Ashur’s Tears

Brown Bks. (Cypher 1.0). Apr. 2022. 320p. Tr $11.99. ISBN 9781612545349.
Gr 4-6–Preteen Toby Cypher enjoys a charming life. He spends his time creating and building “mimics,” programmable morphing robots that are advanced enough to be indistinguishable from humans. In his free time, he volunteers at the Air Force Museum and tutors Rachel, the coolest girl in school. However his life comes apart when he learns that his father, a scientist who does classified work for the government, is in a plane crash over Iraq. When Toby’s sister, Katie, discovers a secret message in the last song on their dad’s phone, they are sucked into their father’s secret work with the government. They soon learn that his job was filled with danger and betrayal. The siblings have to work together to make it out of the secret world alive. This title connects magic and science in an attempt to cultivate a fast-paced addition to the fantasy adventure genre. Sadly, it misses its mark. The plot is difficult to follow, the characters are not well-rounded, and elements of the world-building are quite confusing.
VERDICT A solid effort that unfortunately falls short of its promising premise.

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