Friday, February 8, 2013

Novella Review: Ferragost by Melina Marchetta (Salute Your Shorts, #1)

Salute Your Shorts is a weekly (ish) feature hosted by Heidi at Bunbury in the Stacks. It highlights and reviews short stories and novellas, both of which don't receive too much attention in the blogosphere. 

Salute Your Shorts is a feature I've enjoyed at Heidi's blog for a long time now and I figured with the new year - and a new-found love of short stories and novellas - I might as well join in! :)

Title: Ferragost (Lumatere Chronicles, #2.5)

Author: Melina Marchetta

Rating: 4 Stars

We Melina Marchetta fans, we need to start a petition, because I need a WHOLE book on Celie, and especially on her romance with Banyon. Seriously, one little short story just isn't enough! First of all, I have to admit that I didn't have very high hopes for Ferragost, simply because Marchetta's strength lies in her slow build-up and development of ideas, of extending them along the plot lines of her novels and creating something beautiful from them; something breathtaking. I wasn't sure if she could repeat that with a short story, but, as usual, Marchetta always exceeds my expectations.

Ferragost is a short murder mystery, taking place with Lady Celie spying for Lumatere in Belegonia. Needless to say, I loved it. Marchetta thrives off of intelligent conversation and this is so palpably felt in this novella more than ever. Celie, a heroine we rarely see or know much of, is given a distinct voice, purpose, and being, just as strong and sharp as that of Isaboe, Phaedra, or Quintana. Not only did she surprise me by being a protagonist I instantly liked, but she's witty and an extremely clever spy as well. Plus, admit it, who doesn't want a Melina Marchetta novel about a female spy? ;)

If all that weren't enough to recommend this, the mystery unfolds fantastically and the ultimate themes are all typically Marchetta, even with this. Furthermore, our romantic interest, Castellan Banyon is an enigmatic protector and obviously a sworn opposite of Celie as she is a spy. Yet, the sexual tension between them is electric and more than anything else, this left me wanting more of them and more of Celie. You see, despite Celie's obvious admiration for Isaboe and her yearning to be more like her, she's distinctly unique, possessing the best qualities Isaboe has, but only without the sharp edge that sometimes makes me dislike her. Celie is far more soft and also has less burdens on her mind, making her a more light-hearted character and someone I found compelling, despite the few pages through which I knew her.

Ferragost is, I'm sad to say, my last Marchetta novel...until she writes another one, at least. I put it off because I couldn't bear to say good-bye to her stories, but this has given me hope that she will revisit Lumatere someday. If not, I'll have to travel to Australia and hunt her down myself because I need a Celie love story just like I so desperately need a Jimmy Hailler book.

It goes without saying that Ferragost is a must-read, whether you're a fan of Melina Marchetta or not (how can anyone NOT be a fan of Melina Marchetta??) you won't regret reading this one.


  1. Yes, this is such a good example of a short story and I want to know more about Celie, too!

  2. Okay I'm so glad that you decided to be part of this fun feature Keertana, because otherwise I wouldn't have known that this book existed. I'm huge fan of Marchetta's books like you so I know I need to go back to this series right away. That's so sad that you have no more Marchetta books to read, I have my fingers crossed that we get our Jimmy book soon enough! Lovely review hun! :)

  3. AHhhhh! How have I not heard of this book Keertana! I'm a huge Marchetta fan (though I have a lot of catching up to do with her books) and I absolutely adore Kirsty Eagar! *fingers crossed that Melina hears your wish for a full Celie novel and makes it happen*

  4. So... I'm not a Melina Marchetta fan. Yet. Because I have yet to pick up a book by her. I know, I know, it's totally unfortunate! I've heard so many fantastic things yet I just haven't picked up a book by her. But it's great that Ms. Marchetta exceeded your expectations once again with this book! The romance sounds utterly amazing, as well.

    Fantastic review, Keertana, and you've gotten me even MORE convinced to hunt down a copy of Melina Marchetta's books!!

  5. I loved this one too! It was so fun to get more of Lady Celie. I agree, we need more of her and Banyon after this tantalizing beginning. Thankfully, Marchetta has written that she wants to write more of these Lumatere, Celie short stories, AND she's working on a Jimmy book. So YAY for more writing to come. Plus that Jellicoe movie. My last Marchetta novel is LOOKING FOR ALIBRANDI, and it's currently staring at me from my shelf. I'm afraid to read it, for the same reasons. But now I get to re-read everything!

  6. I've never read a Melina Marchetta book... *ducks and hides*

    I keep hearing the name everywhere and the fact that you enjoyed a short story so much, indicates I need to pick up one of her books.

    I'm not usually one for short stories but I definitely thinking some of them may have more merits than others now.

    Lovely review, dearest! :)

  7. I've been waiting to read this one for the same reason you were: I'm just not ready to say goodbye yet. The Lumatere Chronicles have this huge special place in my heart and I plan to reread all three books very soon. It will be a goodbye of sorts, and that's when I'll read Celie's story as well.
    You're much braver than I am, but we both knew that.

  8. I have this novella, I just need to read it! How sad that this is the last MM for a while. I hope she writes some more. I know she's really busy with TV & movies now, though. :( Although, I can't wait for the movie version of On the Jellicoe Road. Wonderful review, Keertana. :)

  9. Oh wow, what an awesome idea for a feature! I can't believe I've never heard of it before, as it is so interesting and unique!

    I'm really glad you enjoyed this novella. I'm afraid I have to hang my head in shame and admit that I have never read a Marchetta book! However, after reading your lovely review, I'm very determined to get my hands on a copy of some of this authors books!

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful post with us, Keertana! :)

  10. See now I am kicking myself for not having read this when I had the chance, but I was worried I wouldn't enjoy it for exactly the reasons you mentioned. I guess there really is no need to doubt the Marchetta, is there? :) Great review, Keertana!

    Oh and I REALLY hope we will be getting that Jimmy Hailler book! He is one of my favourite characters in existence.

  11. You did a Salute Your Shorts post!!! <3 So glad you decided to join in BUT I'm saving actually reading this until it's the PROPER TIME for me since I just started Finnikin. I will be back!

  12. I've seen a few reviews of this short, but for some reason I didn't realize it was a murder mystery! My interest was just piqued.

    I like some MM novels more than others, but I may have to check this one out sometime. Great review!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden


I love hearing from my readers and I read, reply, and appreciate every one of the comments I receive!(: If you're a fellow blogger, please leave a link to your blog - I'd love to drop by!

Unfortunately, this is now an award-free blog. I simply do not have the time to respond and forward on the award, but I truly appreciate the nomination regardless.