Friday, March 13, 2020

Wasteworld #04 - My Way

With 1984's My Way, the four-book Wasteworld series comes to an abrupt end. Authored by a combination of Laurence James and Angus Wells, this post-apocalyptic series centered on U.S. military veteran Matthew Chance and his perilous endeavors to reach his ex-wife and kids in Utah. Beginning in New Orleans, each book showcases Chance's road to survival through warlords, mutants and dictators in the same manner that popular doomsday series titles The SurvivalistDoomsday Warrior and The Last Ranger also did.

In the Wasteworld third installment, Angels, Chance had seemingly met his match with a vicious gang of Hell's Angels bikers. Thankfully, a female Apache warrior named Kathi saved the day in the book's grandiose finale. My Way is a seamless continuation as Kathi and Chance head north into Nevada. After a couple of quick run 'n gun battles, Kathi's part of the narrative concludes and Chance arrives in Las Vegas to begin another adventure.

After meeting a nice mechanic and his hospitable family, Chance learns that Vegas is now controlled by two brothers, Al and Tony Clementi. Like a 1950s crime-noir paperback, the two brothers control the city's gambling venues and drinking halls. When they target the mechanic's young daughter, Chance is thrust into a war with a doomsday crime syndicate. After killing Al, Tony's faction declares war on Chance. While that narrative comes to fruition, a side-story develops with three bounty hunters from Texas hunting Chance through the Vegas rubble.

Despite the book's exciting premise, My Way fails to deliver a pleasant reading experience. Far too often the authors digress from the narrative to explain a minor character's history or to inform readers of an outlaw's infamous history. For example, there's a whole segment on Billy the Kid. While the action was enthralling, I felt it was misplaced and untimely. When key scenes required gunplay, the reader was served dialogue. But when a descriptive scene analysis is required, the characters just shoot it all to Hell.

While publisher Granada probably had a limited circulation (UK and New Zealand only), the sales numbers just didn't produce a commercially-successful series. Unfortunately, My Way wasn’t written as a series finale, so invested readers aren't provided a proper conclusion to Matthew Chance's epic struggle. This novel's poor execution ensured that interest in a proper ending likely dwindled among readers. Looking at the series as a whole, the first and fourth books were lukewarm while the second and third installments were very enjoyable. Having read the Wasteworld saga once, I'm not terribly interested in ever reading it again. It might be worth the time and effort to track down the series, but there are certainly far better books to pursue.

Buy a copy of this book HERE

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