The Phoenix Keeper

Coming Soon


By S. A. MacLean

Formats and Prices




$25.99 CAD

Set in a magical zoo teeming with mythical beasts from dragons and unicorns to kelpies and krakens, The Phoenix Keeper is a fierce joy of a cozy fantasy novel with a soul-restoring queer romance at its heart, for fans ofThe House in the Cerulean Sea and Legends and Lattes.

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. But 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 face of a goddess who's convinced that Aila's beloved phoenix would serve their cause better as an active performer rather than as a passive conservation exhibit. With the world watching and the threat of poachers looming, Aila's success is no longer merely a matter of keeping her job…

She is the keeper of the phoenix, and the future of a species– and her love life– now rests on her shoulders. 


  • "Delightfully inventive and charming, The Phoenix Keeper is a sweet sapphic romance set in the most magical zoo you can imagine. MacLean's empathy for all living things - from vanishing ducks and endangered phoenixes, to endearingly awkward zookeepers and their crushes - shines through in every word. I couldn't stop smiling the whole way through. Sign me up for a lifetime membership to the San Tamculo Zoo, please!"
    Julie Leong, author of The Teller of Small Fortunes
  • "Fresh, funny, and fantastical, S.A. MacLean's debut introduces an imaginative and authentic new voice to cozy fantasy. By turns witty, poignant, and joyfully romantic, The Phoenix Keeper is utterly transportive!"
    Lyra Selene, author of A Feather So Black
  • "Filled with mystical creatures so vivid I could swear they’re real, two endearingly relatable zookeepers, and the coziest possible combination of intrigue and romance, THE PHOENIX KEEPER is a sparkling debut. I’d give anything for a ticket to the San Tamculo Zoo, and MacLean’s transporting book made me feel like I’d truly gone for a visit. I look forward to whatever’s next from this magically creative new voice in fantasy."
    Laura R. Samotin, author of The Sins On Their Bones
  • "This book has it all: pining, a healthy amount of nerdiness, a cast of characters you'll consider friends, one amazing griffin keeper– and at its heart, a warming story about passion, preservation, and childhood dreams... Spiritually, I'm still at San Tamculo Zoo. Don't miss out!"
    Vanessa Le, author of The Last Bloodcarver
  • "Sparkling with wit and dazzling with joy, The Phoenix Keeper is a delightfully romantic and richly imagined debut. A perfect cozy fantasy!"
    K. M. Enright, author of Mistress of Lies
  • "A super cozy fantasy that follows the story of a phoenix keeper working at a zoo filled with magical animals while trying to save a critically endangered species is pretty much everything I never knew I needed. Bring on the sweet, low-stakes romantasy stories that aren’t driven by trauma or betrayal."
    Paste Magazine

On Sale
Aug 13, 2024
Page Count
496 pages

S. A. MacLean

S. A. MacLean

About the Author

S. A. MacLean is a fantasy romance author from sunny Southern California. Infatuated with magical worlds since her days of brewing mud potions in her childhood garden, she fell in love with the romantasy genre after realizing all her favorite fantasy novels had kisses in them. Her stories invariably feature quirky humor, sassy animal companions, and queer casts who represent her voice as a chaotic bisexual woman. Sarah received her BS in Natural Resources from Cornell University and a PhD in Environmental Science from UC Berkeley. She left the research track to teach environmental science at her local community college, inspiring the next generation of students to save the planet.

Learn more about this author