14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 25 August 2008
I eagerly read this novel as an avid Jilly Cooper fan, but I have to admit this novel really disappointed me. What drew me to her earlier and best novels, notably Riders, Rivals, and Polo was her ability to create an entire world to absorb yourself in - incredibly wild but at the same time believable - and characters you'd love and hate in equal measures at the same time, along with plentiful helpings of raunchy sex scenes and agonising love stories.
Wicked just doesn't live up to these books. I found the story relatively tedious, and most of the characters, particularly the protagonist Janna, quite irritatings, without being loveable at the same time. It felt at times that it was verging on paedophilic, with the sex scenes described about children as young as 12. Additionally to that, it was just simply unrealistic. I couldn't believe in half the characters, which greatly reduced my enjoyment of it.
In summary, it is perfectly readable as any JC is, but I personally think it tries too hard to live up to its predecessors, and in doing so, crosses the line into the ridiculous.
37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on 10 May 2006
Now, I'll make no bones about it: I'll read any Jilly Cooper that comes my way. I'm like a junkie needing a fix. However, despite enjoying 'Score' and 'Pandora', they didn't have quite the effect that their predecessors did, particularly my all-time fave 'Polo'.
Good god, I wondered - am I now that junkie for whom no high is great enough?? But then I got a hit of 'Wicked', which I so enjoyed from start to finish that I actually felt bereft when I had finished racing through it. Welcome back Rupert - plus a great new heroine, a hunk in shorts, some seriously stroppy teens, some very very daft puns, and a whole raft of loveable supporting characters who feel like pals by the end of the book!
It's not as perfect as 'Polo', and Rupert's getting on a bit now (though still the most ravishing man in literature), and I'd still like to see her go back to the equine world, but 'Wicked' is definitely the best thing I've read for a long long time.
So I say - "Go Coop!" and bring on the next one!!!
33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on 3 May 2006
Just finished reading this book and I really enjoyed it. I have a been a long time fan of Jilly Cooper's books (I started with Rivals when I was fifteen - a book I highly recommend). The main characters are very human - sometimes entirely likeable and at other times seriously misguided. I adore the witty, sarcastic characters with seriously racy lifestyles! What I like best about this novel is Cooper's ability to build a whole society and large cast of characters and hang them all together. If you are a fan of Cooper's earlier books you will enjoy Wicked!. If you have not read this authors previous books, stick with it - the story is well worth the effort.
On a personal note as someone working in the education field, I appreciated the very true to life teaching staff (both the good and bad!) in the book and in particular a teacher who was constantly being corrected on their grammar - its the bane of my existence as you can probably see from this review....
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 10 May 2006
I was so excited about receiving this novel! I love the continuity with the same old characters popping out. This novel is no exception, with Rupert and Taggie making appearences, and I loved Rupert's bet in this one to pass English Literature GCSE. (He then quite liked Jane Austen, and there is one part where he just wants to go and finish Emma, as he thinks Mrs Elton is as bad as Anthea Belvedon!)
Her heroine, Janna is a likable headmistress who really cares about her students at Larks Comp/High, and although some of the content is gritty, for example students who are beaten by their parents, forced to deal drugs and cut themselves, she has created the characters who you learn to love and you want them to do well. There is quite a lot of underage sex going on too, but which goes on at both schools, and thus reflects that it doesn't matter on your background!
There is also a lot of politics involved, as Janna is a staunch labour supporter, who then feels let down by the education system, and has a lot to do with the Conservative crowd who are involved with the Bagley Hall private school. It follows current affairs from the early 2000's with the Athen's Olympics and the ban on hunts.
I also liked meeting Xavier and Bianca Campbell-Black for the first time, and Dora Belvedon is a wonderful character. Her new kids from Larks High are fabulous too, and Paris, Graffi and Feral touch your heart when reading about their backgrounds and what they want to achieve.
All in all, it's a riotus novel, with realism of the education system, but with so many excellent chracters it will be the best summer novel and I recommend you take it on holiday with you! I shall certainly be re-reading it soon!
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
JC manages to hit the high notes once again with 'Wicked'; packed with controversy and witty one liners, I enjoyed every twist and turn. It did feel ever so slightly wrong reading about pupils sleeping with teachers but it's written in such a funny, lighthearted way that I managed to forget it was bordering on tasteless. Also, I was more than a little peeved that as far as I can recall there wasn't one remotely attractive teacher when I was at school, never mind a handful! I can see how the content may offend the faint hearted but surely this is JC's trademark style and I, for one, would expect nothing less - Frankly, you just dont sail through 1000 pages of a story unless the writing is brilliant. And it is. A fantastic romp of a read that will keep you thoroughly entertained on the beach or in the garden with a glass of Pimms...It certainly lives up to it's title!
31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on 14 May 2006
I have just finished Wicked and feel like I have lost a close relative! The past few years books have been a bit average-Appassionata and Score e.t.c but Polo, Riders and Rivals are the best. For me this book was in the same league as them unputdownable, funny and well written-of course starring all the old favourites such as Rupert CB, and we get to see how Rannaldini's son has turned out, which is what made me pick it up to start with. I would reccommend it to any Jilly Cooper fan. Very exciting hope she does another like this.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 6 May 2006
At last after 4 years we see something from the unforegettable Jilly Cooper. For all avid fans such as myself , this book did not disappoint! Ooodels of Rupert Campell black towards the end of the book - we see how his adopted children are doing at school and how his relationship with Taggie is after 15/16 years of marriage . Age has definately given Rupert charachter - and we see him mellow and taggie as always ,an angel .
Yet the central theme is the story of the schools and you cant help but enjoy the mischievous goings. It is certainly different from her other books and be prepared for lot of tony blair bashing !
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 3 March 2014
I love a bit of Jilly but I think this book went too far down the road of trying to appeal to a modern audience, and all the scenes between young teenagers were unconvincingly and a bit creepy and embarrassing as they all have sex. And the orgy scenes ... basically I think this had a lot of potential and is really good in parts, but it definitely veers off route. But still enjoyable enough to be a decent read!
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 24 May 2006
I have to agree with the reviewer who had reservations about the teenage characters in this book. Frankly, it's hard to get emotionally caught up in the love lives of 12 and 13 year olds, and reading about adults in sexual situations with 14 year old boys is a little off putting. Jilly Cooper hasn't written a good teenager since her heyday of Caitlin O'Hara and Daisy McLeod's kids. They've been ridiculously precocious and plot driven ever since and most of the characters in Wicked are no exception--a problem as they are the stars here. They can't spell school but are able to brilliantly perform Shakespeare. I know reality's not the point here, but come on.
Having said that, Janna is a vast improvement on the heroines of Score! and Pandora. Taggie gets a plot of her own. The scenes revolving around adoption are real and moving. There's a great Christmas disaster scene and probably most readers can fall for at least one male character--she always writes great men. She can't manage her cast of thousands with the same skill she has in the past and she is repeating scenes from earlier books (character falls madly in love with someone playing Romeo). But then she makes a tacky Bush pun and you can forgive her anything.
Yes, I'll order the next book in hardcover, but note to Jilly's editor: her fans want the book, but I think we'd all be willing to wait another six months if it meant a more focused plot and fewer, stronger characters who seem to rush off the page the second they do something interesting.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
I too read the reviews and had to comment myself.
Wicked is also a book by Jilly that I'd been waiting for. I must say that it took me a while to "get into it", but it was worth persevering with. As I got to know the new characters and got to like them, I was glad to see old favourites like Rupert, Taggie and co, plus learning what had happened with Xav and Bianca.
I thought Jilly wrote a good book. It dealt with some difficult issues, hunting and child abuse, drugs and bullying, but in a minor way. This is a fictional book for heaven's sake, it doesn't have to tie everything neatly up in a bundle.
In my opinion, not one of Jilly's best books, but hey, no-one can write a jolly good book every time without using the same plot. She's got the balance between comprehensive and private pretty well pinned.
Still looking forward to her next one.