New Release Book Review: The Shape of Water by Daniel Kraus in collaboration with Guillermo del Toro

The Shape of Water…

About the Book:

It is 1962, and Elisa Esposito—mute her whole life, orphaned as a child—is struggling with her humdrum existence as a janitor working the graveyard shift at Baltimore’s Occam Aerospace Research Center. Were it not for Zelda, a protective coworker, and Giles, her loving neighbor, she doesn’t know how she’d make it through the day.

Then, one fateful night, she sees something she was never meant to see, the Center’s most sensitive asset ever: an amphibious man, captured in the Amazon, to be studied for Cold War advancements. The creature is terrifying but also magnificent, capable of language and of understanding emotions…and Elisa can’t keep away. Using sign language, the two learn to communicate. Soon, affection turns into love, and the creature becomes Elisa’s sole reason to live.

But outside forces are pressing in. Richard Strickland, the obsessed soldier who tracked the asset through the Amazon, wants nothing more than to dissect it before the Russians get a chance to steal it. Elisa has no choice but to risk everything to save her beloved. With the help of Zelda and Giles, Elisa hatches a plan to break out the creature. But Strickland is on to them. And the Russians are, indeed, coming.

Developed from the ground up as a bold two-tiered release-one story interpreted by two artists in the independent mediums of literature and film-The Shape of Water is unlike anything you’ve ever read or seen. The Shape of Water weaves fantasy, fable and romance. The book features a handful of illustrations by visual artist James Jean to create a tale that is equally gripping on the page as it is on the big screen.




My Thoughts:

The Shape of Water might be ambitious in scope, but it more than lives up to the hype surrounding its release. A fairy-tale, with elements of romance and suspense, I was drawn into this story from the very first page and was held spellbound right through to the end.

There is an element of excitement for me surrounding this project. The collaboration of two artists, working together from the one original idea and building a film and a novel together for simultaneous release. There will be no need to compare the book to the film in this instance as it’s my expectation that they will be identical. There are even gorgeous illustrations throughout the novel to link it further with the film.

In terms of the story, I just loved The Shape of Water. An original fairy-tale of a mute woman forging a connection with an amphibious creature being held captive in her workplace. A crazed villain, torn apart by the horrors of war, hell-bent on destroying the creature as a means of avenging his own war crimes and cleansing himself of all evil. And all of the other supporting characters who provide their special input because no character exists within this novel without an explicit purpose. Unfolding against the backdrop of the turbulent 1960s in America, The Shape of Water is an extraordinary concept that has come together beautifully. I just need to go and see the film now!

At the heart of this story is the need for connection. We all need to have someone to connect with, and as Elisa demonstrates, sometimes this connection can come from the most unlikely of sources. To love and be loved in return; that is The Shape of Water.

Thanks is extended to Pan Macmillan Australia for providing me with a copy of The Shape of Water for review.

View the Trailer for the film here:


About the Author:

Daniel Kraus has landed on Entertainment Weekly’s Top 10 Books of the Year (2015 – The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch) and has won two Odyssey Awards (for Rotters and Scowler). His novels have been Library Guild selections, YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults picks, Parent’s Choice Gold Award winners, Bram Stoker finalists, and more. He co-authored Trollhunters with Guillermo de Toro.

Guillermo de Toro is the award-winning director of numerous critically acclaimed feature films, such as Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy, and Pacific Rim, and the co-author (with Chuck Hogan) of the bestselling Strain Trilogy. He lives in California with his wife and two children.


8 thoughts on “New Release Book Review: The Shape of Water by Daniel Kraus in collaboration with Guillermo del Toro

  1. It was a great film (and well worth seeing for the performances – I particularly love Sally Hawkins) – but I think, given it’s not an original book which has been adapted later to film, I probably won’t read the book too. Is that a weird thing to say?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve heard *so* much about the film (Oscars season will do that), but – I’ll be honest – I had no idea it was a book until I saw this review 😐 Is it just me, or does it sound eerily similar to the book that the writer character on The L Word was writing?? It was some years ago now that I saw that show, but I distinctly remember one of the central characters talking about writing a story where a mute woman discovered that she talked the language of manatees and it opened a whole new world to her…

    Thanks so much for this review! 🙂


  3. Ha! I have never seen The L Word but that does sound uncanny!
    You are not the first person to mention not knowing this was a book. And given it’s meant to be a double release, I’m beginning to think the film has overshadowed the book so much that it’s practically annihilated it! I’ve only seen the film trailer so far, but on its own merits, the book is very good. I’m sure the film is excellent, Oscars aside, a few of my friends have now seen it and enjoyed it.
    Thanks for reading the review and checking in!


  4. Pingback: Bingo! The Shape of Water by Daniel Kraus in collaboration with Guillermo del Toro | Theresa Smith Writes

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