Day also writes a story that on the surface looks interesting with the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe arriving in a city where science is feared and there is a mythical Menagerie and conspiracies afoot. The plot instead of doing anything interesting is trying to do a base under siege story without having a base and the under siege portions only start to happen in the final quarter of the novel. The villains that do attack are interesting as they are pretty much giant mutated lab mice, but they don’t have any sort of character or fear factor as you can tell when they are going to attack from a mile away. Day does do some interesting things with the twist of how the city is actually built on top of a scientifically advanced ghost town city which helps explain why people have fear of science even though they have electricity which is still science.
The novel is also full of subplots with Zoe being forced into the circus as a slave which goes nowhere and Jamie trying to rescue the Doctor and Zoe from prison but failing which also doesn’t go anywhere. Day tries to keep us invested by putting in points of the mystery and filling the novel with a lot of character who really have nothing to do in this novel. Day does kill off some characters in what can be considered slightly emotional scenes as he kills off a child in gruesome detail which is a bit difficult to get through, but most of the characters are there just so the main three characters have someone to talk to. The society Day builds is in great detail which is a plus as this is a medieval society with knights, alchemists and kings, with a description on the back cover which will entrance everyone, but Day doesn’t do much with the premise. The Mecrim are the villains who have no character as they cannot speak and just rampage. We do get a lot of backstory involving just how they came to be in a laboratory supported by the Intergalactic Mining Corporation and had their DNA given to the Butler Institute from Cat’s Cradle: Warhead, which gives some nice continuity and commentary on animal cruelty, but other than that there is nothing to sink your teeth into.
To summarize, The Menagerie had so much potential to tell an interesting story from a first time author. The novel however is written in a very amateur way that just doesn’t make me stay interested in the events taking place. He writes for the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe in a very inconsistent way that feels closer to some of the later Doctors with too many supporting characters who make no impact and some subplots that are only there so Day can write in a lot of dialogue which just shows you how amateurish Day is and how the writing doesn’t flow from scene to scene. The idea is a very good one and there are some things to like about this story, but you could do a lot better at finding something to read. 32/100