The third one was also my last in the Dresden series, for similar issues. I foolishly started on the fourth, despite the issues with the third, but only got about 1/5th of the way through before deciding I was done.
I think you’ve identified the main issues there. Dresden himself is not very likeable , but the author clearly thinks he’s awesome and expects you too as well. It’s a bit like dealing with a sleazy 65-year-old who was like, “cool for 1975” or something - which is funny because the writer is much younger than that, 48! Dresden’s friends, frenemies, and enemies are not at all well-developed characters, so they don’t provide alternative things to be interested in. And what lore we get usually makes the world kind of revolve around Dresden, which makes it feel un-detective-novel-ish - that’s kind of a big issue. With normal hard-boiled detective-type stuff, the detective will be largely minding his own business, when someone will get him involved with something he doesn’t want to be involved with. But with Dresden, he acts like that’s going on, but very often he is already involved to some extent, or is in fact essentially why its happening, or happening in a certain way.
There’s also a general sense of fan-ish-ness. I get that a writer should probably like their own characters/world, but when I read the Dresden books, it felt painfully obvious that Jim Butcher really was a big fan of all his “good guy” characters, and whilst that doesn’t stop him putting them in embarrassing or unfortunate situations, it does mean there’s this certain tone, a bit like someone telling you about an “awesome” time they played a computer game or tabletop RPG, which gets wearing after a while. The books also get slightly sillier as they go on, as more and more supernatural elements are added in (without ever being given consistent/compelling lore), and the whole edgy tone of the first book is lost in favour of what can only be described as “shenanigans”.
I find it’s like 50/50 at best with “books I liked a long time ago”, so yeah, not great odds. Some stand up or are even better than I remembered (A Wizard of Earthsea, for example), others… not so much…
Pretty sure this is it:
The cover does not inspire a great deal of confidence lol (I know, I know, never…).