I don't get why people dislike first person narrative voice. For this I credit reading Mary Renault at an early age. Her first person narratives are wonderful and her third person narratives suck. (No, I did *not* like Fire from Heaven at all at all at all, nor Funeral Games, nor any of the modern ones.) Third person is fine-- it's the workhorse narrative voice, these days generally (but not always) undistinguished, doing its job OK, nothing to write home about. First person is the strawberries and whipped cream topping on the cake.
Also I have an unprovable suspicion that it's easier to write 500 page bloat in third person than in first.