Illuminae Files Book 1 – Reem Khaled

I’m Reem, a hardcore bookworm living in Egypt. I studied Languages and Translation at college, and majored in German. Reading has been a huge part of my life, so naturally I picked up writing as a hobby as well. I’m passionate about both reading and writing now; which is why I’ll be writing in CairoContra’s Bibliomane section. I’ll be writing about all things book-related: book reviews, recommendations, random bookish rants, bookstore recommendations, and basically anything bookish you guys would be interested in.

I wanted to start by telling you about one of the best reading experiences I’ve ever had. I was never a big fan of Sci-Fi. Sure, I’ve read a couple of Sci-Fi books throughout my reading journey, but I never quite enjoyed them. None of them really stuck with me the way a really good book does.

So imagine my surprise when I came across a supposedly uniquely written Sci-Fi book and actually enjoyed it. I took a risk and started it, despite my doubts. And let me tell you, it was the best thing I ever did.

Are you ready to embark on an epic journey through space?

The Illuminae Files – Reem Khaled

Let me start by saying that The Illuminae Files is, in fact, written in a very unique format. This is not your typical novel. The story is told through a series of files: interviews, surveillance footage, emails, chats, reports, official documents, diary entries, images etc… I know that might seem confusing to a lot of people. It might take a little time to fully get into the story, but about 50-100 pages in, you’ll be completely hooked. Believe me, the story couldn’t have been told in a better way.

The story is set in the future. Space travel is a normal everyday thing. Humans are living on different planets and space colonies. It starts with a corporation called BeiTech attacking planet Kerenza. The people who survived the attack were evacuated on three ships. They were determined to escape BeiTech and expose the corporation to the world. 

That’s only just a small fragment of what happens! There’s no way to prepare you for what will actually happen, so just buckle up and enjoy the ride. Just to give you a little teaser, it includes spreading viruses, creepy creatures, corporate wars, and crazy AI.

The plot is actually mind-blowing. It is super fast-paced and action-packed that it will keep you on your toes the whole time; there wasn’t a single dull moment. You’ll barely have any time to catch your breath.


The format could be a bit of an issue if you’re one of those character-driven plot readers. Since the whole story is told through files, we don’t get to fully witness all the characters’ feelings, conflicts and thoughts. But they were written perfectly enough to match the writing-style. I still found myself falling in love with each of them more than I thought possible.

One last thing. This series has graphic audiobooks, and they were as epic as everything else in the series. They had a full cast, full sound effects and everything. Reading the books and simultaneously listening to the audiobooks will take your reading experience to a whole new level. It can even help you adjust to the format more easily, and make everything you experience more realistic.

Overall, The Illuminae Files was one of the best things I’ve read in my entire life. It was an unforgettable reading experience that I think I’ve been reading more Sci-Fi ever since I read it.

What about you? 

What book/series made you fall in love with a certain genre? Let us know in the comments!