Squid’s Grief is a roller-coaster of life events that would have most people saying ‘to heck with that’. Poor Squid has had one bad day after another and just wants a break, a fresh start, a chance that everything will turn out okay for her just once. Though she tries to do the right thing, and has a list of rules while she breaks the law (only steal cars that belong to criminals, or are double-parked, or something), the poor thing just gets into worse and worse trouble.
In one particular car heist she unluckily discovers that someone’s tried up in the boot. She frees him and tries to shoo him on his way, however he suffers from amnesia and follows her around like a slightly dumb puppy for the next few days. Although she doesn’t exactly have much to share in her ramshackled life, she gives away her last few coins in order to feed him. Since he doesn’t leave and can’t remember anything, she nicknames him Grief and it sticks.
Throughout the book she tries to get her life back on track to less than stellar results, and instead focuses on figuring out Grief’s story, as they joke he must be a rock god or prince or at least someone who has a hot tub and nice clothes somewhere. As the truth starts to come out, we’re left reading with a bitten lip as we hope somehow, they pull through this somehow… and possibly even together.
What I loved about this book was the dialogue. The book is full of weird and excellent humour; Mok isn’t afraid to just be weirdly random at times, and it works (for me, at least, known to my own peers as someone who says weird and zany shit a little too often). The book also has lovely yet concise descriptions, such as ‘Infinity Mall was a shopping superhighway. It was bigger than Buckingham Palace and busier than Tokyo in peak hour.’
The characters are what drives this piece. You deeply care for Squid and Grief, even though you wouldn’t exactly what Squid near you (smells bad, steals shit, super unlucky life etc), and as more comes out about Grief you certainly wouldn’t want him close either.
However, the plot is driven by how you want Squid to get a lucky break, and that you hope everything gets sorted out for Grief somehow, too. Squid is a hugely sympathetic character, and Grief starts out by being so sweetly innocent and shows he cares for Squid in a way that she deserves, that you want them to come through this okay.
Once I started this book it was very easy to read in under a day. Highly recommended for futuristic cyberpunk of loveable characters and a quick plot.