… is the young hero of a series of fantasy novels by Rick Riordan. A friend just gave me the first, The Lightening Thief.
Even to explain the premise would be a spoiler, but it’s both unexpected and profound. The stories are very nicely written. The obvious comparison is the Harry Potter series; these books are shorter, without the wealth of Dickensian characters, but correspondingly more tightly plotted. Overall, I’d say the literary level is about the same, and I rate Rowling high, though not as high as Ursula LeGuin, whose Earthsea stories are unmatched.
And, as it happened, Moe’s in Berkeley turned out to have a hardcover copy of Tolkien’s superb Smith of Wootton Major, an astonishingly fine performance and with nary a hobbit in sight.
Update A reader points to a newly published Tolkein volume containing not only Smith of Wootton Major, but Farmer Giles of Ham, Leaf by Niggle, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, and the wonderful and underappreciated Roverrandom.