I'm currently reading the first book in the Dresden Files
series by Jim Butcher. Most of what I've heard about it is the same: It's good paranormal-detective fun, but the first book is pretty bad. It gets better as the series progresses.
I don't mind the prose. It's not good, but it's not obtrusively bad either; it sort of fades into the background most of the time and only jumps out to go "BLARRRHGH" at you when there is a clumsy info-dump. I'm not far enough along to really judge the plot.
What does stand out is the sexism.
Harry Dresden, the protagonist, is a self-proclaimed "old fashioned" man. For example, he holds doors open for women--not something I would blame him for, but he continues to do it
even after they tell him that they don't appreciate it.
In his own words, "men ought to treat women like something other than just shorter, weaker men with breasts." Women should be treated differently
, regardless of their feelings on the matter. And this is portrayed as if it makes Dresden more noble.
I'm alright with flawed protagonists--in fact, I love them, but when it seems like those flaws are reflections of the author's prejudices, I'm uncomfortable. I don't like it when an author's racism, sexism, or other -ism is showing. I could accept that this was Harry Dresden's problem, not Jim Butcher's, if not for how sexism suffuses the portrayal of women in the book, which can't always be explained away as being due to Dresden's point of view. ( And then it gets worse. )
So, Harry Dresden's old-fashioned values:
Women should be treated differently than men regardless of their opinions about it. Women are more hateful than men, and more subtle than men. It's unexpected if an attractive one has a traditionally male job. They love romance novels land chocolate, and what they're looking for in a man is money. Using a mind-altering substance to get a woman to fall in love with (read: sleep with) is bad because it makes you look desperate.