In all my reading I've discovered some truly great books. Some are great because of the characters (The Gurnsey Litereary and Potato Peel Pie Society), some are great because of the story (Mortal Instrument series, Book of a Thousand Days), and some are great because of the writing (The Book Thief).
But it's rare I love a book because of all of the above. That title is reserved for none other than Harry Potter. (I wonder how many of you have rolled your eyes at that). I understand witches and wizards aren't everyone's fancy, but there is no denying that J.K. Rowling can write. I mean write! She created a whole different world with dozens of characters. But I loved every single one of them for the part they played. Even Dolores Umbridge. She had so much detail you couldn't help but believe you were living among them.
As a writer I hope to always better myself. That the next story is better than the last. At the very least in my writing technique. But with a writer like Rowling out there, the bar is pretty high. That's why she's my literary hero.