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Standard Hero Behavior

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  181 Ratings  ·  49 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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Feb 13, 2012 Jack rated it liked it
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
Aug 28, 2007 John rated it liked it
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
Oct 03, 2008 Jamie rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 13, 2016 Theresa rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. I loved this book! Full of humor, meaning and adventure. I am a huge, huge fan of John David Anderson's books.
Cecilia Rodriguez
Oct 17, 2016 Cecilia Rodriguez rated it liked it
When Mason's small town is threatened by an emanate Orc invasion, he and his friend, Cowel go on a quest seeking out heroes to save the town.
The tone of the story is satirically humorous, and at times becomes introspective.

Another series which is similar is Pierce Anthony's: Myth Adventures.
Oct 31, 2014 Aelvana rated it it was ok
Mason and Cowel are two teenagers in a town that has long passed its glory days. Darlington used to be a town of heros; Mason's own father was one of them. But Dirk Darlinger has convinced the town he's the only hero anyone needs, and one by one the old heros have gone, never to return. When Mason learns the town is in danger of being overrun by orcs, trolls, goblins, and other nasty critters, he and Cowel leave to find some real heros to save everyone.

Like the title implies, much of Standard He
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
Miss Clark
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alana Abbott
Jun 09, 2013 Alana Abbott rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 22, 2008 Molly rated it liked it
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
Samuel Valentino
Nov 02, 2015 Samuel Valentino rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book. It got off to a slow start in the first few pages, but after that it really got going. What I liked best about it was that, in a way, it was different than anything that I've read in the genre. The hero was not an anti-hero, nor was he someone who picked up a sword and despite a complete lack of experience manages to forge his way in the world. In this book, the characters have limits, but work around them. There are heroes, and they ARE heroes, not tarnished ones that ...more
May 26, 2009 Additeenlibrarian rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
Jan 20, 2016 Sarah rated it liked it
Mason is a frustrated bard who dreams of chronicling epic deeds of daring. Unfortunately, all the local heroes, including Mason’s father, left ten years ago when the duke declared he would be taking over their duties. His protection comes to an abrupt end when the coffers run dry and it falls to Mason and his friend Cowel to locate as many heroes as they can before a horde of orcs attacks. Half parody, half discourse on heroism. The subversion of fantasy tropes is generally entertaining, but som ...more
Jun 29, 2008 Cindy rated it really liked it
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
Jan 01, 2015 Valissa rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
There are so many good things I want to say about this, but I don't really want to give away more than is already in the description.

A brief story, filled with the cliches of fairy tales. A heart-wrenching memorial to familial relationships, the distance between people due to fear, inelegance, and lack of knowledge. A hilarious send-up of every adventure tale I've ever read.

Definitely in my top ten of 2014.
Jun 07, 2012 Ruth rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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.
Jun 15, 2009 Kelly rated it it was amazing
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.
Brock Stonebraker
Feb 23, 2015 Brock Stonebraker rated it it was amazing
this book would be good to people that like hero book but are funny too. its also in mid evil times when there wasn't any technology. if you like fantasy i would recommend it to you. the only thing i didn't like about the book was that the book wasn't spelled like the talk in the mid evil times. i think it would have made it better to read.
May 08, 2009 Cathy rated it liked it
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 really liked it
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).
Jun 18, 2014 Ashley added it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 18, 2015 Debra rated it it was ok
I am sorry to put this in my gave-up-on catagory. The 40 page chapters and less than compelling story did me in. I read juvenile books for entertainment and to assess them for the younger patrons at the library where I work. I am sorry to say that I do not believe that my young friends would have felt any different.
Apr 05, 2016 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Plenty of humor to keep me laughing throughout. With a good moral about what being a hero really means. Sometimes heroism isn't just raising a sword against an army of Orcs. Sometimes it just means protecting those you love in the only way you can.
Apr 24, 2008 Cara rated it liked it
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.
Apr 13, 2011 Chandra rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 01, 2012 Vicki rated it liked it
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
Jul 19, 2009 Ryann rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
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.
Mar 02, 2011 Ruth rated it really liked it
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”.
Molly Giddens
Jul 28, 2010 Molly Giddens rated it liked it
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.
Oct 29, 2011 Cyne rated it it was ok
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.
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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, MINION, THE DUNGEONEERS and the soon-to-land MS. BIXBY's LAST DAY, Anderson is a firm bel ...more
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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.” 8 likes
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