#BookReview: The Shape of Water by Guillermo Del Toro & Daniel Kraus

A great film and an even better book awaits . . .


The Shape of Water by Guillermo Del toro & Daniel Kraus
Fantasy Romance
Released March 2018
Amazon ♦ Goodreads
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. 


My Thoughts:

If you don’t know the story yet, The Shape of Water is about a Sea God that is captured by an evil man who considers himself a Jungle God. The Sea God is taken to laboratory where he is held captive and subjected to torture by human monsters who want to destroy this thing they don’t understand. A mute janitor named Elisa shows him kindness and brings him eggs and music and they fall in love.

If you’ve ever had a little secret crush on The Creature from the Black Lagoon (not that I'd know anything about that . . . ) this is the book that was written for you. Even if you haven’t, it might be the book for you!



There is brutality and ickiness but the sweet romance provides a nice contrast.

This book is based on the movie of the same name and if you enjoyed the movie, I think you should read the book too. I was expecting an emotionless rehashing of the screenplay but that’s not at all what I got. The story is fleshed out most excellently as are all of the characters. The first ¼ reads like an action adventure novel that takes place in the jungle. We see bad guy Strickland in action and he does some horrible, depraved things that end up haunting him throughout the story. There is so much more here than what was shown in the film that you need to know, if you’re anything like me. Strickland’s wife even has a storyline that I found interesting. She is the typical perfect 50’s/60’s wife but she’s not thrilled with her lot in life and longs for more and actually takes the steps to do so causing Strickland to become more unhinged as the book progresses. I loved seeing that bastard get beaten down. We also get to know Zelda and Giles and the Russian scientist on a much deeper level as well.

Now about that fish love, and I know that’s why you’re here, it works spectacularly in the book and it’s not at all “icky” (the ickiness only came from Strickland and his rotting fingers and garbage thoughts). The romance develops too quickly in the movie for my tastes (I’m never a fan of insta-love even if the male is a Sea God) but here there’s time for it develop at a natural pace as they communicate through sign language and his physical color changes that he controls to show his emotions and calm situations for anyone paying close enough attention - and Elisa is. We get to know Elisa and are allowed in on all of her intimate thoughts. We even get a bit of the Sea God’s perspective which I LOVED. He’s primitive and gentle in his thoughts and has another way of looking at life that felt genuine to who he was before being ripped from the calmness and savage beauty of the jungle.

This is a unique and strange love story and I really and truly am glad I took some time to read it. 4 ½ Stars.

See The Movie @ Amazon



Comments

  1. I must admit that the book and film don't really appeal to me at all but I imagine they will both be popular. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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  2. I wanted to see the movie but it left our theater too quickly. Maybe I'll give the book a try.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. I thought the book was better but the film was breathtakingly beautiful. It was only in our theater for a week or two and I missed it as well. We streamed it via Amazon.

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  3. So my library just got a copy of this and I'm putting it on hold. The creature from the black lagoon has always been one of my favorite monsters so I'm really looking forward to reading this. I've not seen the movie and Mr. Barb says "It looks slow." So I'll just wait until I've read the book and then watch it alone sometime. The book is probably better anyway!

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    1. Definitely go for the book but you should see the film too. It is gorgeous.

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  4. I can't say I've ever had a crush on a fish, but I did get what Tom Hanks saw in Daryl Hannah back in the day. :)

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    1. Oh, how I loved that movie! Guess I've always had a thing for the fish people :)

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  5. I'm really glad you loved this, as I want to see the movie and read the book. I'm usually hesitant about books and movies that come out at the same time, but this sounds so good!

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    1. Reading/viewing them together worked out well for me.

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  6. Ack. Ok. I've been going back and forth regarding this book. Your review convinced me!

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    1. I hope you enjoy it. It's very action oriented in the first half and the villain is horrible!

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  7. I might be one of the few people around that didn't think much of the movie at all. I thought it was pretty overrated. The reason I got this book was to help me understand the movie better -- which it might well going from this review :)

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  8. I never had a secret crush on the creature from the Black Lagoon, but I am totally here for this book anyway! Brutality and ickiness combined with sweet romance---I love those kinds of contrasts that seem like they wouldn't work but really do. Bummer the romance was a bit quick to develop, but I'm still looking forward to the book! Also I love your doll and funko in the photo XD

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    1. Aren't they the cutest? My husband buys these for me whenever he spots a new one.

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  9. oh man! I sent this book back to the library because I had WAY too many books waiting for me on my nightstand and yes I though exactly that! that it may be an emotionless rehashing of the screenplay! Now I have to go and get it back LOL

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