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Standard Hero Behavior

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  151 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Mason Quayle is a bard living in a town whose heroes have long since fled. No heroes = no adventurous tales and nothing for a bard to write about. So when the opportunity arises for Mason to go on a real-life quest--a chance to be a hero himself--he takes it. Following in the footsteps of his long-vanished hero father, Mason and his best friend, Cowel, set out on a journey...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published November 19th 2007 by Clarion Books
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Community Reviews

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My mom picked this one out for me. Being the great child I am, and not wanting to make her feel bad, I decided to give it a shot, despite worried by the seemingly lackluster story and the feeling that it was a children's book based on the cover. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how much better than I expected it was.
For one thing, it's not a children's book, childish as it may seem. Several bits of language and sexual references don't exactly go well with children. However, it did seem to...more
Two young lunks venture out on a search for Heroes to save their town from Orc thugs. It seems to me that more and more fantasies are taking longer and longer to pick up the pace, and this one's no exception--but parts are gut-bustingly funny (one of the lads is a would-be bard who can and does spin out lame verse on demand, and one of the Heroes who shows up is narcoleptic, but a fearsome swordsman in his sleep), and the last third or so is pretty strong. Some of the Heroes are Sheroes. There's...more
In his first novel (YA), Anderson creates an entertaining parody of the fantasy genre, where heroes are profiteers, faithful steeds are hard to come by, and reputations depend on good marketing. Involves a sleeping swordsman, a teenage witch trying to perfect her cackle, and loads of orcs and pixies. Underlying the dry humor is a well-orchestrated tale of two teenagers trying to figure out what to do with their lives, which currently includes barding and plume selling.
Miss Clark
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alana Abbott
What I wrote on my blog back in 2008:

To celebrate finishing [a short story], I gave myself the morning off and finished a book I've been reading: Standard Hero Behavior by John David Anderson. If you haven't pulled this off your library or bookstore shelf yet, don't pass go, don't collect $200, just head straight to the library or bookstore and pull it off. This is Anderson's first novel, and it's entirely satisfying--it features fifteen-year-old Mason Quayle, a struggling bard in a town where a...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Natalie Tsang for

STANDARD HERO BEHAVIOR by John David Anderson is the funniest and most enjoyable quest story I've read in awhile. I've always been under the impression that there is something inherently serious about quest stories, but here heroics and humor are combined in a combination as smooth and delicious as cookies and milk.

This is not to say the stakes aren't high. Mason Quayle, a teenage bard, and his best friend, Cowel, have three days to find some heroes...more
Mason Quayle, malcontented Bard, is the only son of Diedra and Edmond Quayle. His father left some years back, off on another high stakes adventure. After all, Edmond was one of the most famous of all Heroes that the town of Highsmith ever saw, and when the heroes needed an adventure (read: money) Edmond when where to find them.

Now, its Mason's turn as the town's last remaining protector, Duke Darlinger, has been uncovered as a fraud, and a marauding party of Orcs is on the way to pillage the t...more
Jun 18, 2014 Ashley added it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is a fun fantasy read. Mason is a bard and Cowel is a plume salesman ... and they're both pretty much losers. When Mason accidentally discovers that the town hero (the only thing standing between destruction and the town) is an even bigger loser with a secret, what's he to do? He and Cowel set out to find some real heroes to save the town, of course. If it's not a sleep-walking swordsman or a swallowed pixie (with a very tiny, pointy sword), then it's a 300-lb. bully in a flowered dress or...more
Jun 29, 2008 Cindy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: teens, kids
Mason and his friend Cowel set off on a quest to find a few good men - or women - to come and save their town from the goblins. Along the way, Mason tries to figure out what really happened to his father and what it means to be a hero.

Overall, I enjoyed this one. Mason is a very likeable character and there are some really funny parts. I liked the female characters, the witch and the warrior. But there were occasional swearwords that popped up and kind of caught me off guard. Other than that, I...more
Mason and his friend Cowel go upon a quest to save their town, Darlington. This humorous heroes tale was quite entertaining; sometimes the humor reminded me a bit of The Princess Bride and a little bit Monty Python. However, the story isn't all funny as Mason struggles to find the truth surrounding his father's disappearance when his was very young. I would like to read more from this author and more stories set in this magical world. I almost didn't want the tale to end.
A wonderful debut novel about adventuring and expectations. This book offered up a couple of surprises about the main character, Mason Quayle, and his father, which I felt added more depth than if it had turned out as I thought it would. I thought Mason was just going to follow in his fathers footsteps and profession, and it turned out that he did, just not in the way I thought he would. This book was a very fun and enjoyable read.
an odd book... starts off a bit too slow, plods through the set up, THEN takes off. Not sure boys would stick with it. But a true hero tale- not the cocky swashbuckling kind the blurb hints at, but the do-the right-thing becuase its the right thing, no matter how scared kind. You know, the kind us regular people can be. A few pages of editing would've really helped this one.
Alethea A
Mar 24, 2011 Alethea A rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: D&D geeks to read to their children
Recommended to Alethea by: Damaris
I know it's supposed to be YA but I think that aside from some coarse language it's appropriate for younger kids. Nothing risque apart from a cross-dressing ogre and a line about sucking venom out of your own butt (in a Cosmo-type quiz, "Is your Hero a Stud or a Dud?")

Very funny, reminds me of Munchkins (it's a game).
This book was well written and funny. I enjoyed the friendship between Cowel and Mason and what the two became after their adventures. This book would be really good for someone who is a bit younger because it was an easy read, but it is a book that is fun for everyone.
This book was pretty good. Two young men set out on a quest to save their town from impending doom. Along the way they meet some interesting people that help them. The plot wasn't quite in depth enough. Some parts of the story felt rushed, but all in all I enjoyed it.
Jul 01, 2012 Vicki rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: tween
Mason and Cowel go on an adventure (they've never left their small town), to search for a hero to save their town. This is a funny and sarcastic book, that I needed to read for a workshop for boys reading, and I am not sure if boys would like this?? Good
This was fun to read out loud to my husband. The story seems light-hearted at the beginning, but toward the end it digs deep at what it means to be a hero and to take responsibility for one's actions.
This is a light-hearted, funny, and easy read - great for kids - an adventure of self-discovery. “Because most of us aren't really heroes, per see, we're just every day people having heroic days”.
This story is cute, clever and funny. A great afternoon read. Seems like the author is a clear fan of the likes of Terry Pratchett and this is a great homage to that style.
Written for young adult (about 14 actually) but good - conversational and worth reading even when you have figured out where the story is headed.
Starts off like a sort of alternative fairy tale and goes in some places you may not expect while looking at what it really takes to be a hero.
Molly Giddens
I really liked the characters, but got lost in some of the secondary characters. It was an interesting hero tale, but I wasn't riveted.
This would have been just a kid's book but there was quite a bit of swearing in it. A good mixture of fantasy, search-for-self, and humor!
Melanie Au
The town of Darlington needs a hero.

Mason, a 15 year old bard is tired of his poor paying job and uneventful life.
Well, the author did try very hard, and I feel for him. This tried to be a parody of the fantasy genre, but fell quite short.
Enjoyable read. Self deprecating humour, orcs, witches, heros, bards. All good stuff. Liked the plot, kept me guessing
Oct 02, 2008 Marge added it
Shelves: middle
Two young boys set out to find heroes to save their town. They are reading a book about heroes on the trip - funny
didnt finish it.....It was a little bit slow for me.... you might like it though.... It was very funny!!!
I just couldn't get in to this one. I thought the story was okay, but there was quite a bit of swearing.
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John David Anderson once hit himself so hard on a dare by his sister that he literally knocked himself out of a chair and nearly blacked out. He has since translated this passion and singularity of purpose to the related arts of novel writing and pizza eating. The author of STANDARD HERO BEHAVIOR, SIDEKICKED, and the soon-to-land MINION, Anderson is a firm believer in wearing the same pair of jean...more
More about John David Anderson...
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“I don't think there's too much normal out there anymore. Though there's still plenty of average to go around. ” 4 likes
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