Discussion- Why Can’t I Get Into an Alternate Universe Book?

When I see ALTERNATE UNIVERSE in a book summary:


My reality:


Is there a specific genre that you think you love but EVERY SINGLE book you read in said genre is a let down? I’ve had this with alternate universe books. I see the summary- think “hey this looks wonderful! I love alternate universes.” Then I read the book and I’m let down. It occurred to me…maybe I don’t like this genre even though I keep thinking I do?

Does anyone else do that?

I find that I don’t even enjoy the books that everyone else loves. What is wrong with me? I’ve tried numerous books and found only one or two that I’d actually like to keep in my collection. I think I get disappointed when the science is glossed over and the love interests get convoluted between worlds. I find that in most of these books I don’t have a deep connection with the characters and I really ship the romance. This saddens me.

Do I keep attempting them or do I throw in the towel and accept that this might not be my cup of tea?

I’m curious- do you have a genre you are completely pulled to but then don’t usually enjoy?


  1. says

    I’m experiencing the same thing as you. I like urban fantasy and used to like many of the urban fantasy novels I read. But now, I do not like most of the urban fantasy novels I read, except for the established series that I’m already following. Like you, I don’t know whether to continue with trying out this genre. I’m in a dilemma coz there are urban fantasy novels that I like. But I’ve had such difficulty in finding NEW series to like!
    But my advice to you would be to accept that this might not be your cup of tea and move on to other genres you enjoy. Life is too short to spend on books you do not enjoy.
    Maybe I should take my own advice too!

    • says

      Maybe you’ve just read enough urban fantasies that some of the really common concepts are stale? Lots of things are exciting in their novelty but not after the shine wears off, and UF does have a tendency to put out cookie-cutter books… I happen to like the formula no matter how many times I see it, so that’s a plus for me.

    • says

      I really haven’t seen that many urban fantasy novels lately. It’s rough when your first impulse is to be excited but then you just never get what you wanted/expected. It’s tough because I wonder if I’m harsher on those books? And Whitley has a point–often if I’ve read a lot of the same genre the themes do get repetitive.

  2. says

    Hmmmm, I cannot remember a genre that I’d thought I’d like and then read books and realize I don’t enjoy them… maybe time travel… I ought to love them more, but they’re usually a mixed bag, some I love, some I don’t…

    • says

      I’ve yet to find a time travel story without some sort of logic gap to it, but there have been some where the mechanics is a background issue and I can enjoy it anyway. But I haven’t looked hard enough to find many of those. Do you have any suggestions?

  3. says

    I’ve always been really iffy with high fantasy which is so weird because EVERYONE talks about how great it is. I’ve never really been able to get involved with the world [there are some exceptions,] but still.

    I believe that you should keep trying. Well, now you know that you haven’t found the one book that you like yet. I believe that you’ll find it one day. Mine was The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard 🙂

    • says

      High fantasy has always been tricky for me because I have to get into the genre before I can enjoy it. I think because the worldbuilding tends to be so…different, so the book has to throw so many details at you and there’s a lot to keep up with. If I’m on a roll of reading those types of books I get used to it and I can keep up/get into it, but the first one (or two) after a long break just overwhelm me.

  4. says

    When I think about it, I can’t come up with a lot of books with alternate worlds that I loved. Especially in YA they always disappoint me. I totally love the idea and I’ve read a few where I liked it (which is why I will keep reading them) but I think I should stay away from it in YA.

    I can’t come up with any other genre/topic where I feel this way. For me it’s often the other way around. For a long time I though epic fantasy wouldn’t be my thing and then I read one awesome book and now it’s my favorite genre 😀

  5. says

    I have the same problem with paranormal and dystopian stuff. Well, at least the newer dystopian stuff. I love everything George Orwell wrote but I can’t get into the majority of this new stuff. And with the help of movies (bleh) everyone and their mother has become enthralled by these genres so everyone else and their mothers feel the need to crank out half-assed book after book to cash in. And I think that’s my biggest problem with a lot of books now. Yes, I know authors want to make money, there’s nothing wrong with that, but stay true to the craft. You can tell which books were actually written to be read and which books were written to marketed and that’s where I end up tossing stuff in the trash.

  6. says

    I’m that way with most wrong-side-of-the-tracks stories. I love the concept, and if someone would just tell me all the stories in summary form I’d be on cloud nine in my own imagination, but there’s so much potential for it to go wrong that I rarely see a full-out book that I enjoy. The devil is in the details and all that. I guess my problem is that there’s really just one (or a few) of those stories I really want to see, and I want to see it so hard that I get disappointed by everything else.

    I think dystopians fall under this topic as well, but I’m a bit less picky, so I just roll my eyes at the worldbuilding fails and drive on instead of getting truly sad about it.

  7. says

    I have the same issue with Alternate Universe stories. I love the concept and all the possibilities that it holds… but I’ve never actually read an book with Alternate Universes that I liked. i think my love for the concept must come from Alternate Universe episodes on tv shows, but those weren’t really well done either. Nevertheless, I live in hope, I’m not ready to give up on the genre. Hopefully, one of these days, I will come across an Alternate Universe book that will be everything I think it should be.

  8. says

    YES I FEEL YOU. I like the idea of them but it’s taken me so long to realise that I actually don’t really like them. It’s so hard to find books that will meet this unattainable expectation that I seemed to have cooked up over the years. Not to mention, the fact that I’m super weak with science also means that I easily confuse myself ALL THE TIME. Another genre that I LIKE the idea of but I don’t actually like is fluffy contemporary romances. It’s pretty much the only contemporary that I read. And yet I know I’m too cynical for them. I read them and I hate them. But I can’t stop. How odd is that…Brilliant post, Kristen! x

  9. Ana Death Duarte says

    I love AUs! <3 And all manga I read with stories contained in AUs last year were so good! Like the The Future Diary AU stories and Madoka Magica AU stories. If u like AU and these manga, maybe you could try 😉 {And yeah, I feel like that gif of the 10th (and my favourite ever!) Doctor when I spot AU stories, whether in writing or on TV or movies and <3

  10. says

    I don’t think I have a genre like that, I do have a few genres I never read for no reason at all and a few genres I don’t like even though I hardly ever read books in them. Maybe you just haven’t found the right alternate universe books yet? Even within a genre there is a huge difference in books.

  11. says

    I usually trust the author, rather than the genre. For instance, I hate vampires, but if an author that I love writes a vampire book, I’ll read it. However. if it involves time travel, I’m probably going to buy it, regardless.

  12. says

    Hmm, I’m not sure there is a genre like this for me 🙂 But I’m not sure I really enjoy these books either. Hmph. I’m sorry you have issues with some of them :\ disliking books you want to love is just the worse. I hope you’ll find a book in this genre that you’ll end up loving so much. <3 *crosses fingers* 🙂 Love the post Kristen. Thank you for sharing. <3 🙂

  13. says

    Alternate universe books seem to be very hard to pull off successfully. I’ve only tried one or two but they fell flat for me too. They were just confusing in the long run, or boring, or annoying. Just, not good. I say don’t give up though! One day you might find a good one! At least, that’s my hope every time I pick one up.


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