Ash Ridley just bonded to a baby phoenixthe most powerful beast in all of Cascadiaand hes hungry, hyperactive, high-maintenance, and hiccups fireballs. Twelve-year-old Ash waves goodbye to her miserable life as a traveling circus stablehand when she and her feisty bird, Flynn, are whisked away to the Academy of Beasts and Magic: a school where wealthy children train unicorns, manticores, and scarf-wearing ice dragons. The downside to owning such a highly magical beast? Everyone wants him. When a mysterious sorcerer suggests the Academy may have dark intentions, Ash realizes her tiny bird might be the key to saving Cascadiaor destroying it.