I really enjoyed The Shadow of the Wind by Zafon, and looking for a short novel to tide me over before I go away, I reached for The Prince of Mist, Zafon's debut novel that has only recently been translated. Originally, it was published as a Young Adult novel; and it is a really good one-and suffers from virtually no 'first novel problems' either.This novel is more openly fantasy than Shadow of the Wind, and the only thing that slightly let the novel down for me was that the antagonist, who while really, really creepy, did not seem to have that much of an explanation of how he had this apparently mystical grip on people. Aside from that, the plot moved forward really well (sort of reminding me of a Curse of the Black Pearl feeling) and Zafon really knows how to build tension throughout the novel and its 256 pages fly by.Max is a good protagonist, a young boy on the verge of adulthood whose life is shadowed slightly by the war. He's intelligent and determined to get to the bottom of the mysteries he discovers, but Zafon is not afraid of showing him to be afraid of some of the sticky situations he finds himself in. I also really liked the character of Alicia, Max's older sister, who was really well portrayed and it was nice to see a feminine character who is not portrayed as drippy. The older characters, like Victor Kray the lighthouse keeper, were also written with the kind of sympathy and understanding that is not always present towards the adult characters in YA novels.Zafon's lyrical writing style is still present in this novel as well, it certainly is not 'dumbed down' for a young audience. At some points it got a little overdone, but that could have been due to the translation, and the fact that it was his first novel.The Prince of Mist is a really good, slightly creepy novel and I'm looking forward to reading its companion novel The Midnight Palace soon.