Early 5Bat! Review: Working Stiff by Rachel Caine

August 1, 2011 Uncategorized 11

*This title will be released on August 2, 2011*

Working Stiff (Revivalist, #1)

Title: Working Stiff
Author: Rachel Caine
Series: Revivalist #1
Cover Art: N/A
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Excerpt: Yes
Source: Publisher
Reviewed by: Julia

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Roc; August 2, 2011
  • ISBN-10: 0451464133
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451464132
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Sexual Content:

Kissing; references to sex, necrophilia, and sexual assault.


Near Perfect – Buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend.


A brand new adventure from the award-winning, New York Times and USA Today bestselling Rachel Caine, author of the Morganville Vampires and Weather Warden series …

Bryn Davis is new on the job as a funeral director, but even she knows that once youโ€™re dead, you ought to stay that way. But Fairview Mortuary has a hidden backroom business: reviving the dead for profit, at extortionate rates.

Finding out may cost Bryn more than her life … it may just take away her death, too. 


From page one, WORKING STIFF was a wonderful surprise.  I did not expect to fall in love with the heroine so quickly; Bryn’s careful, quiet personality is so winning and fierce I was captivated. She has a life and a job history prior to working at the funeral home, and that made her all the more human and interesting.  This rapport with Bryn is the gateway into her world, and gives emotional heft to the rest of the story.

And oh, what a story.  So many familiar themes of immortality, loss and vulnerability are woven into this most delicate balancing act of rebirth. WORKING STIFF felt more like vampirism from a foot-soldier’s perspective than a zombie story; Bryn’s continued existence relies on an organization that is rotten to it’s core. Anyone who has ever wondered if they could survive the collapse of society without access to life saving prescriptions will relate to this book, Bryn has a daily death sentence hovering over her.  And yet, even as she lives, she’s caught in the perfect stasis that is immortality. No going forward, but the fear of falling back into death and darkness hanging over every moment… her emotional journey is both heart-wrenching and riveting. 

Bryn and her world were so interesting to me, it was easy for friendships and love interest to get lost in the shuffle. They were there, they were sweet and sexy and dangerous by turns, but I was more fascinated watching Bryn adapt to the changes in her life than anything else. As I close WORKING STIFF, I’m still emotionally invested enough to worry about these characters.  At odd moments I find myself planning strategies to keep Bryn safe, and I canโ€™t wait for Book Two to set my mind at ease.

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11 Responses to “Early 5Bat! Review: Working Stiff by Rachel Caine”

  1. Julia

    I loved this one so much, and you loved WHITE TRASH ZOMBIE, I'm curious to see how I react to it now. We may be on opposite ends of the zombie continuum…

  2. Britt

    I'm about a third of the way through it and I'm enjoying it. It is a -bit- depressing. But it's about a girl who start working at a funeral home. It's not gonna be puppies and sunshine.

  3. Tanya

    Oh em Gee! Thank you for this recommendation! I come to your site to look up 5 bat reviews so I can find good books to read. I was starting to lose interest in reading because a lot of the books that I have been reading are just not that good. Ever since I read the fever series everything has paled in comparison. Anyway, I tried Sophie littlefield and read all three books but didn’t like them all that much. I read Shade and shift and thought they were okay. I think I got annoyed with the teenage drama, but I guess that is why it’s YA. Anyway, I really like this book and can’t wait to read the next one. If you have any good recommendations on books similar to fever please share! I don’t mind YA as long as it is well written and on the mature side (Hunger games & delirium). Thank you!!

    • Julia

      Oooh, Tanya, anything to follow the Fever series is a tall order indeed. Did you love the world building, a familiar landscape transformed? Did you love Barrons, the ultimate tall, dark, and deadly heartthrob? Or were you a fan of Mac, transforming herself against all odds and adversity?

      I have a hard time thinking of another world that started out “normal” and erupted to the degree Moning wrote. Patricia Briggs seems to be taking her Mercy Thompson books in a startling new direction with the latest book, but werewolves and vampires were out before that occurred.

      Though the romance takes a much different arc than Mac and Barrons, Nalini Singh’s Raphael is a dark, powerful hero that doesn’t lose much of his edge in the HEA.

      Heroines that reinvent themselves are thick on the ground. Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan & Kelly Gay’s Charlie Madigan have both changed species since the series started. Vivian Vande Velde’s BLOOD AND CHOCOLATE is one of my favorite YA paranormals, but the focus is on the heroine accepting herself than changing fundamentally. Marjorie Liu’s Hunter Kiss series is less romance and more fantasy, but the heroine’s concept of her role in the universe changes pretty significantly over the course of the series. Lilith Saintcrow’s Jill Kismet and Dante Valentine series are both pretty dark and twisty, but I think I like Kismet just a *little* bit more than Dante.

      Let me know which if any of these have worked for you in the past (or that you enjoy reading). I’ll keep brainstorming Fever alternatives…

  4. Tanya


    Yea we have been searching for a book for like the fever series for about a year now lol. I have read Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan and some of the books were a complete miss and some were good. I really liked pale demon though so I hope the next one is just as good if not better. I’ve read Nalini Singh’s series and I did like it, but thought too much sex sometimes (everytime they were alone!). I read Mercy Thompson and only read the first two books and didn’t like them for some reason. People keep saying they’re so good so maybe I’ll give it another go and see. I am currently reading Charlie Madigan, which was suggested by my fever fan friends :). We are all reading this book right now and I really like it so far. I wish they had it on audio though! Thanks for the suggestions! If you think of anymore please let us know.