The Phoenix Keeper is an cozy queer romantasy standalone set in a zoo of magical creatures,
by ecology professor and debut author S. A. MacLean.
Against an epic fantasy backdrop teeming with all your favorite magical beasts from dragons and unicorns to kelpies and krakens, The Phoenix Keeper combines the fierce joy of cozy fantasy kings TJ Klune and Travis Baldree with the soul-restoring romance of queer icons Alice Oseman and Casey McQuiston.
As head phoenix keeper at a world-renowned zoo for magical creatures, Aila’s childhood dream of conserving critically endangered firebirds seems closer than ever. There’s just one glaring caveat: her zoo’s breeding program hasn’t functioned for a decade. When a tragic phoenix heist sabotages the flagship initiative at a neighboring zoo, Aila must prove her derelict facilities are fit to take the reins.
But saving an entire species from extinction requires more than stellar animal handling skills. Carnivorous water horses, tempestuous thunderhawks, mischievous dragons… Aila has no problem wrangling beasts.
Inspiring zoo patrons? That’s another story. Mustering the courage to ask for help from the hotshot
griffin keeper at the zoo’s most popular exhibit? Virtually impossible.
Especially when that hotshot griffin keeper happens to be her arch-rival from college:
Luciana, an annoyingly brooding and insufferable know-it-all with the grace of a basilisk
and the face of a goddess, who’s convinced that Aila’s beloved phoenix would serve
their cause better as an active performer rather than a passive conservation exhibit.
With the world watching and the threat of poachers looming, Aila’s success isn’t
only a matter of keeping her job: the future of a species depends on her.