Please believe me when I tell you that I love, no, completely adore Melina Marchetta's works, especially The Lumatere Chronicles, which is one of my all-time favorite fantasy series.
Ferragost, however, just did not compel me in any way.
Now, I will start off by saying that this could be a case of "It's not you, it's me." I now have exactly one book on my "mystery-thriller" bookshelf, and it's this one. So, clearly, mystery-based stories aren't really my jam.
Even if I were a fan of mystery stories, though, I don't necessarily think that I would have been spellbound by this one. For one, it's a short story, so you don't really get to know the characters, victim, or suspects that well, which made it hard for me to care much about the investigation. Secondly, it's not the kind of mystery that you can try to figure out for yourself, because you're not given the background on the key clue (at least, not in this story). Instead, we just kind of have to observe as Celie manages to figure it all out - yawn.
Sidenote: I see that a lot of people have tagged this into the "fantasy" genre, but it's not reeeaaaally fantasy. Okay, yes, it takes place in the fantasy world of Skuldanore (specifically, in the castle of Ferragost, which is located in the kingdom of Belegonia). However, aside from the setting, there is really nothing fantastical about this book. /Sidenote
Another major issue I had with Ferragost revolved around the characterizations of Celie and Banyon, especially Celie. Clearly it's just me, based on the reviews I've been reading, but I really dislike Celie. I remember being irked by her in either Froi of the Exiles or Quintana of Charyn (I can't remember which, but I'm pretty sure it was the latter), since she seemed like nothing more than Isaboe's lackey. I was excited for this story because I thought I would learn more about her and like her, but no, it was just the opposite. The girl is smart - I'll give her that. Other than that, though, I didn't find her even remotely captivating. I know that she only had a short story to work with, but Phaedra didn't have many pages dedicated to her in Froi of the Exiles and she still managed to be quite fascinating. Celie already has the hook - a female spy, that sounds awesome, right? - but there just doesn't seem to be anything much deeper than that. I also got incredibly mad at Celie at the end of the story (for spoilerific reasons that I won't mention, but basically, I hate people who think they can have their cake and eat it too).
And as for Banyon, the castellan of Ferragost... he was alright, I suppose, but again, there was nothing particularly interesting about him. His character seemed promising at first, as Banyon suffers seizures, which makes people suspect he might be possessed by a demon. However, this never seemed to go anywhere. Rather, Banyon was of your typical "He's a jerk to the heroine, but deep down, you know he's a really sweet guy!" variety. At least in Banyon's case, though, I do think he at least has the potential to be an intriguing character, if Marchetta in the future ever decides to include him in future stories.
So, yeah. A mostly dull mystery, with boring (at best) characters. It took me a whole week to read this 70-page story, which is quite a long time for me, and is demonstrative of how uninterested I was in it. (By comparison, I read the entire Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson in ten days, for example, just prior to picking up Ferragost.) No, it wasn't terrible, but it wasn't good, either. The next time I find myself re-reading The Lumatere Chronicles, I'll be sure to skip over this little installment.
I tried to read the other story in this compilation, Molasses by Kristy Eager, but gave up because I disliked the rough writing style. It also seemed to be mostly dialogue, with hardly any prose, which is just not my thing. So, I'm not going to review that one, sorry!