also some fatphobia and some other bias and stereotypes that make people prejudiced against others. Here are some more in detail triggers, but they might be spoilery, so I’ve covered them up: there is brutal violence and terrorism, there are governments treating immigrants like mere numbers. There is reminiscing about war and oppression by governments. Some of the events are shocking. All in all, if you’ve ever struggled with immigration offices or any such thing, you should probably consider that the book may trigger you.

I thank the publisher for giving me a free copy of the book in exchange to my honest opinion. Receiving the book for free does not affect my opinion.

What are some of the books you read that you feel changed you? Have they been very triggering? Did they make you think about the world in a different way?

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Evelina AvalinahsBooksMalka @ Paper ProcrastinatorsPaul LiadisAyelenBrooke Lorren Recent comment authors

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Flora
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Probably too many triggers for my emotional state but I am always impressed by authors who can garner such emotions in such few pages – talented indeed.

Lydia
Guest

I hadn’t heard of this one but it sounds disturbingly relevant for life right now. I think anything that has gotten this big of an emotional response out of you is definitely a must read! I hope you’ve recovered now.

Brooke Lorren
Guest

This sounds interesting! There is a character in my book (a fantasy) that fails a test and is sent to be killed (although he escapes). Historically, we’ve seen things like literacy tests to see if you can vote, and we all know how people feel about them now.

Ayelen
Guest

This book sounds like something I definitely want to read. As an expat and someone who was once denied a visa, I’m really interested to see where this book goes.

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Paul Liadis
Guest

This sounds like my cup of tea

Malka @ Paper Procrastinators
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I’ve heard really great things about this book! I love books like that this make you think and contemplate your part in a national or global issue. I’ve taken several classes that delve into this exact idea, of recognizing your input into a larger issue, and they’ve all really made me think!