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Heart of Gold

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  1,624 Ratings  ·  93 Reviews
A national bestselling author. A story that has captured readers' hearts.

Sharon Shinn's gripping tale of a planet divided by class, power, and emotion-and the two lovers who dare to act on a forbidden desire that will shake their worlds to the ground.
Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 1st 2001 by Ace (first published 2000)
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Coucher de soleil
Jan 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Again, in all humility, I do try NOT to give five star ratings too often in order to keep such a rating for truly special books which have that extra element which distinguishes them from the morass of published novels. I believe this is one of the the special ones.

The first part of the book is mainly devoted to world building, but succeeds in keeping the reader's attention despite this as the world in question is incredibly vivid and detailed. In short, it is a world where three 'races' of hum
katayoun Masoodi
i am not going to rate this, as there were parts that i didn't like it, all those preachy parts that weren't really a story but someone standing still and talking about what's wrong and what's not and then there were sometimes a story told by a storyteller that i really like and i got lost in the story till we got to the preachings! i most of the time don't like to be told, i want to think about it and figure it out. so this was love hate thing and i definitely can't rate it.
Sep 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was more sci fi lite. Politics and race and gender issues were touched on, but then brushed aside for romance. This seems to be a tendency in Sharon Shinn's books though.

Still an enjoyable read. I liked her world and the contrast between the races. I liked how she handled the heroine between two worlds. it was at times original but at other times cliche.

Some may find the story a bit dry since there is a lot of descriptions of the world and explanations of the cultures.
Kelley Ceccato
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: no one to be honest
First of all, the writing was all right. It started off a little shaky but improved a lot over the book and I got into it enough that I wanted to continue reading.

This book is really something and in a bad way. Shinn tries to do a whole lot and it ends up being WAY too much. I had very high hopes for this book. The racial and sexual politics intrigued me at first. The set up of EXTREMELY flawed characters was nice in the beginning. There was room for a lot of growth. However, that growth never r
Reminded me a bit of Wicked : The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West but reads more like Star Trek TNG's Angel One episode whipped together with some Chechen influenced Laurie Garrett with a bit of The White Plague.

Wont be for everyone, but I kinda liked it!
Jill Myles
Jun 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shinn's other books are so very romantic that I went into this one with high expectations. It's a very good SF novel, but it's not that romantic, so I admit that I was disappointed.
I read Sharon Shinn's Samaria series many years ago (when it was still a trilogy), and thought it simply wonderful. Heart of Gold, while good, doesn't measure up. And that's disappointing, because there's a lot of potential in its premise.

On an unnamed continent of an unnamed planet, three diverse races live in a state of unarmed truce. The Indigos, a blue-skinned matriarchal society, are the de facto rulers of the continent by virtue of their numbers and control of arable land. The Guldens, a g
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this again. It was just the right time to re-visit it. Heart of Gold is interesting because it is an extended look at gender roles within society. Brilliantly, Sharon Shinn examines this not in our own society, but in a sci-fi world. There are two main races that the book deals with; the blueskin are a matriarchal society in which castes are strictly (if not legally enforced) and men cannot inherit property, the gulden are a patriarchal society which is more violent and ...more
I kind of only got this on Bookmooch because I had the points, it was available, and hey, it's Sharon Shinn. I wasn't expecting to like it, because it's one of her science fiction efforts, and I'd read lots of reviews on here saying it was very different to her Summers at Castle Auburn (which I LOVE) and the Safe-Keeper trilogy (which I also love, but only in lower-case). And it is very different to those books, yes, but I still found myself really enjoying it! At first it was a little... slow, ...more
Shinn has created a sf world where three races coexist, each almost biologically identical save for the color of their skin. Through a plot about terrorism and falling in love, Shinn examines the tense relationship between the brutal, colorful and patriarchal Gilder and the repressed, agrarian and martiarchal Indigo. There are a few great moments: when an Indigo character realizes that although she was raised by the Gulden, she still has all the privileges of an Indigo; the long and uncomfortabl ...more
Wow. I've actually come across a Sharon Shinn book I couldn't even finish. So far even my least favorite of her works I at least managed to finish easily. Maybe it was partially my bad mood tonight but with the switching POVs and when neither the world building or characters managed to grab my attention after 3 chapters, I gave up. Usually Sharon Shinn's work manages to grab me pretty quickly but this one just didn't work for me. What a bummer.
Jan 18, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: yuck
I enjoy good sci-fi. However, this book did nothing for me; I read few chapters more than I wanted to, just to give it a chance, and that was all. Laboriously told, characters you don't like and couldn't care less about, and a theme of anti-racism that you are bludgeoned over the head with. This is an unbelievable, wordy, sci-fi version of Romeo and Juliet.
Olga Godim
Dec 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-scifi
That was a powerful book, a scary book. It explored the sensitive themes of racism and terrorism under the quaint camouflage of fantasy. The action, allegedly, takes place someplace else, where people’s skins are blue and gold instead of brown and white, as they are here, but the punch this book delivers is all the more potent because of it. I read it and thought: even in fantasy, with its unlimited possibilities, the author couldn’t find a solution. How could we, in real life, do better?
There a
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Sharon Shinn fans
I have really enjoyed this book over the years and really wanted a comfort read so I picked it up again. It's a bit romance-ey as Shinn's books usually are, but even though I normally avoid romances like the plague, the way Shinn tells her stories I am okay with it.

The main plotline of Heart of Gold explores discrimination and prejudice. There are three races of people on this world; indigos who are a matriarchal society, guldmen who are a patriarchal societies and the albinos. The main characte
Oct 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
One of my all-time favorites. I find the world fascinating (blue, gold, and albino races; blue societies are matriarchical, favoring women; gold societies are the opposite, favoring men). Racism and sexism are explored in very interesting ways, as is the notion of how much it is fair to hurt individuals in the pursuit of what one feels is justice and equality for all races. I love Shinn's message, and I like her main characters. There's just one fairly unbelievable backstory about one of the mai ...more
This multi-layered, multi-faceted novel is so searching in its probings of social structure, culture, eating habits, mores and morals, prejudices and outlooks that it transcends mere science fiction. Even with its illuminations of the hearts and minds of its various characters, Ms. Shinn understands that the core of humanity isn’t always so easy to decipher.

Time and again, Nolan Adelpho and Kitrini Candachi have their expectations of others shattered, to the point where they wonder if they can
Genevieve Levin
Jun 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Heart of Gold Sharon Shinn's what-if novel. She uses a popular strategy of yesteryear for thought-piece SF/F - playing with extreme variations in how societies could set up power relative to gender. (Other examples of novels that do this are The Gate to Women's Country, Native Tongue and Glory Season.) If you're too young for this to be familiar, think of it as a Star Trek Next Gen episode, lengthend and spiced with Shinn's trademark touches of beauty and emotional struggle.

Shinn contrasts two v
Jun 15, 2012 rated it really liked it

It is difficult to say what Heart of Gold actually is about. But I'll try.
Firstly, it is a story about Kitrini and Nolan. Kitrini Candachi is an indigo woman, part of a highly matriarchal society. She would have been heir to her grandmother's estates but for her paternity. Her father was a very forward-thinking man and an anthropologist. She had lived with her father on Gold Mountain, the patriarchal centre of gulden power. She has now moved to the City, having been turned out of Gold Mountain
Alyssa Nelson
Feb 27, 2012 rated it liked it
As I now expect from Shinn's novels, this was brilliant. The world is just what I expect from a good science fiction novel: strange enough to make it feel completely alien, yet familiar enough for me to relate to the problems its society faces. The summary only gives the romantic aspects of the book, I think. While romance plays a big role, this is also a book about impending war between the indigo and gulden. Through this, Shinn is able to explore major issues about discrimination, politics, ra ...more
Jul 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi, 2011
I enjoyed this book, well the second half, but the end didn't exactly make much sense.

Biological warfare comes to a world split into two very differently thinking races. The world is described very deeply in the book, there are a lot of nuances to both races, both good and bad. The plot centers on an Indigo scientist who discovers a terrible plot against the Gulden, and an Indigo woman who was raised in Gulden society.

The first half of the book is an introduction to both races and the way the wo
It's kind of hard to know what to say about this book--there's levels on which I should love it (and don't) and levels on which I should hate it (and don't). It's a fairly slight book engaging with some fairly deep issues, and the end was less then perfectly satisfying (not the romantic aspect--I read Shinn in spite of, rather than because of, the romances--but the political one). There were a few aspects that made me deeply deeply cranky, and one that made me throw-the-book-against-the-wall mad ...more
Jun 27, 2013 rated it did not like it
1. The cover is misleading. The book is about people with blue and gold skins! The cover was apparently designed by someone who didn't read even the first chapter,
2. The first half of the book is terribly boring. I paid for the book on bookmooch, or else I would never have picked it up or much less finished it.
3. The love story is ridiculously overwritten and unbelievable.
4. Science fiction requires an attempt at scientific explanation of the occurrences or setting of the book. This book merely
Jan 04, 2016 rated it liked it
This was a decent sort of science-fiction/ fantasy romance. The different cultural groups in the novel all seemed a bit too extreme for my tastes. Hard to sympathize with either of them, but then again, that was the point. An all too obvious point.

I found the characters somewhat interesting, though both of the main characters were problematic for me. I found their behaviour inconsistent. The author was trying to protest that falling back on the beliefs of one's upbringing was entirely inevitable
1 star (Read 2 Sep 2014)

(view spoiler)
Apr 12, 2010 rated it liked it
The front cover on the edition I was reading REALLY bugged me as it had a white skinned girl wearing a HIDEOUS dress with a seriously strange hairstyle going on too. Not correct. She had blue skin...

Anyway, I was really liking how deep this story was and its discussion of racial and cultural themes, until it tried to become romantic. I like a good romance, don't get me wrong, but this felt like an after thought - a really obvious afterthought that I could see coming from the beginning of the boo
May 09, 2009 rated it liked it
One of the three sci-fi that I have ever bothered to read.
But I didn't have to try and keep reading this, it just kept on going without me. Not even because of it's plot, which Shinn kept secret for some time. No... it was because of this world. One set in the extremes of the masculine, and the other the feminine... and it made you realize that you didn't really like either! You wanted something in between... and she gave you that too, but then you found the middle ground to be borning. It's ac
Aug 28, 2012 marked it as gave-up-on
** This is just a QUICK REVIEW of my thoughts on the book **

I like Sharon Shinn’s YA novels so I thought I’d give some of her other books a try too. Unfortunately it didn’t turn out well; I didn’t care for Jenna Starborn and disliked Heart of Gold even more and sent it back to the library after only a few chapters. Blue aliens involved in political revolutions just aren’t my thing.

Is there a Happy Ending? I don’t know.

Content Rating: I don’t know but it seems like an adult novel rather than a YA
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I’ve been writing stories and poems since I was eight years old. My first poem was about Halloween: "What is tonight? What is tonight?/Try to guess and you’ll guess right." Perhaps this inauspicious beginning explains why it took me till I was in my thirties to sell a novel. It occurred to me early on that it might take some time and a lot of tries before I was able to publish any of my creative w ...more
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“He is so kind that he makes me search my soul to find new ways to be compassionate to others.” 18 likes
“I have changed for the last time--this is the man I will be till I die. And that man loves you.” 11 likes
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