To Honor You Call Us is the start of a powerful trilogy, especially from a first-time author like Honsinger. So far, the only other space military series I have read is The Lost Fleet, but this book was different. Still an amazing read, just not for the same reasons. The Lost Fleet was in every way a space opera; it was very reminiscent of 80’s anime series like Mobile Suit Gundam, Space Battleship Yamato, and Super Dimension Fortress Macross. To Honor You Call Us reminded me more of Battlestar Galactica (2004) than anything else. This book is more thriller than drama than Galactica, but many of the same elements are there.
Despite the sci-fi setting, this just felt like a military book. It was a bit like the Temeraire series (Napolenonic Wars, but with dragons) as sci-fi instead of fantasy. Navy men fighting with swords while ship boarding (well-explained here) and fighting in a 3D environment (just in space in a ship instead of in the sky on a dragon). We readers are thrown into the story after the war has already been on for a while as well. But for all these similarities there are differences as well that make To Honor You Call Us stand out well.
This series has many different space nations beyond the two involved in the conflict. Humanity is divided up into nations resembling real nationalities. Essentially you have places like Space America, Space Rome, Space Middle-East, etc. And then most of the aliens seem to resemble animals (rat people, bear people, catfish people, etc.). Some other cultures are just name dropped once and never mentioned again, which really shows how huge Honsinger’s world is. To a degree, the various species have different technology. Everyone has spaceships, but they might not all use the same fuel, as one example.
The world-building in this book is fantastical. Characters will pause to explain things but in a fashion that makes sense within the story. As powerful as the world-building is, the characters are just as strong. In a nutshell, the characters feel real. Their war has been going on for 30 years and it shows. Some of these men are old soldiers who remember peace and others have fought for their entire lives. They are soldiers first and foremost, but they are also people, and damaged people at that. This first book is build-up to greater things; at the same time, it functions as its own brilliant story.