The prospect of a book with over 1100 pages long can seem a bit daunting. Considering this book is only volume 1 and only the first 50 apps it could seem even more so. The good news though is that this book is easy to read, thorough and full of up to date information.
The "unconventional" structure of the book where each chapter shows how to create a separate app is interesting and different but a lot of the apps created seem quite contrived and unuseful. Hopefully anyone reading this book will not end up creating their own versions of the apps that are in this book but will use the lessons it teaches to create their own apps which go beyond what's here and make something special.
A large reason for the size of the book is that all the code mentioned is printed in the book. Much of this seems unnecessary, especially as all the code is available for download.
Even though each chapter is focused on creating an individual app chapters build on each other so it really requires reading cover to cover. It then provides a useful reference for each feature which you can return to later but it does really require a full read first. This can be a bit much if you have some familiarity with Windows Phone 7 as a development platform.
Beyond the basic technical facts, this book provides numerous design and usability recommendations which are equally important for anyone getting started with developing apps for Windows Phone 7. These recommendations show a breadth and depth of experience and insider knowledge with WP7 and provide valuable pointers to anyone who is or wants to develop apps.
So what about the up to date information? The people I know who have written books say how long it takes. With that in mind I was impressed by the way that the book included information and details about the February update to the Silverlight Toolkit. (The book was published in April.)
I'm looking forward to volume 2 and the inevitable follow up with details about the new features and functionality coming in the mango update.
Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book but had been planning to buy it anyway. I'm still planning to buy the second volume.