Published in 2020
Maria Elena thought she’d sworn off gaming forever. But she hates her new internship, so her brother Balt convinces her to play Heroes of Avonell, a cutting-edge virtual-reality video game with such complex programming that it’s like the non-player characters are self-aware.
Disappointed with the usual cliché job class offerings, Maria Elena’s character Quinny stumbles through a glitch in the game and ends up in Caed Dhraos, a strange city populated with friendly monsters. Quinny decides to work for the resident dark lord as part of his magic personnel, but she can’t tell anybody she’s playing in off-limits areas of the game—not even Balt. Soon Quinny finds herself getting to the bottom of a mystery surrounding an ancient demon and why Caed Dhraos is suffering from the Blight.
But the artificial intelligences in the game really are self-aware, and some of Avonell’s so-called “heroes” have decided they don’t like humanity very much. The game has gone out of control, and Maria Elena and her new friends have to find a way to set things right. Can she save Avonell – and Earth – while juggling her real job and trying to salvage her crumbling relationship with her brother?
Pixeldust is a dive into a fantastical, fun virtual world where the universe may be made of data, but the dangers, friendships, magic, and lessons learned are very real.
Praise for Pixeldust:
"A fast-paced and exciting read that artfully incorporates powerful themes" - Charming Story + Script, professional story analyst
"It has become one of my all-time favorite books!" - Amazon reviewer
"I really enjoyed this read and would love to dive into the story a million times over!" - alazyeggreviews
"If you’re into gaming, especially role-playing games, I highly suggest reading this one!" - My Fictional Oasis
"A poignant examination of the lengths we’ll go to in order to escape a draining reality, and a look at what makes a villain a villain, and a hero a hero, this story is one that will resonate with a variety of readers on a variety of levels." - The Paperback Collector
"A YA book with some powerful themes that transcend any specific age designation... T.K. Arispe has written a novel with affection and heart." - Scintilla.info
"Pixeldust is the coolest book I’ve read in 2021, so far." - Jessica Belmont
"Pixeldust is a captivating and a funny read with a perfect blend of technology, magic, dangers and friendship." - Damsel in the Bookland
"Argh this was such a fun read! I actually ended up reading it twice just so I could stay in the world for longer!" - Previously Unread
"I am so glad to have had the chance to read this and really hope you give it a go too!" - Mama Bear's Book Hour
"This is a fizzy, exciting triumph of a book." - Reviews in Heels
"I really enjoyed the story and it was incredibly fun and original." - Lecari.co.uk
"T.K. Arispe gives a fresh perspective on the typical RPG tropes, in a sci-fi/fantasy adventure that gamers – especially fans of The Elder Scrolls or World of Warcraft – will enjoy and identify with." - Bookshine and Readbows