Why do I keep reading this series? It doesn't grab me, I'm never anxious to read the next book, at most I'd call them mildly amusing. But on the other hand, I'm a sucker for Greek mythology. And if they don't excite me, neither do they piss me off, so when books from this series turn up on one of my lists, then I go ahead and get them out from the library.
But they're not stellar YA fiction. They aren't ones I'll be stocking my shelves with for any hypothetical children I may eventually have. They're passable, but they don't have the depth or emotional heft (or quite frankly, the quality of writing) that makes for an indelible young adult novel. They are the flavour of the month, and in a couple of years, I think a lot of people will be asking "Percy who?" Or rather, they won't.
Which is too bad, because Riordan's inventiveness in how he uses Greek mythology occasionally makes me very happy. It's just not enough, in and of itself. I don't really care that much about the life or death struggles of Percy and his friends, even though Riordan does kill off characters with some regularity. The problem is that I don't really care. Killing characters for emotional pathos only works when I care about the characters.
And one way to do that is to have your characters care. And they don't seem to. Sure, every time someone dies, Percy says he's upset, but that's never borne out in thought or action. Grief seems entirely alien, and the death of friends mildly regrettable. Trust me, that's not what grief is like.
And also, Percy, ADHD cannot be held accountable for the way that you are such a dumbass when it comes to people around you. Not noticing that Annabeth has a crush on you was funny the first time, but now we're four books in, and apparently you have the self-awareness of a newt, and all of your friends secretly hate you, because every time you say "What? What? Why is she acting like that?", they all respond "I'll never tell" in a really fake way. Somebody throw the poor kid a solid piece of advice.
But this is indicative of a larger problem with the books. The emotional conflict is all contrived, all made up of cliche and ill-used tropes.
And yet, I'm not disgusted enough to not read the conclusion. Funny, that.